Fresh survey of absentee schoolchildren - The New Indian Express

Fresh survey of absentee schoolchildren

Published: 23rd August 2013 08:48 AM

Last Updated: 23rd August 2013 08:48 AM

In an effort to ensure that all children are brought into the schooling system, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has gone proactive.

A fresh, comprehensive survey will be conducted to identify children who are out of school for seven days or more, instead of the earlier definition that required absence of 60 days or more. 

The decision comes in the backdrop of a conflict between figures on out-of-school children (OOSC) provided by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and civil society groups. A pilot survey with the new definition will start from Sidlaghatta in Chikballapur district and South-4 educational range in Bangalore Urban district.

“We are going all out to streamline identification of OOSC in the state,” said Subodh Yadav, state project director, SSA.

“Identifying children in the backdrop of the new seven-day definition will be a big challenge, but it is a step in the right direction. The existing 60-day limit is not practical as action will follow only after 60 days. It was difficult for us to trace the children,” Yadav admitted. The seven-day absence does not include excused/informed absence on medical grounds.

The survey, which will be conducted jointly by the SSA and Department of Public Instruction, will follow a two-pronged strategy in the 4,103 clusters in rural and urban areas. A cluster in education administration is normally a jurisdiction with 18 schools.

As part of the overall plan, a ‘Vulnerable Area Survey’ will be undertaken. “In urban areas, we are treating all clusters as vulnerable. Clusters in rural areas will be considered vulnerable only if there are more than 50 OOSC from 2011 to 2013,” Yadav said.

Household surveys will be held in these clusters to identify the missing children. “But, in clusters with less than 50 OOSC, we will trace the children for the last two years. And, where there are no OOSC, we will identify missing children from for this year only,” he explained.

Link with Aadhaar?

Commissioner for Public Instruction, Mohammad Mohsin, told Express that there are plans to link the 17-digit code with the Aadhaar database for better tracking of children.

“As of now, we have issued unique codes for children who are six years and above. We are thinking of starting from children who are five. But the Unique Identification Authority of India must be approached by the government.”

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