Over 1.2 million students out of school, most of them at elementary level: Govt
According to the data, out of the 12,53,019 students, 6,97,121 were boys while 5,55,854 were girls, and 44 were transgender persons
As many as 12,53,019 students from across the country are out of school in the year 2022-23, with the number of boys greater than girls, data submitted in Parliament revealed on Wednesday.
Responding to a question raised by Rajya Sabha members Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and AA Rahim seeking details about the out of school children (OoSC), minister of state for education Subhas Sarkar presented data collected by the education ministry from all states and union territories though its online portal (PRABANDH).
According to the data, out of the 12,53,019 students, 6,97,121 were boys while 5,55,854 were girls, and 44 were transgender persons.
In terms of education level, 9,30,531 children were identified out of school at elementary level and 3,22,488 at the secondary level, the ministry data said.
The maximum number of out of school children at the elementary level (age 6 to 14 years) were in Uttar Pradesh (3,96,655), followed by Bihar (1,34,252), Gujarat (1,06,885), Assam (80,739), Haryana (22,841), and Tamil Nadu (20,352), among others, the data shows.
At the secondary level (aged between 14 to 18 years), state with maximum out of school children were found in Madhya Pradesh (84,788), followed by Odisha (54,634), Assam (48,795), Gujarat (36,522), and Andhra Pradesh (20,443), among others.
To be sure, the ministry response does not mention the responses of several states, including Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, at the secondary level.
Responding further on steps taken by the government to bring these children back to mainstream schooling, Sarkar said, “The Department of School Education and Literacy is implementing an integrated centrally sponsored scheme for School education- Samagra Shiksha…Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to States and UTs for undertaking various activities to reduce number of Out of School Children (OoSC) including opening/strengthening of new schools up to senior secondary level, construction of school buildings & additional classrooms, setting up, up-gradation and running of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas, setting up of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Avasiya Vidyalayas, free uniforms, free textbooks, transport allowance and undertaking enrolment and retention drives.”
“Further, special training for age-appropriate admission of out of school children and residential as well as non-residential training for older children, seasonal hostels/residential camps, special training centers at worksites, transport/ escort facilities are also supported to bring out of school children to the formal schooling system,” the minister said.
Besides, the minister said that from 2021-22, financial assistance of up to ₹2000 per annum is being provided for supporting OoSC of age group 16-19 years, belonging to socio economically disadvantaged groups, for completing their education through NIOS/SIOS, for accessing course materials and certification.