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| Last Updated:: 06/09/2014

Educational issues

Govt. gets pat from High Court for scaling down out-of-school children

The Hindu by Krishnaprasad, Bangalore, 6th September 2014

The actions of the State, which includes the hard work of teachers and staff of the Education Department, was applauded on Teachers’ Day by the Karnataka High Court. The court appreciated the efforts of the authorities in reducing the number of out-of-school children from 1.68 lakh to 53,133 in six months.
“Karnataka should be the first State to secure the distinction of zero out-of-school children if further efforts are made using innovative methods, assistance from non-governmental organisations (NGO), and the existing incentive schemes of both Centre and State governments to attract parents to send their children to school,” observed a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri.
The Bench was hearing a PIL petition initiated suo motu by the court based on a report published inThe Hindu in March 2013, about a meeting on the implementation of the RTE Act during which it was disclosed that 54,000 children were out-of-school then. Later, this statistic was disputed saying, in reality, more children were out of school. Subsequently, it was found in the survey, conducted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan early this year, that 1,68,621 children aged between seven and 14, were out of school in the State.
As many as 1,03,150 children, of the out-of-school number, were brought back to schools across the State by the end of August 2014, the State told the court. In its statement filed on Friday, the government said though as per survey data there were still 65,471 children out of school, this has now reduced to 53,133 as it was found during admissions that names of around 12,338 children were duplicated in different areas.
Of the 53,133 out-of-school children, 30,945 are children of migrant labourers from Karnataka and other States, and their whereabouts will have to be checked as parents of these children have changed their place of work. Observing that “the last peak is always a difficult task to reach”, the Bench suggested to the State to take the help of NGOs to trace the children of migrant labourers and others in different districts, as already some NGOs, such as Azim Premji Foundation, were engaged in assisting the State in this task.
‘Karnataka should be the first State to secure the distinction of zero out-of-school children if further efforts are made’