PATNA: To keep a check on the rising number of dropouts from state-run schools, the Bihar government has asked teachers to engage in the task of improving enrolment in their schools.
Education Department Principal Secretary RK Mahajan has directed the district education officers to ask teachers to visit surrounding areas of the government schools to encourage parents to send their children back to school.
The teachers have been asked to spend an hour each — before and after school hours — to find out-of-school children and encourage their parents to send them back to school. With the school dropout rate in Bihar standing above the national average despite several schemes to boost enrolment, the state government is keen to ensure 100 per cent enrolment by the year-end.
The move follows a meeting held under the chairmanship of education minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma to discuss newly released data showing that Bihar ranks second in the country in the number of out-of-school children in the age group of 6 to 18.
While the national average of out-of-school children under this age group stands at 12 per cent, it is 17 per cent in Bihar, according to a baseline education survey conducted jointly by Right to Education Forum (REF), Council of Social Development (CSD) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).The data, gathered during the survey conducted between June and July this year, contradicts claims made by Bihar’s Nitish Kumar-led government saying the number of out-of-school children in the state has been reduced to just one per cent.
“Poverty and social situations are the main reasons that keep children in Bihar out of schools. A positive aspect of the current scenario is that the number of out-of-school girls in the state is much fewer than boys,” said Prof Ashok Pankaj, director of CSD.“The crisis of school dropouts and out-of-school children cannot be resolved without addressing the core reasons behind them. Economic compulsions of parents remain a major cause, and the government should work on a mission mode to tackle the crisis,” said Muchukund Dubey, a former diplomat who headed Bihar Common School System Commission set up in 2007.