The government schools face several challenges with children who are irregular to the school. The dropout rate is different than the actual number.
By Esther Esha
Bangalore, April 4, 2019
Yellappa, a 60-year-old man, with a walking stick in his hand and a turban around his head, constantly worries about his only child Yellappa (named after his father). He asks himself why his child cannot get admission in any school after he dropped out of grade eight. He has always wished to see a graduation certificate or a tenth-class certificate at the least.
Yellappa, the son, a former student from Sungara Galli Government Model Higher Primary School (GMHPS) took a transfer certificate in the month of May, last year. The higher primary schools consist of classes, one to seven. He graduated from seventh with the hope of continuing his education, but in vain, as his academic journey came to a complete halt after he failed the entrance test in reading Kannada conducted by the school.
This is not just true in Yellappa’s case. Two others, Jamal Sab, and Basamma have faced similar issues. They have passed the seventh grade and yet are unable to read Kannada.
Sungara Galli School’s strength was 156 for the academic year 2018 to 2019 according to the attendance register. The attendance register of class five showed that 16 of them were present in the class.
Attendance register that shows 16 students present
A class opposite to the principal’s office had a sign that showed it was class five. This class had no teacher, no students, no fans or lights, no tables, and chairs, and was filled with dust.
Gangadhar M. Pattar, a guest teacher, sat in the classroom next to class five, busy looking at his mobile phone for a while, walked up the stairs to show another classroom on the first floor. The classroom on the top was dirty with a lot of dust on the floor, crumpled papers all over the place and just like the other classrooms, no lights, no fans, and no chairs. But this classroom had a few benches with a few children sitting on them and a few sitting in the dust and working on a project with a teacher.
No benches, lights or fans in the classroom
Gangadhar said that the students belonged to class five. There were around 16-17 of them in that class. The entire school was empty except for this class. The students were asked one after the other as to which class they belonged to. Their answers were different. Three of them belonged to class four, one of them belonged to class five and the rest belonged to class seven.
From the classroom to the students telling to which class they belonged to
Banutai Mujumdar, the Head Mistress of Sungara Galli school said that there were no dropouts from their school. However, she said that the students are irregular. “They come twice in a week to the school.” She said that in cases like this how will the students learn anything?
Panchaksharayya, the Head Master of Government School in Lingasugur Taluk said that there were no dropouts. Madhumathi, another Head Master of Kanya School (Government Girls Higher Primary School) said that there were no dropouts in her school. She said, “However, the reasons could be that the parents might go to other states like Goa, Pune, and Maharashtra and when they shift to another state, they usually take their children along with them.”
The three principals denied that there were dropouts from the school. With Sungara Galli school, the fact that the attendance is being fabricated was proven to be true when the attendance register and the students from class five were asked as to which class they belonged to.
Madhumathi said that in her school, there is a hostel so when the parents go to work, they leave the children in the hostel. Some of the students stay with their grandparents or their relatives.
Nagappa Borvath, Block Resource Officer of the Education mentioned in the report given that there were 16 dropouts out of 80, 395 in the year 2017 to 2018. There were around 77, 599 students in the entire Lingasugur Taluk in the year 2015 to 2016. This data shows that the dropout rate has gone up by 94 percent. However, he said that although the dropouts are there they do not show it as the government chases them to get the students.
Dropout Rate in Lingasugar Taluk
Marappa was concerned about his niece’s education. He said that one of his nieces was in class seven. Her name was Gangamma. He said that she does not know how to read or write. The parents say that children go to school and learn nothing. On the other hand, the faculty say that the students do not come to school regularly and go to work along with their family.
He stated another reason for a few students who do not attend school is because a goddess named Gadhimai comes to dwell in them. When she enters, the child falls sick for a while, for which the teachers told the students not to come to class when the indwelling of goddess happens.
Ulgiamma, a parent of another girl who dropped out of the school said that her daughter is in the seventh standard and did not go to school for two months now. She said that her daughter is with her father at a festival held in a temple (Jatara) and stays in a local market without attending school.
Victims who share their problems
In Jaladurga school, 20 kilometers away from Lingasugur Taluk, an assistant teacher named Shataraj said that there is no electrical connection to the new building that was built four years ago. He wrote letters to the Gram Panchayat several times, although the answer was yes there was no supply. He said most of the students’ parents think that it would be better for children to help them at work rather than attending school, but we counsel them. He said most of the parents are willing to send the children to school it is because they would give milk and food.
Students standing in Queue for milk
He added that the reasons for the dropouts from this school are usually when it is a girl and do not want to send the child far where there is no proper transportation to this location. There are two buses to this place once in the morning and once in the evening which is another reason for dropouts.
Gangadhar said that he went to the houses of these children who do not attend the school regularly and has asked the parents of the students to send their children to school and encourage them to study. He said that children are not interested in coming to the school due to lack of awareness the parents have in the matter of education. He added “the parents say that they send the boys to school, but we see them playing on the ground. When they look at me, they run away somewhere far and return late in the night.”
During the time of their examination, he said he forced children and took them by their hand to school. He said around 100 students attend the school, but the number is decreasing day by day. Girls drop out after they attain puberty. A few are not interested to come to school. He added that when the students are less, they do not teach. The children prefer playing on the grounds and a few go out with their parents to help them in their respective professions due to which they do not attend school.
Gangadhar said that sometimes they give attendance to students who do not attend the class because when the government officials ask for the details, they need to show them how many students are coming to school. In addition, the government does not want any student to fail so we pass very student despite the knowledge they have.
A teacher from Jaladurga school, Mahesh Kumar, takes the responsibility of joining the students of his school to another school for class eight after completing their class seven at Halbhavi school that is eight kilometers away from the school. He said he wanted the students to study well and he takes an initiative to see the place developed.
Compared to 2013-14 data and 2017-18 data, around 3,009 students have dropped out of school. “We are going to form an action plan for these dropouts through Cluster Resource Person (CRP). We are going to send this plan of action to Block Resource Person (BRP) in Bangalore and we expect that they release a budget depending upon our needs,” said Sabanna Waggar, the incharge of the Board of Education Officer.
Pradeep, an educationalist states a few reasons for the government schools in rural Karnataka. To curb issues like this parent, need to be aware of the importance of education. “The parents could send the children for the benefits like the midday meal scheme instead of education.”
“Lack of commitment of the education department and the teaching staff towards the students is another factor. The experience that children face with the school is the other reason. The students do not get any motivation from outside of the school to attend it, for which the students tend to lose interest.”
“Urban migration is a serious problem. The parents might ask the children to work with them in the fields.” Raichur is a hot place. The distance that children walk from their house to school should be taken into consideration.