Updated: July 8, 2015 3:54:16 am
School Education Minister Vinod Tawde Tuesday said the 12-hour survey conducted on July 4 to count out-of-school children across the state was not just a day’s affair but a year-long campaign. State government officials, schools and its teachers would keep tracking out-of-school children throughout the year, Tawde said.
The minister said children without a permanent address, and those living under flyovers and on footpaths too would be provided with Aadhaar card and tracked on the basis of that. “There are child labourers, there are children of construction workers who keep changing their locations. However, the Aadhaar and Unique Identification numbers that we will be providing them within the next seven days will help us identify and trace them. These students can be admitted to any school nearby,” said Tawde.
The RTE Act 2009 mandates that children aged 6-14 should be enrolled in schools, show regular attendance and get formal education. The state’s survey was prompted by this mandate and the need to find out the actual number of out-of-school children.
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Following this, a committee was formed last year to suggest ways to bring the children into the mainstream . However, two experts on the state-appointed committee resigned from their posts earlier this year in protest against the government’s failure to act on their report recommending measures to tackle the issue. Many academicians and educational activists also pointed out flaws in the way the government conducted the survey.
Following the survey, the next step is to admit such students in schools in their vicinity. However, there is no clarity on how the admission procedure will be executed or how these children, who may have lost touch, can be accommodated a month after the new academic year has begun, activists have said.
Calling it an eyewash, Shyam Sonar, member of Campaign Against Commercialization of Education (CACE), said a proper campaign should be done over a period of six months to arrive at the actual number of out-of-school children across the state. “Saying that the campaign will go on throughout the year sounds illogical. It is also not possible to follow an out-of-school child who has no proper address, as the government will not follow up the case and the student will continue to remain out of school once he changes his location,” Sonar said.
Arundhati Chavan of Parents and Teachers Association United Forum said, “The government should have come up with a foolproof plan rather than just conducting the survey like this. The intentions are good and will be successful to some extent but there will be too many discrepancies. Government should have a back up plan to tackle these discrepancies.”
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