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Plan to identify out-of-school children will be rolled out in September

Keeping in mind the rising dropout rates in the country, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has on January 23, 2018 decided to formulate an action plan in September to identify out-of-school children and bring them back to schools.

“We are formulating an action plan to identify out-of-school children and bring them back to schools across the country,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said, adding, “The special drive will be rolled out in September. The plan is being given a final shape.”

Respective state governments in collaboration with the MHRD will carry out the special drive to identify such students in rural areas.

“Such an exercise (survey of out-of-school children) has been done on papers. It is not going to happen this time,” Javadekar said, adding, “Community participation in the nationwide exercise will ensure that a survey of out-of-school children will not just remain a paperwork.”

According to one 2016 UNESCO report, about 47 million young men and women dropped out of school by the Class X. And according to several other reports, at least 70-80 lakh children are still out-of-schools and a majority of them are in rural areas.

“The issue was discussed at length at a recent meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). All the states agreed to support the ministry in carrying out a ground level survey for identification of the out-of-school children to bring them back to formal schooling,” an official told Deccan Herald.

After the survey is done under the guidance of district collectors, the findings of the survey on out-of-school children will be updated with Aadhaar and other details and will be kept in all districts for record purpose.

“Once the database is ready, tracking of the school children is expected to be an easy affair. With the help of local community and other resources, parents will be motivated to send their wards back to school,” the official said, adding, “The CABE has made several good suggestions on bringing out-of-school children back to schools. It’s report is under consideration of the ministry.”

Manmath Nayak

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