CHENNAI: There are about 37,500 out-of-school students in Tamil Nadu, found a recent survey. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) conducted the survey across Tamil Nadu in April to find out details about the situation in the State.
As per the findings of the survey, the incidence is more prevalent in places with large number of industrial units and also construction activities where there is a large population of migrant labourers. For instance, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts neighbouring Chennai, which are part of the Chennai metropolis, are among the top of the list with over 2,000 out-of-school children in each of them.
In Chennai and nearby areas, like in the case of some of the industrialised nodes like Coimbatore, these are children of migrant labourers from other States. The survey found that these children move with their parents who have come over in search of better prospects. These families are mostly from Bengal, Odisha and Andra Pradesh.
In these places, there were also many cases of children from the streets.
On the other hand, in some other districts like Villupuram, Erode and Salem, the out-of-school children were found to be from internally-migrating labourers. Many poor families from the delta districts move to the western districts during the cotton harvesting season, leading to this situation.
In an effort to bring in these children back to the mainstream, SSA has joined hands with several non-governmental organisations to run special centres for these children in the places where the survey has found a substantial number of such cases.
According to officials, they have managed to identify and enrol over 33,000 of these 37,500 students. To ensure that the children do not find it difficult to follow, the officials have made arrangements to conduct the classes in their mother tongue — including Hindi, Odiya, Bengali and Telugu among other languages.
Officials here said they are in the process of finding the rest of the students and enrol them into these centres at the earliest.
Approximately 11-13 lakh students enrol in Tamil Nadu every year.
According to an earlier study commissioned by Educational Consultants India, a government of India enterprise, and supported by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, the maximum number of students drop out of school right after Class 7 - 29.97 per cent -- followed by Class 5 at 23 per cent.
That survey had revealed that the dropout rate among girls peak after class 5 where 40.82 per cent of them stop attending school. For boys, this is much less in comparison — only 19.54 per cent after class 5. A little over 29 per cent girls drop out after class 4 as well.
In the urban centres, on the other hand, the percentage of dropouts among girls after class 7 is at an alarming 81.45 per cent whereas the boys are relatively better off at 42.34 per cent, the survey had shown.