Interstate panel to tackle school dropouts

Recognising migration as a major reason for children dropping out of school, the State department of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has agreed to be a part of an Interstate Co-ordination Committee to address the problem collectively.

The first-ever meeting of the committee involving the SSA departments of six states, excluding Karnataka, took place in Bangalore on May 26, where several issues and measures to address the problem were discussed.

The participating states included Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Bihar.

Plans on the future functioning of the committee were also discussed at the meeting.

“It was decided that the committee will meet every three months and nodal officers from each state will be appointed to combine and coordinate efforts. While the first meeting involved only six states, other states would also be included subsequently,” said an official from the department.

A number of reasons identifying migration as a factor in high school dropout rates were also discussed.

Lack of proper data and information on the number of dropouts, inadequate schooling system in far-flung areas and negative attitude of children and parents to education were some of the points of discussion.

The second meeting of the committee is scheduled for August in Orissa. As many as 10 to 11 other states will be invited to increase the ambit of the committee.

“People from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh migrate to Karnataka in large numbers.Many work in different capacities, including as agricultural labourers or construction workers for different periods of time. People from Karnataka migrate to neighbouring areas for similar reasons. This has a direct bearing on the children who are part of the families in terms of their education. States concerned, therefore, need to co-ordinate efforts to address the issue,” said the official.

A survey of out-of-school children (OSSC) conducted by SSA in the State recently estimated that out of the total 1.7 lakh OSSCs that were traced,  29,797 dropped out due to migration.

This included children who were part of ‘inbound’ and ‘outbound’ migration.

The highest number of children who came into the state (inbound) – 3656 – worked as construction labourers, whereas the highest number of children who went outside the state (outbound), – 16,222 – worked as coolies.

At present, the modalities of the functioning of the committee such as its membership, responsibilities et al are being decided.

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