Close to 10 lakh teachers and officials of various government departments and agencies will conduct a day-long survey on Saturday to track “out-of-school” students across the state.
Calling the July 4 survey ‘foolproof’ compared to those conducted earlier, school education minister Vinod Tawde on Friday said the survey would help ensure that a large number of children who are not enrolled in or attending a school are enrolled. The survey will be conducted at all railway platforms and bus stations, markets, other public places and even door-to-door.
Tawde said, “This time we have formed a task force of around 10 lakh officials, including teachers, government and civic officials and even volunteers from various NGOs and private organisations, to help carry out the survey.”
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According to Tawde, once officials and volunteers manage to trace children who have not been enrolled, the names of these kids, their address and other details will be fed into a computerised data system of schools near their residence. These children will be provided with an Aadhaar card and a unique identification number. After this, they will be enrolled in a school close to their home.
“After enrolling them in a school, a proper plan on getting them educated will be chalked out. The school education department has provided special training to teams of government officials at the various municipal corporations and councils, districts, talukas and villages panchayats to conduct the survey,” Tawde said.
Tawde further said that the state government has appealed to various NGOs and organisations working in the field of education to rope in and help the government in tracing and enrolling these out-of-school kids in school. “Through Aadhaar card and UID numbers it will become easier for us to collect and maintain the data of such students. Hence the July 4 survey plays a very important role ,” he said.
“To ensure that we manage to trace all out-of-school children, each official has been allocated 100 households and a few areas to visit and find if all children there are attending school regularly. They have to fill up a form with details of the kid and his family,” said P R Pawar, deputy director (system analytics), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Initiative an eyewash: Activists
Activists of the Campaign Against Commercialisation of Education (CACE) have objected to the statewide survey of school children on July 4, saying the state government initiative was an eyewash.
The activists said the move would serve no purpose as the number of out-of-school children in the state is over 17 lakh, and all teachers and officials put together will not be able to complete the survey in a day. The campaign should be done over six months, they added.
Shyam Sonar, member of CACE, said the state government was trying to cover up its shortcomings rather than identifying the number of out-of-school children. “The government has been claiming that the state has only 86,000 out-of-school children in the age group of 6-14 years. However, central government data revealed that with 17 lakh, Maharashtra had one of the highest number of out-of-school children. Hence the state government decided to hold a count,” said Sonar.