Alarmed by the poor enrolment figures of girl students across the state, the government has proposed a unique plan.
The initiative is part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) under the right to education public awareness programme, which has been taken up by the state government to boost enrollment numbers, with special emphasis on girl child.
As part of this initiative, in the next fortnight, each of the 75 lakh girls and over 3.8 lakh students with special needs, between 6 and 14 years of age, will have a VIP visitor at their homes, who will coax and cajole them to attend school. Armed with a written request from the state government, these VIP visitors hope to see a drop in the drop-out rates.
The VIP visitor can be anyone — the local MP, MLA, corporator, gram panchayat member, an education officer or someone from the school education committee or even a schoolteacher and has accordingly been allotted targets — houses, villages or wards — to complete.
“We would want every MP, MLA to visit five homes each, while others, including officials, corporators, gram sabha members will be required to go to five villages or five wards respectively. While handing over the letter to the girls’ mothers, they will also enquire about the problems encountered by the students while attending school,” said state education minister Rajendra Darda on Thursday.
Based on the feedback from these foot soldiers, the department is planning to club schools so that there are adequate students for teachers and transport will be provided for those students, who live far away.
Also, as a part of the programme, schools will be required to give a count of the number of students in each class with their names by June this year, which will then be fed into a centralised data system. “After the data is compiled, we will pay a surprise visit to all schools. This way we can get rid of bogus names and prevent overcharging in schemes based on those numbers,” Darda said.
The schools will also organise haldi-kumkum and mehendi programmes for mothers and daughters. “This will help us address the grievances of students and their parents. It will work like a social audit,” said V Radha, project director SSA, Maharashtra.