The “Bal Rakshak” app developed by the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in partnership with Tata Trust in September last year found 7,806 more children in the age range 6 to 14 years old who have never been to school. Of these, the majority – 4,076 – are boys and mostly children of casual laborers on construction sites.
The application linked to the student database portal SARAL (Simple, All Inclusive, Real Time, Action Oriented, Long Lasting) revealed that 17,397 children, including 8,389 girls, dropped out of school after briefly following courses. online or offline course last year. Schools have been asked to keep looking for them.
Teachers are already armed with information about their missing students. They were told to find the missing students and make sure they return to school or are registered in their current place of residence. “I have a student who hasn’t shown up to class (standard 3) since last year. The child is in Haryana with his single mother. We are asking him to get his son admitted to a school there,” said a teacher from a Malad school.
When registering in a school, the details of the child including the Aadhar card are uploaded to the SARAL portal.
Last year, some schools were unable to upload the details due to delay in getting Aadhar (from the centers) due to the pandemic. Issues such as duplicating Aadhar and correcting student details were resolved last year.
Education officials from all districts have been instructed to visit areas where casual laborers are employed, to enroll children in schools. A state education official said a student remains on the enrollment list until September 30, when the SARAL portal is updated for the academic year.
Principals said that under the Right to Education Act (RTE), schools cannot simply strike a pupil off the rolls. “The school should either bring the child back or ensure that the child is admitted to another after obtaining the school leaving certificate from the current school.”
Meanwhile, as schools reopened, 5.4 crores of textbooks were distributed to students in grades 1 to 8 in state-assisted schools.