Azim Premji Foundation allowed to assist government
The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday allowed Azim Premji Foundation to be an intervenor for assisting both the court as well as the State government in a public interest litigation petition related to the issue of out-of-school children in the State.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed an order on an application filed by the foundation pointing out that it is keen on working in collaboration with the State government and assist the court based on its experience in the field of education to ensure that programmes and policies are put in place to make sure that children do not drop out of school.
The Bench was hearing the PIL petition initiated suo motu by the court based on a newspaper report on the issue of out-of-school children when the law mandates free and compulsory education to all children aged between six and 14.
Meanwhile, the Bench asked the State government, court-appointed amicus curiae Aditya Sondhi, the intervenors — Azim Premji Foundation, Kathyayini Chamaraj and others, to come out with a comprehensive strategy for achieving the goal of “zero dropouts from school” by next year.
While stressing the need for involving all stakeholders in addressing this issue, the foundation in its application pointed out that the 64th National Sample Survey (NSS) had indicated that 33 per cent of the children remain out of school as their parents are not interested in sending them to school, and in 22 per cent cases, the parents do not consider education as important. Financial constraint of parents is only the third reason (21 per cent) for not enrolling children to school.
‘High among girls’
Pointing out that dropout rate is high among girls, the foundation pointed out the statistics provided in the annual report of the Karnataka Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for 2011–12 in this connection.
The report states that overall dropout rate in lower primary schools is 1.19 per cent and in higher primary schools it is 4.35 per cent. The dropout rate is 1.17 per cent and 4.64 per cent among girls in lower and higher primary schools respectively against 1.21 per cent and 4.4 per cent respectively among boys.
Relying on the NSS data, the foundation said in Karnataka only 7.1 per cent students are given cash scholarship and majority incentive is in the nature of free books and midday meals. It said there was a need for diverse range of strategies to address the issue keeping in mind the availability of schools, infrastructure provided in schools, quality of education, etc.
Major reasons for non-enrolment
Parents not interested in education of children
– 33 per cent
Education not considered necessary – 22 per cent
– 21 per cent