The Gudalur Revenue Department, along with various government departments and Non-Government Organisations, organised a campaign to identify school dropouts, especially from vulnerable communities in Gudalur, and convince the parents to send their children back to school.
A team of officials, including Revenue Divisional Officer, Gudalur, K.V. Rajkumar, as well as police officials, and members from the Integrated Child Development Services, and child welfare officers, visited Kozhikolly village in Gudalur and surrounding tribal hamlets.
The officials said the campaign to enrol dropouts was launched after the district administration was informed of high dropout rates among children, especially from tribal communities such as the Paniyas.
R. Vijaya, Child Fund Livelihood co-ordinator for the Nilgiris Adivasi Welfare Association, said that around 10 children, between 13 and 16 years, were found to have dropped out of school for various reasons. She said that financial problems faced by the parents were a contributing factor.
After holding talks with the parents, the children were given new uniforms to motivate them to return to school.
“Since Monday, six of the children, mostly girls, have rejoined classes,” said Ms. Vijaya, adding that the officials were trying to convince other dropouts in the surrounding villages to enrol in school as well.
The officials said that to ensure that the children, who enrol in school again, stayed there, there were plans to organise kabbadi and volleyball matches.
“This will act as an incentive to keep the children in school, and also keep them motivated,” added Ms. Vijaya.
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