Bogus dropouts hit Rajasthan’s education initiative

August 6th, 2011 - 1:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Aug 6 (IANS) It was supposed to help connect every child to education. But a Rajasthan government survey to prepare a database of school dropouts in the state turned to be a damp squib as fake names of thousands of children were mentioned.

Gross irregularities have been found in the Child Tracking Survey (CTS) conducted by the state’s education department. The ‘dropouts’ in the survey also included those students who never got any education.

The fake names put the total number of dropouts in the state at a staggering 1.2 million in the survey conducted last year. And due to false entries, government teachers are finding it difficult to locate dropout children to bring them back to school.

The government had started a massive drive across the state from July 1 to bring over a million school drop-out children aged between 6 and 14 years back to the classrooms by the end of the month.

The entire drive was based on the survey as teachers were to contact the children mentioned as drop-outs in the survey records and connect them with education.

Alarmed over 1.2 million dropouts, the Rajasthan government directed that each government principal and teacher be given a target of bringing back students who have dropped out.

Targets were based on the ratio of drop-out children and the government teachers in each school.

“Recently, a team of teachers from a government school in Udaipur district’s Kelwara went to the house of Khiya Banzara of Chandalia village considering him to be an eight-year-old boy,” an education department officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.

“But as it turned out, he was 45 years old and had a six-year-old daughter who also had an entry in the CTS survey records as a dropout child,” the officer said.

Similarly, in Nagaur district’s Kuchaman area when teachers tried to contact a girl, she was found to be 35 years old. In survey records, her age had been mentioned as seven years.

In the Kelwara area, about 2,900 students have been identified as drop-outs, but the teachers have been able to locate only 750 of them.

Similarly, in the Hindaun City area of Karauli district, the teachers have been able to locate only 2,000 dropout children out of 5,000 mentioned in the CTS records.

“During physical verification, about 400 children were found to be younger than five years and as many as about 100 children above 14 years old,” the officer said.

“The survey was meant only for children aged between 6 and 14 years. Not only this, 625 children are completely untraceable. And 1,100 children who are said to be drop-outs are regularly attending school,” he added.

The irregularities in the CTS have put a question mark over whether the state government will be able to achieve its target of connecting every child to education.

The survey had been conducted last year by the education department with the help of its employees.

Rajasthan’s literacy rate is around 67.06 percent as against the national average of 74.04 percent. Its female literacy rate is around 52.66 percent.

(Anil Sharma can be contacted at anil.s@ians.in)

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