KARNATAKA

30,000 out-of-school children brought into the mainstream

BANGALORE, NOV. 29. Over 30,000 out-of-school children in the State have been brought into mainstream schools with the help of the Alternative and Innovative Education (AIE) strategy formulated under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme.

The Joint Director of the SSA, M. Chandrashekariah, told The Hindu that `out-of-school children' were those who had never been enrolled in schools for various reasons. Lack of schools near by, migration of family members every year in search of jobs and working with their parents in the family trade were some of them. Another reason was that they, especially girl children, had to take care of household chores and siblings.

Bridge courses

Efforts were on provide non-formal education to the target group, aged between 6 and 14. Bridge courses, called "Chinarangala," were used to attract the "never enrolled" and dropouts. Trained volunteers and teachers who had specialised in learning activities were assigned to tutor the children for 45 to 60 days, he said.

A sum of Rs. 3,000 was allotted per child for six months for the course. The district-based courses were organised by the Labour Department depending on the need. The non-formal schools comprised `flexi' and mobile schools. Flexi schools took care of working children. There were seven schools in Bangalore that catered for those who could not attend school during normal school hours, he said.

These children were later brought into mainstream schools.

Mobile schools were for children living in slums who had no schools in their area. Seven Karnataka State Transport Corporation buses were modified for the purpose and 500 children benefited from this, Mr. Chandrashekariah said.

Remedial teaching techniques helped these children cope with academics after they were enrolled in regular schools. Books on remedial teaching printed by the Directorate of State Education Research and Training were distributed across 20 districts in the State.

Incentives

The SSA provided incentives to School Development Monitoring Committees (SDMC) for enrolling out-of-school children. Those enrolling the maximum number of students were awarded certificates, he pointed out.

Transportation and escort facilities would be provided for children attending schools from rural pockets. Umbrellas, shoes and raincoats would also be provided. Ten temporary schools had been established in brick factories, jaggery manufacturing centres and construction sites for the benefit of the workers' children, he said.

The SSA also planned to provide home education for the severely disabled, he added.

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