KALPETTA: The dropout rate among tribal children in Wayanad rose considerably during the five-year period from 2008 to 2013, showed a study conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In total, as many as 11,189 children in the age group of 6-15 dropped out of school during the period under review. This includes 7,868 students belonging to various tribal communities, the school-wise survey revealed.The study has attributed the rising dropout rate among tribal students to the failure of schemes such as ‘Gothra Sarathi’ and ‘Gothra Velicham’, undertaken to promote education among tribal people.The Gothra Sarathi project, a State government initiative to help the children from remote tribal colonies reach schools, had hit a roadblock allegedly owing to fund shortage as a result of blatant misuse of the project, while Gothra Velicham, aimed at providing study materials to tribal children, had also failed to achieve the desired results.
The district Child Welfare Committee had initiated action against Tribal Department officials concerned for the failure of the Gothra Sarathi project. Cases were slapped against the ITDP officer and TDOs in Mananthavady and Sulthan Bathery.The survey report said that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) spent a sum of `7.23 crore for improving the basic infrastructure in schools in the district during the period. This was in addition to the `1 crore allocated by the Education Department.However, 138 primary schools out of the total 207 schools in the district do not have basic infrastructure such as drinking water facilities and toilets. Also, of the 77 higher secondary schools, only five schools provide basic toilet facilities to female children.