Three weeks after Primary and Secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar enrolled two dropouts in a school, the children disappeared, leaving their teachers embarrassed.
The school attendance register revealed that the kids, who the minister enrolled during the election campaign in Mahalakshmi Layout earlier this month, have been absent for over two weeks and their parents have gone incommunicado.
The school records also reveal that the duo had attended school for just four days. The authorities could not establish contact with the parents as their mobile phones are switched off.
Kumar wrote a Facebook post on December 2 saying that the children’s mother informed him about their plight during the campaign. He then asked the BJP workers to enrol them in the nearby school.
On the minister’s advice, the party workers admitted Devaraju to 5th standard and his brother Mallappa to 2nd standard at the ‘Nammoora Government Higher Primary School in Kurubarahalli on December 9.
Their absence left teachers worried, since they were admitted by the minister himself. A group of teachers went in search of the children at the makeshift shed, only to learn that the family had moved on.
The school’s movement register, a copy of which is available with DH, said: “Parents informed the teachers that they will be going back to their native for the festival.” Now, it has been 13 days since they last attended school and teachers see no sign of them returning.
School headmaster Ramakrishnaiah said: “We tried in vain to reach out to the parents on the phone numbers they provided, but their phones remain switched off.”
'Parents to blame'
Teachers said the children were active and friendly with other kids. “The problem is with the parents,” they said. “We tried convincing them to admit the children in a residential school, but they rejected our suggestion.”
Though formal distribution of uniforms, bags and shoes ended long before, the headmaster spent his own money to buy the necessities for the two kids.
“We tried our best to keep them at school. But they suddenly stopped coming after four days,” said a teacher.
The teachers said the kids were enrolled in a school in their native Siddapura village in Shahapur taluk of Vijayapura and were subsequently brought to a school in Mallathahalli in Bengaluru for a few days.
Experts believe cases such as this need special attention and monitoring. “Before admitting them, the minister should’ve checked their records on the Students Achievement Tracking System (SATS),” said educationist Dr VP Niranjanaradhya.
“They belong to migrant families and would stay in the city temporarily. Such children shouldn’t be given official admission since it’d be a double entry if they had been enrolled (at a school) in their natives. They also need special care and monitoring,” Dr Niranjanaradhya said.