Number of children out of schools in Karnataka plummets to 1.6% | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: In a positive sign for Karnataka, the number of children in the 6-14 age group, who are not enrolled in school, dropped to 1.6% in 2021 from 6.2% in 2020. However, the number is still much higher than pre-Covid days when only 0.7% of children were out of school.
Data from the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021, shows 1.6% boys and 1.7% girls in Karnataka are not enrolled in school. The figure was 6.4% and 5.9%, respectively in 2020. Nationally, there is no change – in percentage terms – in the number (4.6%) who are not in school.

“While the pandemic has resulted in some increase in the proportion of children who are not currently enrolled, this is mostly for the youngest age groups,” the report states. “It is possible that many of these children are still waiting to get admission and may re-enrol when schools fully reopen, and the situation gets a little more normalised. Also, younger children are easier to enrol and states can organise enrollment drives as they have in the past to get children back to school.”
Niranjanaradhya VP, educationist, said the government must ensure all children are back in school. “Special enrolment drives must be conducted,” he said. “In 2003, we had conducted drives like ‘Prabhath Pheri’ where people made a procession from schools to homes of children who were not enrolled to convince parents to send their children to school.”
The report specifically highlights migration of children from private to government schools. The report says 8.3% children moved to government schools in Karnataka, taking the total to 77% — the seventh highest among states. The largest migration was in Uttar Pradesh (13.2%), Kerala (12%), Tamil Nadu (10%) and Rajasthan (9%).
The increase is most striking in the lowest grades. For example, admissions in government schools rose by more than 10% points from 2020 to 2021 among boys in classes 1 and 2. Boys are more likely to be enrolled in private schools than girls. TOI had reported the trend in mid-2020.
The department of public instruction says a staggering two lakh students have moved to government schools. However, recently, budget private schools in many rural areas claimed children who had moved to government schools are slowly making a return, now that on-campus classes have begun.
“Are government schools and teachers equipped to deal with this influx of students, especially after a period of prolonged closure with children coming back to school with large learning deficits? When children come back to school after one-and-a-half years of no formal instruction, these learning deficits are going to be much deeper and teachers will be dealing with more children than they were when schools shut down,” the report points out, while also raising concerns over resources in government schools.


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Sagar Biswas

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