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Maharashtra launches drive to bring dropouts back to schools

Children in the age group of 3-18 years, including those with special needs, are the targeted beneficiaries of this campaign.

Written by Pallavi Smart | Mumbai |
June 23, 2022 10:09:59 pm
Schools in Maharashtra were closed down in March 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic. (File)

The state school education department has launched a “Mission Zero Dropout” campaign aimed at bringing all children, who dropped out of schools because of various reasons, back into the education mainstream.

Children in the age group of 3-18 years, including those with special needs, are the targeted beneficiaries of this campaign. For the first time, the department has sought participation from various sections of the government — from women and child development, social welfare and justice to even revenue, tribal and minority departments — in the campaign. The idea is to make it a collaborative effort for effective results. A Government Resolution (GR) was issued on Thursday detailing the 15-day campaign which is expected to start from July 5. Until then, the department has to set up committees and ensure awareness and publicity for the campaign so that the targeted children can draw the desired benefits.

Tweeting about the initiative, state School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad wrote, “To uphold every child’s right to education, all of us should strive for zero tolerance against school dropouts. Our school education department wants to ensure that no child is bereft of education. We are therefore launching #MissionZeroDropOut to get them back to school.”

According to data compiled by the state school education department last year, a total of 25,204 children were out-of-school. Of these, 7,806 (4,076 boys and 3,730 girls) never went to any schools while 17,397 (9,008 boys and 8,389 girls) were found showing significantly irregular attendance throughout the pandemic.

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As part of this campaign, education inspectors in their respective areas are expected to put together committees of teachers and health officials, Anganwadi and NGO representatives active in the areas and principal and management representatives from local schools, among others. While the committees are expected to survey the areas checking if all eligible children are enrolled in schools, they will also be asked to visit nearby bus/railway stations and other public places along with quarries, coal mines, sugar factories and different other sectors having daily wage workers, including construction workers, who are always on the move.

The data has to be collated on a centralised platform — a dedicated online portal which has to be created and managed by the office of the director of education. Special enrolment drives will be held so that these children are given age-appropriate admissions to nearby schools.

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