Primary education dropout leads to child labour


15 year old Shamima makes beedi as it’s her niche. She does her work religiously to support her family financially. She had to leave school in order to help her widowed mother. She is one of the contributors like her mother, to her family.

Shamima making beedi

Shamima says, “I had to leave school after the completion of my primary school in order to help my family financially.” Adding to that her mother Zohra says, “After my husband died I had to enrol her into this business so that she can also help the family financially.” Life of Shamima and her mother is difficult as it’s an obstacle to make both the ends meet.

Shiggaon’s dropout rate is 56% in primary schools as per Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The area is dry due to lack of rainfall, still agriculture persists. Major crops that grow here are cotton, sugarcane and beetle leaves. Most of the occupation here revolves around farming and agriculture. Most of the poor people here don’t have their own lands so they work as daily farm labourers for their daily wage. Parents take their children for work often resulting into them dropping out of school mostly after their primary education.

Kanti works as a mechanic

SarvaShikshaAbhiyan’s study reveals that in Karnataka nearly 63% of children who dropped out of school prior to the commencement of academic year are between the ages of 11 and 13, indicating that most leave the education system after completing lower primary classes. This trend was revealed in the recent survey by SarvaShikshaAbhiyan to identify ‘out of school’ children across Karnataka ahead of the 2017-2018 academic years. SSA’s 2013-14 data reveals OOSC (Out of School Children) are difficult to track down. Factor being migration where their parents take them to work and it’s difficult to trace them later. SSA also says, “lack of convergence among social sector departments also play a vital role in not achieving the objective of mainstreaming OOSC.”

There are various factors of their dropouts in this Taluk. After talking to the children over there who had dropped out recently or few years ago stated that their teachers beat them, some did not like mathematics at all, and some even stated that schools did not have proper toilet facilities.

These children are not just farm labourers. Some are mechanics at the young age of 11, some are beedi workers, some are cobblers and porters etc. Their parents have confessed that they’re not concerned about their children’s education but instead some are worried to have their profession progressed further.

Primary school children of Bada Government Primary School

In northern Karnataka SarvaShikshaAbhiyan has identified 7,807 children between the ages 7 and 13 who had dropped out before the start of the academic year. Another 511 are children who never enrolled in school. This brings the total number of children in the state who have either dropped out of school or not enrolled in one to 8318. The taluk’s 49% of the children belong to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes category and 48.9% are from minority communities and other backward classes.

The region has only 5 primary government schools, which are at distances. 3 out of 5 poor families are reluctant to send their children to school because of their proximity problems. Some children have to travel or walk to attend their schools. Often girls leave school due to this reason where safety is also a secondary problem faced by them.

He’s 13 and had to leave school two years ago. Now he works as a farm labourer.

Government figures show that there were only 72,48,063 of children in Karnataka were studying from second to eighth standard and so there are 6,28,047 children who have either dropped out, or are missing after enrolment in the last seven years.

Dropout affects economy. So in order to save children from doing labor work several teachers and child welfare activists have come up together to enlighten parents on the importance of education.

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