Over 1.59 lakh children from rural areas of Karnataka are not going to school, an ongoing survey conducted by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) revealed. This, according to the tentative statistics, includes 33,344 children from the age group 6 to 18 and another 1,26,245 aged between three and six.
The findings of the survey were submitted before a division bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice N S Sanjay Gowda. The bench was hearing a PIL which the court had initiated in a 2013 suo motu case based on a newspaper report on out-of-school-children.
However, a senior official from the Panchayat Raj department told indianexpress.com that the data was yet to be validated by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education. “While we have surveyed 83,94,090 families in 5,829 gram panchayats so far, the numbers should be physically verified by teachers as well. The complete data will be submitted to the HC later this month only after it is validated by the Education Department,” the official clarified. Further, the data will be transmitted to a child survey portal.
Meanwhile, at the point when 90.96% of the total 88.55 lakh families holding ration cards in the state were covered, it indicated that 72,094 children below three years had not been enrolled in Anganwadis while another 9,716 children in the age group 6-18 were never enrolled in a school. The survey noted that a total of 32,14,257 children were attending classes.
At the same time, the survey noted that 8,718 out of the total 12.28 lakh children aged 6 to 18 in urban areas are not going to school as of June 2021, while 4,842 have never enrolled. This, however, is excluding Bengaluru Urban.
Also read| Karnataka: Expert panel to prepare guidelines for 2021-22 academic year, NEP implementation ‘top agenda’
Noting the same, the HC has directed BBMP, the local body governing the Karnataka capital, to conduct a door-to-door survey of out-of-school children in its limits, pointing to obligations under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
The bench cited Rule 6 (of the model rules) under the RTE Act stating the local body had to do so for children belonging to the age group of 0-14. “However, without waiting for the directions of the court, the BBMP may commence the door-to-door survey of the children between the age group of 0-14,” the bench noted.