Child Mapping Survey 2020: Number of out-of-school children in Chandigarh goes down
The number of children who have dropped out of school and who were never enrolled in schools has decreased in Chandigarh, the Child Mapping Survey (CMS) 2020 carried out by the UT education department under Right to Education Act has found.
As per the survey, out of 1,66,589 students identified between the ages of 5 to 18, as many as 3,160 were drop-outs and 3,252 had never been enrolled in school. In 2019, the number of children who had dropped out of schools and had never enrolled was much higher at 3,810 and 3,369 respectively.
The maximum dropouts were found in the 14 to 18 age group with 2,269 such cases.
In 11-14 bracket, 432 dropouts were identified while in 5 to 11, 459 dropouts were found. Out of the children who never enrolled in school, 2,722 are aged between 5 and 11, 258 are aged between 11 and 14 and 302 are aged between 14 and 18.
Due to the pandemic-induced migration of families, the number of children in the 5 to 18 group also went down during the first Covid wave. In 2019, 1,72,982 students were identified in the survey while the number has gone down to 1,66,589 in 2020, reduced by 6,393.
Speaking about this decrease, professor of Sociology at Panjab University, Rajesh Gill said, “This decrease of 6,000 children needs to be studied in detail. Mostly lower income families migrated during the first wave in 2020 and they are likely to have kids who weren’t studying in school. Otherwise a narrative for the success of the enrollment initiative by the education department and of online education is being built. The data needs to be studied in detail before jumping to conclusions.”
In both categories, the number of male children has exceeded the number of female children. There are 1,726 boy dropouts compared to 1,434 girl dropouts. As many as 1,698 boys never enrolled in school as compared to 1,584 girls. Speaking about this, Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) chairperson Harjinder Kaur said, “Over the years we have found that girls are more dedicated students. We are launching special programmes for boys since the education of both boys and girls is important.”
The survey is conducted cluster-wise in which the city is divided into 20 clusters. Clusters which cover villages have higher number of children not studying in schools. The education department conducts special trainings to bring such students into the mainstream every year, however, when asked how these numbers went down this year, UT education secretary SS Gill remained unavailable for comments.
UT department of social welfare, women and child development also keeps a check on such kids. Secretary, social welfare, Nitika Pawar said, “The department keeps a close watch on children living under difficult circumstances. These children are enrolled in schools and linked with social security schemes where allowances are given to children for their educational needs.”
She added that the department has created a Covid relief fund as well to give a monthly stipend of ₹2,000 per child to children living under difficult circumstances.