With a high number of out-of-school children in Chhattisgarh, experts say the thrust should be given to establish an education-friendly environment and ensure basic facilities to attract children to educational institutes in the tribal-dominated state.
“It is shocking that even after 67 years of Independence, more than 90,000 children in the state have never been enrolled in any school. The government and citizens should introspect on the issue,” Chhattisgarh’s RTE (Right to Education) Forum convener Gautam Bandopadhyay said.
As per a national survey conducted by Social and Rural Research Institute in Delhi for the HRD Ministry on estimation of out-of-school children in the age group of 6-13 years countrywide in 2014, 1,67,072 children out of 44,59,796 were out of schools in Chhattisgarh.
About 3.75 per cent children are out of schools in Chhattisgarh, which is higher than the national average of 2.97 per cent), according to the survey.
The survey found that 94,317 children in 6-13 age group have never been enrolled in any school, which is 56.45 per cent of the total children out-of-school. Besides, 71,532 children dropped out from school and the maximum dropouts in this age group were after Class II, as per the survey.
Earning compulsions, lack of interest, migration, socio-culture reasons, household work, lack of access, failure and non-flexibility in school timing are some of the major reasons cited by the survey for children not being in schools.
“Government is running several schemes ranging from mid-day meal, free school uniforms, bicycles, books and many more in its efforts to make success its literacy mission. All these efforts would only yield concrete results if focus is concurrently given to make teachers skilled, particularly in government schools, along with providing basic amenities like drinking water and toilets,” Bandopadhyay said.
However, there is also a need to generate awareness among masses so that they realise their duty to create an education-friendly environment for better future of their children, he said.
Equally concerned over the findings, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairperson Shatabdi Pandey said a state like Chhattisgarh, where a major chunk of population resides in rural areas, requires literacy programmes not only for children, but for the parents too.