To reduce dropout rate in schools, Govt directs officials to create awareness about open schooling
Children sitting inside a school amid pandemic. [File]Mubashir Khan/ GK

To reduce dropout rate in schools, Govt directs officials to create awareness about open schooling

In wake of this the department has decided to encourage the dropout learners to avail National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) programmes through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) modes.

Srinagar: The School Education Department Tuesday acknowledged that the school dropout rate was endemic in many areas which had thrown up a major challenge for the government to control the Out of School Children (OoSC) in J&K.

In wake of this the department has decided to encourage the dropout learners to avail National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) programmes through Open and Distance Learning (ODL) modes.

The department has also directed the Chief Education Officers (CEOs), Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) besides heads of the schools and teachers to aware OoSC about the courses offered by NIOS.

A circular issued by Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) states that the NIOS was offering courses for the continuation of education of OoSC through open and distance learning (ODL) mode in order to minimise dropout rate and mainstream these children into the fold of school education.

“The dropout problem has been quite endemic in certain areas due to many reasons and closure of schools due to COVID-19 lockdown has considerably added to the figures,” the DSEK in a circular said.

The department has stated that such practice has proven a deterrent in the continuation of education by the children belonging to marginalised categories and has hindered inclusion to a larger extent.

“All CEOs, ZEOs, heads of institutions and teachers are advised to create awareness and guide the OoSC in their catchment areas about the courses offered by NIOS for them to continue their education,” the circular reads.

Greater Kashmir carried a series of stories highlighting the government failure to enroll the OoSC in schools despite availability of funds sanctioned by the Government of India.

Over the years, the Ministry of Education in Government of India has repeatedly expressed its concern over the poor performance of the school education department to achieve its target to mainstream the OoSC in J&K.

The education department has not conducted any survey to determine the number of OoSC since 2016 as the last survey was conducted in 2016-17.

The last survey revealed that around 27500 OoSC were present in J&K.

In July 2019, the School Education Department was asked by the Government of India to conduct a fresh survey to identify the out-of-school children in districts across J&K.

Also, the department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) GoI in the recently convened Project Approval Board meeting also expressed concern over the number of OoSC and asked the school education department that such grave issues need major intervention in identifying OoSC and mainstreaming them in schools.

Meanwhile, the courses offered by NIOS are Open Basic Education Programmes (OBEP), secondary courses, senior secondary courses and vocational courses as well.

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