In order to monitor if children admitted under the economically weaker section/disadvantaged group quota in private schools are dropping out, the Directorate of Education (DoE) has developed an online module to track attendance of these students.
Private schools are required to reserve 25% of their seats for students from EWS and DG categories, which includes Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, transgender children and those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Prior to this, there has been no mechanism to monitor how many of these admitted students are attending classes regularly or completing their education in these schools.
Delhi started admitting children from EWS category in 2011. The Indian Express filed several RTIs to find out how many children, who took admission under the quota, still attend the same private school where they were given admission. But the government claims it doesn’t have these records. The new system will keep track of children dropping out or missing classes.
The DoE module is to be linked to all private schools recognised by it, and the attendance records of students concerned are to be fed into it regularly, so that action can be taken if students are dropping out.
“The purpose is to monitor dropouts. If we find that a student has not been attending classes for over a month, we can access our records and contact their parents to find out why this is the case. If it is because of domestic problems, then we can provide guidance. Most importantly, we want to find out if the reason is school-related. If it is because the student is not being integrated into the school academically or culturally, and the child is uncomfortable there. Then we can contact the school and take action if need be,” said a senior official in the education department.
‘Out of school children’ are taken as those who have never been enrolled in a school or those who have dropped out of formal education, and programmes to address these children are generally restricted to these two categories. However, education experts have argued that this definition is too narrow and does not account for children who have low attendance and are, hence, slipping through the net of formal education.
The link to the module will be provided to district and zonal officials of the education department, who will track the attendance records.
According to an education department official, the module has been created and is now pending examination and feedback from the education minister and district officials, following which modifications will be made, if required. It is planned to be introduced at the beginning of the coming academic session.