Centre plans drive to bring dropouts back to school

Centre plans drive to bring dropouts back to school

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided to roll out a special drive in September to bring out-of-school children back to formal education.

"We are formulating an action plan to identify out-of-school children and bring them back to schools across the country. The special drive will be rolled out in September. The plan is being given a final shape," HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

The nationwide exercise, to be carried out jointly with the respective state  governments, will put special focus on identifying out-of-school children in rural areas.

"Such an exercise (survey of out-of-school children) has been done on papers. It is not going to happen this time. Community participation in the nationwide exercise will ensure that a survey of out of school children  will not just remain a paperwork," Javadekar added.

Several reports indicate that at least 70-80 lakh children are still out-of-schools and a majority of them are in rural areas.

Officials said that the number of out of school children may go up if a proper survey is done across the country.

"The issue was discussed at length at a recent meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). All the states agreed to support the ministry in carrying out a ground level survey for identification of the out of school children to bring them back to formal schooling," an official said.

On the basis of the findings of the field survey, to be conducted under the districts collectors, a  record of the out-of school children will be updated with Aadhaar and other details in all districts.

"Once the database is ready, tracking of the school children is expected to be an easy affair. With the help of local community and other resources, parents will be motivated to send their wards back to school," an official said.

A subcommittee of the CABE, headed by  Union Minister of State for HRD Upendra Kushwaha, has recommended in its report recently that children from marginalised sections should be "incentivised" for their attendance in schools to ensure that they do not drop out midway to completion of their 12 years of schooling.

"The committee has made several good suggestions on bringing out-of-school children back to schools. It's report is under consideration of the ministry," the official added.

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