Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tracking school dropouts to be easier in future

Tracking school dropouts to be easier in future

Ramzauva Chhakchhuak, Bangalore, Sep 2, 2013, DHNS :
Tracking ‘out of school children (OOSC)’ could be an easy task with a software being developed by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for the purpose. The SSA is also trying to rope in neighbouring states for the effective application of the software.

Once developed, the ‘OOSC tracking software’ will go online with the 17-digit code of schoolchildren (allotted under ‘Hejje Guruthu’ scheme) and their photographs.

If a child is found missing from a school for more than seven days, teachers of that particular institution will have to immediately inform their higher authorities such as the block education officer (BEO) and the newly formed attendance authority.

The information of the particular child in the database will be updated accordingly. The authorities will have to closely monitor the database for the ‘reappearance’ of the missing child.

“If children in Karnataka drop out of school and move from one district to another or anywhere within the State, we will be able to track them with the software,” said Subodh Yadav, Projector Director, SSA, Karnataka. “However, once they go outside the State’s boundaries, there is no way of knowing their whereabouts.”

The SSA is in the final stages of developing the software and persuading Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu to instal it in their respective databases.

“This initiative will be mutually beneficial for Karnataka and other states. They will get an update on schoolchildren who migrate from our state and vice versa. As and when we can track them, we can take immediate remedial actions,” Yadav said, adding that a letter in this regard had already been sent to these states.

Numbers unclear

Although the exact number of school dropouts who leave the State is not known, Yadav believes it is “significant”. “In many border districts such as Raichur and Belgaum, significant migration takes place. Schoolchildren from such areas do not get traced anywhere,” he said.

Even ChildLine, a helpline for children in distress, receives on an average at least two calls every week from outside Karnataka about missing children from the State, G Nagasimha Rao, nodal supervisor of the helpline, explained.

While the new seven-day definition of OOSC has greatly helped in the effort to address the issue, the aim is to use the tracking software. The inclusion of the neighbouring states is to ensure “complete” solution to the problem, according to Yadav.

As OOSC becomes a hot potato for the department of public instruction, the SSA had recently announced a plan to conduct a fresh survey to establish the actual number of dropouts.

In addition, the setting up of the ‘attendance authority’ to check dropout rates has also been planned.

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