Onus on principals to bring back drop-outs

Alarmed over the staggering number of children who are not attending schools, the Rajasthan government has directed that each government principal be given a target to bring back students who have dropped out. According to a child tracking system (CTS) survey conducted by the state's education department, 1.2 million students are out of schools in Rajasthan. And the state's Directorate of Primary Education in Bikaner moved last week to rectify the situation. “District education officers (DEO) have been asked to provide the list of drop-out children to government school principals in each district,” a senior education department officer told the sources. “Based on the ratio of drop-out children and the government teachers in each school, the teachers will be given targets. They will have to bring these children to schools,” he explained. It will be the responsibility of the principals to ensure that children who get admission in their schools stay till they complete the education, he added. “The orders regarding this were issued on Saturday,” he said. The directorate also plans to run special drives to bring drop-out children to school from May 1 to May 16 and July 1 to July 15 this year. “We have sought permission regarding this from the state government and the programme details will be announced as soon as we get the nod,” said the officer. According to the CTS survey, at least 30,996 children between the age group 6-14 are not going to school in the state capital Jaipur alone. Child rights activists in the state say the orders will have to be implemented strictly for positive results. “It is still not clear what action will be taken against the teachers who fail to meet the given targets,” said Vikram Sharma, an activist.