Published: 23rd December 2020
In Chennai, 315 students drop out of Corporation schools; 96 students from Classes 9 and 10
Corporation commissioner G Prakash had ordered teachers to speak to the families and find out the reason behind the children dropping out and readmit them
While the COVID-19 disrupted the functioning of schools, it also pushed students from vulnerable sections further away from learning. During the pandemic, a total of 315 students dropped out from the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) schools across the city. A survey by corporation’s education department, shared exclusively with the Express, has revealed that out of the total number of dropouts, as many as 96 students are from Classes 9 and 10, while 92 students are from Classes 11 and 12. In total, the higher secondary dropout rates alone account for 60 per cent of the total, while 63 students who dropped out are from Classes LKG to 5, and 64 from Classes 6 to 8.
In a shocking find, out of the 315 students who dropped out, 254, which is a whopping 80 per cent, are identified to be from the corporation schools located in economically poorer neighbourhoods of North Chennai. A total of 130 students have dropped out from Thiru Vi Ka Nagar zone alone. In August this year, the civic body formed a special team of teachers to identify dropped out students from Classes LKG to 12, and take necessary measures to boost school admissions in the upcoming academic year.
Corporation commissioner G Prakash had ordered teachers to speak to the families and find out the reason behind the children dropping out and readmit them. While the corporation says it has readmitted the students, the problems are myriad, ranging from social circumstance, poverty, lack of parental care, and failure in exams.
GCC assistant education officer V Munian said thatduring the survey, teachers found the family circumstances and economic conditions to be the reasons for dropouts. "Students say the environment at home is not supportive of studies. Students from Class 9 onwards feel the need to earn money so that they can leave school," he said.
Social rights activists say the pandemic has aggravated the pre-existing vulnerabilities of poor students. "For the homeless students and ones from informal settlements, access to technology and education material itself is a huge challenge. The children don’t even have a plan. Giving them a book will just not help," said Vanessa Peter of Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities (IRCDUC).
She said that in these times, parents too may not have proper work and they would not be in a position to help their children. "In such a scenario, people in the age of 15 would take up jobs to make ends meet," she said.