Published: 23rd August 2020
How 'Back to School' initiative in Udhampur is helping over 2,000 children get basic education
The initiative aims at eradicating illiteracy, malnutrition, and domestic child labour by enrolling children from economically weaker families into schools
Though according to the 2011 census report there is 70 per cent literacy in Udhampur, yet the underprivileged sections of the society face challenges in enrolling their children in schools. However, the 'back to school' initiative is bringing a change in the scenario.
The initiative aims at eradicating illiteracy, malnutrition, and domestic child labour. Interestingly, apart from enrolling children from economically weaker families into schools, this project also provides livelihood opportunities for the parents under MGNREGA.
Dr Piyush Singla, District Commissioner, Udhampur said, "In a resurvey we were able to identify 3,100 students, hailing from a very poor background, who had the tendency to leave schools. Out of these 3,100, 2,095 have been enrolled in the school which increased the overall district enrollment ratio by 2.6 percent."
Under this initiative, the district administration provides a bridge coursebook that helps these students to cope up with their peers.
However, following the COVID-19 situation, community schooling is also being run for the benefit of the students in need.
Here, one teacher per five/six backward students has been allocated so that their education can continue unhindered, along with following all the government SOPs.
Two hundred teachers have been trained especially for this purpose.
"Poverty is the most important factor and unless we address this issue there is a tendency of these students dropping out again. It is important that measures are taken to retain them to school," Singla said.
"To address this issue we have roped in the scholarship scheme. Based on their merit, different scholarships are being provided to them. Through these endeavors we are very positive that it will be a major leap in the education system," he added.
The district administration is also in talks with the Red Cross Society to provide support to such students.
Designated staff have been tasked with identifying all children, up to 14 years of age, who are out of school through a special survey.
The initiative commenced in April 2019.