Online module to map out-of-school children

The aim is to connect them to mainstream education through special training centres

With COVID disruptions to education leading to higher levels of dropouts, the Centre has set up a module to map out-of-school children, and connect them to mainstream education through special training centres.

In a letter to State governments on Friday, Education Ministry Joint Secretary Maneesh Garg directed them to upload data about all out-of-school children at the block level for monitoring purposes. “In order to facilitate age appropriate admission of out-of-school children in the age group of 6-14 years in regular schools, financial provisions are made in the [Samagra Shiksha] scheme for arranging special training to bridge their learning gaps and mainstreaming them in schools,” said the letter.

The online module, it said, would allow for the mapping of the children with the nearest Special Training Centres to provide bridge courses.

“For out-of-school children in the 16-18 years of age group and belonging to Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Group, financial assistance has been made available for the first time from the year 2021-22, to continue their education through Open/Distance Learning mode,” it added.

In January, the Education Ministry had directed States to conduct comprehensive door to door surveys to identify children who were out of school and migrant students affected by COVID-19 disruptions. They were told to prepare an action plan to prevent increased dropouts, lower enrolments, loss of learning and deterioration in the gains made in providing universal access, quality and equity in recent years.

Schools were also asked to relax detention norms in order to prevent dropouts in a year when COVID-19 has disrupted teaching and learning process.

Globally, the United Nations had estimated that almost 24 million school age children are at risk of dropping out from the educational system due to the pandemic.

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