BENGALURU: The Karnataka government, which found that a large number of children had dropped out of school post lockdown, instructed members and officials from each panchayat to trace them and bring them back to school.
Members were told to take up literacy for the entire panchayat and encourage adult literacy programmes as part of Gram Panchayat development. Panchayats now give additional food or snacks with midday meals to attract children to school.
A survey conducted by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) showed that 1.59 lakh children in rural Karnataka do not go to school, and many of them include dropouts due to the Covid lockdown. They are also employed as labourers. The government told panchayat members and officials to enrol students in schools and reduce the dropout rate, and also provide facilities to help students return to school.
Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Uma Mahadevan issued a circular, directing panchayats to utilise the 14th and 15th Finance Commission grants and improve the condition of schools. They were told to instal sanitary pad vending machines and incinerators on school premises for girls to use. Apart from this, Wi-Fi facilities are also to be provided.
The circular instructed panchayats to take the help of local skilled workers and labourers to develop, repair or construct government buildings, panchayat office buildings, health centres, government schools and Anganwadi centres.