MYSORE: Despite the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, school is still out of the question for several children in the district. A recent survey, conducted by the education department, revealed that 7,900 students, including 3,631 girls, dropped out of school during 2012-13.
Of these, 3,621 girls and 4,269 boys dropped out under social and financial pressure.
What has rung the alarm bells in the education department is that 498 children, including 197 girls, aged six to 16 have never stepped inside a school, making a mockery of the RTE Act, which envisages free and compulsory school education.
Topping the shame list is the backward taluks of Nanjangud, abutting Mysore city, with 1,563 dropouts and 34 not enrolled. Close behind are tribal-dominated Hunsur (1,221 dropouts and 96 non-enrolments) and H D Kote taluks (1,277 dropouts and 77 non-enrolments).
Cities fare better, with Mysore south recording the lowest number of dropouts (148). Twenty-five children there have never been to school. In Mysore north, which comprises a large number of slums, the number of dropouts and those never enrolled total 720.
Only nine children in K R Nagara taluk have never been to school, leaving it at the last spot on the non-enrolment list. But 487 students dropped out there.
Chandra Patil, district project coordinator of Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan, says the education department resurveyed the number of dropouts following a high court order. This was done in the wake of discrepancies in the findings of two surveys. While a general survey by the education department pegged the number of school dropouts in the state at 57,000, another by the District Information System for Education claimed it was more than 2 lakh.
Patil says the findings of the survey are still being collated. "We will try to get the children back to school. We will conducted a Shikshana Adalat on Thursday, where all district block education officers will discuss the next course of action."
On non-enrolments, he says children are refused admission in primary school if they haven't reached the cut-off age of five years and 10 months. This discourages several parents from going back when their children are of age.