Even as the Anandiben government prepares for a mega Teachers’ Day celebration next week, absenteeism continues to nag government schools, especially among girls. Family problems and social issues are the main reasons cited.
In one school that the Indian Express team visited in Gandhinagar, Jasma Dantani, a student of Class III had been absent for over three weeks. Her father told the school, “My daughter has gone away with her mother who was sulking, to her uncle’s place.”
The parent of Gayatri Darbar, of the same class, who had been absent for 35 days said, “I do not wish to send my daughter 2-3 kilometres away from home to school. So, I don’t want her to study further”. And yet another parent, of a Class VIII girl, Nimu Darbar, told the school, “My daughter has grown up and I do not wish her to study any further.” She had been absent for almost a month. These are the officially listed excuses in the school register of the Rupal Kanya Prathmik Vidyalaya in Gandhinagar district.
The all girls school in Ramol village, nearly 12 kilometre from the state capital recorded an attendance of only 55 per cent a couple of years back. After continuous efforts at the district primary education office level, the attendance in the school today with a strength of 273 students (class I till VIII) has reached nearly 70 per cent.
This was revealed during a visit of the monitoring team from district primary education office as a part of the pilot project-’Gunotsav throughout the year’- launched recently by the state education department from Gandhinagar, to improve level of education in schools.
“Already several notices have been sent to the parents and visits made to their places. We have been fighting this problem as the village community does not approve of educating their girls and marry them off at an early age even in Class V or VI,”, said the school principal Rajesh Upadhyay.
The Education Department’s Government Resoultion (GR) for the monitoring project says, “looking at the results of evaluation under the Gunotsav 2013, the students of Gandhinagar city’s primary schools were not getting enough attention from their teachers in language subjects and math.”
This all-round Gunotsav, which was an annual, once a year exercise, will be replicated in the districts of Ahmedabad, Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha and Kheda from September 1.