In the Student Enumeration Survey, conducted by the Andhra Pradesh department of school education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, more than 8,000 out of school students have been identified from the district of Visakhapatnam. The survey was conducted when the officials noticed a significant number disparity of school going children and school age children. The statistics have been identified in two surveys which have been conducted by the Union and state governments.
68 lakh school age children have been identified in 1.4 crore households in the ‘AP Praja Sadhikara’ survey, also known as the ‘Smart Pulse Survey’. The disparity of the numbers was observed when the U-DISE data identified only 60 lakh children as school going. While comparing both the surveys, it was noted that there was a huge variation in number, between the school age children and the school going children, of 8 lakh out of which 31000 are from identified from Visakhapatnam.
The reason for 8 lakh children missing from the collected data was speculated to be either they weren’t enrolled in the U-DISE database or them studying in unrecognised schools. State officials also suspected that 70% of the unidentified children, i.e. 5.6 lakh children, can be traced back into CBSE schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Schools, etc. Their suspicion was proven true when they identified all the students except for 8,459 students in Visakhapatnam district.
With this data of school age children not attending schools, SSA Official L Giridhar stated that there will be a special enrolment drive that will be launched from June 1st to ensure continuation of education by the drop outs and school age children. This drive is also aimed at increasing the number of students in government schools. He also stated that the drive will ensure that no one out of the 8,459 children is left out.
Presently, the district education officials are claiming to be on a mission to impart free and compulsory education. However it is also noted that most drop outs occur from primary schools due to poverty and accessibility. Lack of proper infrastructure in the schools can also be one of the reasons. There is also the case of child labour and child marriage. Schools in remote areas should also be developed with proper infrastructure and teaching facility. The awareness programs about the need for education have to achieve a much wider reach in order to demolish illiteracy.