Published: 14th August 2021
Row in Karnataka's Koppal district over school dropouts
The Education Department and the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj have been in loggerheads over how many students have been left out-of-school in the academic year 2021-22
Even as commencement of primary schools including eighth standard for the 2021-22 academic year hangs in balance, a row appears to have erupted over the number of school dropouts or out-of-school children as far as Koppal district is concerned.
Though the Education Department ahead of every academic year carries out a survey to identify school dropouts, discrepancies persisted in the department's surveys. The survey is conducted in order to ensure mandatory education for children in six-to-eight age range as per the Right To Education (RTE) Act. However, instead of the education department, the survey of school dropouts ahead of 2021-22 was conducted by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department to focus especially on the rural areas in the district, which claims 1975 children as school dropouts.
But, the same is countered by the education department by maintaining that as many as 1008 children of the 1975 have been ensured mainstream education. The RDPR survey claims 68 disabled children are out-of-school in a single village, which is false. Further, the survey shows a married woman as a six-year-old school dropout in Munirabad village near Koppal, said sources in the education department.
While the RDPR survey shows as many as 711 children as school dropouts in Koppal taluk, followed by 690 in Gangavati, 347 in Yelburga and 227 school dropouts in Kushtagi taluk of the district, the education department counters as having already brought 398 school dropouts in Koppal taluk, 267 in Gangavati, 210 in Yelburga and 133 school dropouts in Kushtagi taluk of the district back to mainstream education from the total 1975 children.
Following the row between RDPR and the education department, teachers are forced to approach these children at their doorstep to verify the RDPR survey, stated the department nodal officer Vijayakumar Kugod. However, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) Doddabasappa Neeralakeri told TNIE on Saturday that any discrepancies in RDPR survey will soon be verified and sorted out before the government announces commencement of classes for first to eighth standard.