BENGALURU: There has been a significant decrease of over 67 % in the number of children who dropped out of schools in the academic year 2022-23 compared to the immediate past year, according to data from the primary and secondary education department.

The government claims that only 5,945 children were out of school during the mentioned period, which is the lowest figure in the last five years, while the number of out-of-school children for 2021-22 stood at 18,461.

Dropout

Together, between 2018-19 and 2022-23, more than 57,000 students were out of school, as per the data presented in the legislative council by primary and secondary education minister, Madhu Bangarappa.
“Migration, family disputes, health issues, physical disability and puberty among girl students are the major reasons for dropouts, while children from tribal families, orphans, nomads, street children or children of ragpickers are also prone to dropping out,” Bangarappa said.
Educationist Niranjanaradhya VP said that there are several shortcomings in the implementation of the Right to Education Act in the state. Given the writ mandamus in the Karnataka high court, the government could be wary of giving out the correct numbers, he added.
He said: “When you tell the court that so many children are not in school, they [government] have a responsibility to identify such children and bring them back to school. This could be one reason for mismatch in numbers. The number of children enrolling in government schools is declining, but official data for out-of-school children shows that the government is bringing back a lot of them, the numbers don’t match. A cohort analysis is required and there should be honesty while displaying this number in the public domain.”
Bangarappa further told the House that headmasters/headmistresses have been tasked with ensuring that students don’t drop out, aside from various other officials at the hobli, cluster, sub-district and district levels. He said the government has released Rs 11 lakh in the academic year 2022-23 and around Rs 10 crore in the past five years to ensure that childen don’t drop out.
Prof Rishikesh BS, faculty member, School of Education, Azim Premji University, told TOI: “The number released by the government is a low figure which, if correct, is something that should please everyone, particularly after what the lockdown did to children’s education. It is not correct to doubt data put out by the government, but it is important to analyse how the data was collected and if there are any gaps.”
Rishikesh said that even if the number of out-of-school children has decreased, it is still in the thousands which means there are many kids who do not have access to schools or education.


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