Nine years after the implementation of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA),about 2.82 lakh students in the state are staying away from the classroom. The data was revealed by a standing committee report on the dropouts in the schools submitted in the ongoing state Assembly session. The report has been prepared by a 10-member standing committee headed by CPM legislator Unus Sarkar.
According to the report,in 2009-10,2,82,526 children in the of 5 to 13 year age group are not attending the classes. It also says that 29,617 children in the age group of 5 to 9 years and 77,386 children in the age group of 9 to 13 years were not enrolled in the primary and upper primary schools of the state. The mission of attaining higher enrollment and reduction in dropouts in till Class VIII has not been achieved. Only the number of SSA centres has increased, says the study.
The report reveals that instances of children remaining out of schools are more prevalent in socio-economically poor districts. Poor enrollment and higher dropout are noticed in districts having a significant chunk of minorities (Murshidabad,Uttar Dinajpur and Malda) and the districts having higher tribal and backward class population (Purulia and Jalpaiguri). Murshidabad recorded the highest number of children (36,228) in the age group of 5 to 9 years who remained out of school followed by Uttar Dinajpur (30,005),Purulia (28,401) and Jalpaiguri (24,419). On the other hand,the number of such students was 2,611 in Nadia and 4,961 in East Midnapore.
The report has pointed out that the highest number of dropouts occur in Class I. Unavailability of upper primary schools,poverty,migration and social sanctions on girl students in certain communities are major reasons for dropouts,says the report. It also blames the detention policy in higher classes and poor vocational education in lower classes for the failure of the Abhiyan.