Maharashtra drive to find drop-outs
Responding to concerns around drop-outs during the past few months due to Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown, the state education department has launched a drive to identify out of school students across the state from March 1. The department recently released a government resolution (GR), laying down the constitution of state and district-level committees to oversee the drive.
“The drive will be conducted between March 1 and 10, and students between the age group of six to 18 years will be identified and enrolled into schools. The drive will involve surveys at the household level to find out details of students who might have migrated, permanently shifted or have remained absent in online classes for a long time. This will also include students who might have enrolled in a school but are not attending the school’s online classes as the family has temporarily migrated due to the pandemic,” states the GR.
State education minister Varsha Gaikwad tweeted about the initiative on Tuesday and said, “Learning disparities have grown among students during Covid and we are thus committed to bring more and more students into formal learning to ensure that they do not lose out on studies.”
The education department has also asked officials to take details about students who are absent or untraceable from NGOs working in the field of education.
These organisations have also been asked to create awareness about the initiative. Similarly, village-level committees have also been constituted to make the drive a success and cover more students.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), more than 60,000 students studying under schools across the city are still not able to get access to online education, 10 months since schools in the city closed. Over 37,000 students in the city have migrated and not come back so far.
Educationists said that retaining students in schools is a bigger challenge. “We hope that the drive doesn’t remain only on paper like in the past. There need to be constant follow ups from the government to ensure students identified continue studying,” said Vaishali Bafna from SYSCOM, a Pune-based think tank.