SSA finds enrolling out of school children tough ask

SSA finds enrolling out of school children tough ask
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Only 15% enrolled during 2017-18 session

IRSHAD KHAN
SRINAGAR: Authorities in J&K have failed to enroll 85 percent of the Out of School Children (OoSC) in the state during the academic session 2017-18.
Out of the total of 27,355 OoSC identified in the state, State Project Director Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), A R War told Kashmir Reader that they could enroll only 4,136 of the children during academic year 2017-18.
The meager 15 percent enrollment of the OoSC during 2017-18 follows the SSA’s failure to enroll even a single such child in the preceding academic year (2016-17).
Contrary to the “commitment” by the state to enroll 32,755 OoSC identified for the academic year 2016-17, J&K “mainstreamed zero children”, read the minutes of the 251st Project Approval Board (PAB) in New Delhi held in March 2017.
While only 15 percent of the OoSC could be enrolled in 2017-18, an SSA insider told Kashmir Reader that the actual target for the year was 20,000.
Precisely, there are 23, 355 OoSC in the age-group of 6-14 years in the state as on date, said the insider. Although the present number of such children is way less than “59,000”, the number of OoSC identified in the year 2012 through a survey, the insider lamented, “There has not been much success for us”.
“It is a very difficult task to identify them (OoSC). Most of them are in the peripheral areas. We don’t have sufficient funds available with us either to engage people to enroll them or do a survey. Once we enroll these children, they remain for a week or so and then they drop out once again,” he said.
War also said that the OoSC do not stay at the schools for long, once enrolled.
“Some of them stay at the schools for ten days and then they stay back”. Asked for the reasons for the children dropping out of school, War said, “There can be many reasons. One of them is that a student gets demoralised after failing in a particular class.”
The state government’s decision to set up kindergartens at government schools would improve the retention rate of children at the schools as per War.
“From this year, the scheme would be from KG classes right upto senior secondary level. We feel learning outcomes would improve,” he added.
The government recently said that it was starting kindergartens at government schools to increase the enrolment in the lower classes.
Claiming to have started 60 such schools in Anantnag district, the government said it was going to open 15 kindergarten facilities in each of the remaining districts.

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