Out-of-school children across Maharashtra will be counted again this week.
After drawing flak for conducting a one-day survey early in July in a haphazard manner, the state school education department has decided to redo the entire survey to count children who have never enrolled in schools or have dropped out.
The decision to redo the survey was taken by school education minister, Vinod Tawde, after experts criticised the survey conducted on July 4. The survey had found 46,713 children, including more than 18,000 in the city, to be out of school. But, experts claimed that the figures were inaccurate.
“All teachers and government officials will have to participate in the survey to identify out-of-school children in their neighbourhood. The survey will continue till July 31,” stated a circular issued by education commissioner, P Bhapkar. “Schools will also have to help these children get an Aadhaar card.” The circular stated that details on the out-of-school children should be submitted to the deputy director of education by August 3.
To ensure that the enumerators have not missed counting any children, a squad will also pay surprise visits to various locations few days after the survey, stated the circular. “If the squad finds children that were not counted in the previous survey, the teacher or government official who was assigned that area will be held responsible,” said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the school education department. “These steps have been taken to ensure that the survey is foolproof.”
Even non-governmental organisations have been invited to work with the enumerators. “They can identify such children in their areas,” said Kumar. “The NGOs had criticised us for not conducting the survey properly, so we have roped them in this time.”
However, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) education officials, education inspectors and schools have not yet been informed about the survey. “I have not received any instructions to arrange for teachers as enumerators for another survey,” said Sambhavi Jogi, education officer, BMC education department.