Do not be surprised if you see people accosting street urchins and inking their fingers on July 4. It will be part of a first-of-its-kind, state-wide survey to identify out-of-school children across Maharashtra. Children identified as such will be given Aadhar cards and enrolled in school, with their attendance being tracked by the state.
Hindustan Times had reported on April 15 that the state school education department was planning to take this step to bring down the number of children who qualify as ‘out-of-school’, as stipulated by the Right to Education Act (2009). A government resolution announcing the same was issued on Wednesday.
Children aged between six and 14 who have never been enrolled in a school or have dropped out before completing their elementary education or have remained absent from school for more than 30 days will be considered out-of-school, stated the resolution.This exercise will be carried out on the scale of an election drive or pulse polio drive,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary at the school education department.
The survey will involve civic and district officials, and social workers going door-to-door in slums to count the number of children who are not going to school. Each official will have a target of covering 100 houses a day.
Surveyors will also visit brick kilns, factories, red light areas, along with public places, such as railway stations, bus stands and marketplaces to identify out-of-school children. On finding such a child, the surveyor will ink one of their fingers to avoid repetition and the child’s details will be recorded.
Within a week of the completion of the survey, the children will be given Aadhar cards and enrolled in the nearest schools. Each child’s attendance will be tracked by linking their UID number to their school’s U-DISE (Unified District Information System for Education) number.