For tackling physical and mental absenteeism, to create and sustain interest among schoolchildren and to prioritise their school going needs by the community in municipal and government schools, Commissioner and Director of Municipal Administration (CDMA) has proposed to start a concept called ‘Baaga Chaduvukundam.’
As per the recent studies by eminent economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, there are around 220 school days in a year, of which teachers’ absenteeism account for around 23 per cent and children’s absenteeism 35 per cent.
It means roughly in a year, an average school going child attends the school for not more that 140 days which is less than 50 per cent and to make things worse these 140 days are not continuous.
This break in continuity of learning is adversely affecting the quality of learning of the child especially more so in science and mathematics, which depends on the previous day learning (continuity).
In the proposed initiative, the CDMA wants to utilise the services of municipal commissioners and school headmasters and community-based organisations to play a vital role in tackling physical and mental absenteeism.
To tackle physical absenteeism, attendance sheets of children from government and municipal schools would be made as an agenda item for group meetings such as women SHGs meetings every month in all urban local bodies. The SHGs and other groups would discuss various issues that are preventing children from attending school regularly. The community will be able to find solutions with appropriate help of the municipality as a facilitator.
Committees would be formed in every class of every government and municipal school with the school children themselves, such as attendance committee who will not only regularly attend their school but also keep a track on the other children living in their localities and will encourage and motivate them to attend school.
Similarly to tackle mental absenteeism of children, municipalities and community- based organisations like women SHGs will set up common study halls with one or more elders to monitor them.
The common study halls can be set up even in municipal offices, community halls etc and they should see that these study halls are set up near the child’s home.