Fresh survey started to identify out-of-school children

The School Education Department (SED) has started a fresh survey to identify the out-of-school children in districts across J&K.

The move comes after the department failed to enroll the out-of-school children in the schools for past many years.

An official in the civil secretariat here said the decision to conduct the survey was taken after Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) censured the Education Department for its “poor performance” in enrolling these students.

“For the past few years, the department could not identify the out-of-school children in the state and enable them to join mainstream schools. In view of this, the MHRD has asked the department to start a fresh survey to collect data in this regard,” the official said.

On June 10, the Secretary Education and Literacy, MHRD, convened a project approval board (PAB) meeting of J&K’s School Education Department wherein it was revealed that the department has failed to meet the target for enrollment of out-of-school children in schools.

Meanwhile, to begin with the department has now roped in a non-government organization (NGO) to conduct the fresh survey in two districts of Budgam and Sambha on pilot basis.

“Budgam district has scores of brick kilns and scores of children get involved in the child labour. Sambha has a huge industrial sector which also engages children at tender age for various jobs,” the official said.

Earlier in 2017, the state government in its PAB meeting held on 10 March 2017 had revealed that there were 27,355 OSC (out-of-school children) in the state, of which 10,942 will be enrolled in the schools during the 2017-18.

However, a meagre number of students joined the schools exposing the poor performance of the school education department.

“Against the target of 10,000 only 600 out of 4136 students registered in non-residential special training centres (NRSTC) joined the normal schools during 2017-18,” an official said.

State project Director Samagra Shiksha, Arun Kumar Manhas confirmed that the department has started the pilot project for two districts, saying that their endeavour will be to cater to all districts.

“The difficult part in this issue is that we have to identify both residential as well as non- residential children who have never been to school. In this, the concerned CEOs have to bring these students to nearby schools and provide them bridge course and ultimate aim remains to enroll them in the mainstream schools,” he said.

He however said the department enrolls only 10 to 15 percent of these children in schools because most of them are keep on migrating.

“But we are working on it and hope that all the children join the formal schools,” he said.