A survey-cum-study undertaken by the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu has ensured that nearly 60 per cent of the students, who had dropped out of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, relocate back to school.
The study undertaken on August 10 by the SSA with the support of government and private school teachers traced a large number of students who had dropped out of schools due to the pandemic. The Education Management Information System (EMIS) portal of the Tamil Nadu government updates the status of school students who did not rejoin classes.
The SSA team found that out of 6,07,258 school students in Coimbatore district, 24,977 were found not participating in school activities when tracked using the EMIS portal.
A senior SSA official requesting anonymity, as the list of other districts was being finalised, said, “In Coimbatore district we could trace that 24,977 students were not seen actively involved in school-related activities. If students do not involve in education-related activities for a month, we consider them not a part of the school anymore.”
The SSA team along with the school teachers found that most of these students who did not attend classes had left Coimbatore district, following the loss of their parents’ jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The team could trace that most of these students were living in the native place of their parents. With the support of SSA authorities in the respective districts they were able to re-enroll these students in schools and other educational institutions in the districts where they are staying now.
The survey, according to the SSA official, has ensured that the students return to school in one district or the other. Some students are opting for Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and polytechnic courses after completing class 10 while school students below class 10 have rejoined schools in the districts.
The SSA official said, “We have traced the educational status of 21,000 students who have dropped out of school in Coimbatore district and have ensured that 60 per cent of these students return to school as well as complete ITIs and polytechnic courses.”
SSA officials are trying to locate the remaining students and bring them back to school.
The survey found that parents were using their children as helpers in farming as well as rearing of cows, goats, hens, but with lack of awareness were against their children returning to schools. However, with the SSAs and teachers intervention, the parents have allowed the children to go back to school.
The SSA official said, “It is a cumbersome task and we feel that a follow-up is necessary so that the students do not drop out of their schools and teachers have ensured us full support in it. The SSA will also build a network in the respective districts and ensure that the children continue going to school.”