'Focus on holistic education, hygiene to stop dropouts'

No stress on holistic education, health and hygiene concerns, issues of safety and lack of participation are the main causes of high dropout rates, said children during a mock parliament organised in the city on Monday.

Scores of students expressed their views on the root cause of children dropping out of institutions at ‘My School My Voice Parliament’, organised by NGO Childreach India.

“The family we come from, our castes, problem of child marriages, responsibility of taking care of our younger siblings and bad influences are some issues that affect our education and force us to drop out,” said Aman, a 13-year-old boy who spoke about the inequality leading to the dropout rate.

The mock parliament of children was the outcome of a series of workshops, participative sessions and a signature campaign with 3,000 children to bring forth multi-dimensional perspective of the issue from 35 schools and communities in Delhi and Haryana.

“Piled garbage around our homes and schools results in various diseases because of which children are forced to stay at home for months. The absence result in gap at schools which the kids are unable to bridge and thus are forced to drop out,” said Shaheen 12-year-old who studies in a school in Haryana.

“My classmates have often suffered from dengue, typhoid and malaria and their education has suffered a lot.”

Despite a plethora of laws, policies and strategies, India continues to battle with complex and enduring challenges in building the foundation of education for its children, said the
Naresh Chaudhary, country director of Childreach India.

National data suggests that of every 100 children that are enrolled in class 1 in India, 22 drop out of school before completing even the primary classes and 42 before completing elementary education, according to the NGO.

“Children’s parliament not only informs them of their fundamental rights but also encourages them to discuss solutions and take actions. I think it facilitates team work, empowers them to stand against issues for themselves and other children in their community and schools,” said Shashank Shekhar, member of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

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