The Out of School Children (OOSC) survey, which will be carried out by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), will for the first time, include a team comprising officials from various government departments, such as Labour, Women and Child Development, Health, Revenue, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, as well as members of NGOs.
This year’s survey will be a more elaborate exercise compared to previous years, in light of the case taken up by the High Court suo motu with regard to OOSC and the court’s direction to the State, that dropouts should be reduced to zero. It may be noted that the definition of a school dropout was changed to “a child who does not attend school for seven consecutive days without prior permission,” from the earlier 60-day period.
“While the Education Department’s data states that there are 51,994 OOSC, activists claim the figure is as high as 6.28 lakh. The survey aims to capture a comprehensive picture on the status of OOSC and address the discrepancies in the two figures,” Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, SSA, told The Hindu. For the survey, 4,062 education clusters (each cluster comprising between 15 and 25 schools) will be divided into three categories — vulnerable, non-vulnerable and general clusters.
Vulnerable clusters will consist of all urban and rural clusters where the dropout rate is more than 50 children as per the District Information System for Education (DISE) report. The non-vulnerable clusters would consist of rural areas where the dropout as per DISE is between one and 49 children.
The general clusters would consist of rural areas where the dropout rate is zero as per DISE.
The Education Department has identified 2,822 vulnerable clusters, while the remaining 1,240 clusters are general and non-vulnerable clusters. The survey, for vulnerable clusters, would involve both a house-to-house survey and identification of missing children through school records. For non-vulnerable and general clusters, the survey will identify missing children from school records.
Mr. Yadav said vulnerable clusters will have four officers for the survey, including two officers from the Education Department, one survey officer from any other department and one NGO member. The general and non-vulnerable clusters would have two officers — one each from Education Department and any other department or NGO.
The survey would begin in the first week of November. The school survey would be followed by a meeting of all headmasters at the cluster and block levels. The house-to-house survey will be conducted on November 13.