Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Attendance Authority has been directed to issue notices to parents if a child absents from school continuously for a week.
Following directions from the Karnataka High Court which had heard a suo motu PIL in 2013 to monitor school dropouts in the state, the project director (educational planning) of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan has issued an order to all 34 educational districts and Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPIs) to check the number of school dropouts and students with low attendance record.
Asking the State Attendance Authority to be tough on parents, the Education Department has also directed headmasters of all aided, primary and high schools, BEOs and education coordinators, who oversee the State Attendance Authority at taluk level, to issue notices to parents immediately if they are not sending their children to school properly.
The High Court had directed the government to train attendance authorities to ensure they are equipped to enforce the law to provide compulsory education to children aged between 6 and 14 by bringing out-of-school children back to school.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice H.T. Narendra Prasad issued the direction during the hearing of a PIL, which was initiated suo motu by the High Court in 2013 on a large number of out-of-school children.
During the hearing, the court pointed out that though 82,116 students were out of school in the survey conducted by the Department of Public Instruction in December 2018, those falling in the age group of 6 to 14 were only 57,334.
Of which, at present, only 16,853 are said to be out of school and 31.1% of them are children of migrant labourers.
It was also pointed out to the Bench that Chief Secretary T.M. Vijaya Bhaskar had also found lapses on the part of attendance authorities in recent years and had decided to train its staff to ensure that they function effectively.
“If a child is absent for a long period, the authority must first persuade parents, then notify them, fine them and issue a notice to them. It must share the details of progress in bringing back the children to school every week with department officials,” the order stated.
Child Welfare Committee
The Department has appreciated the effective functioning of such committees in tracking the cases of out-of-scho0ol children in Mysuru, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura, Davangere, Hassan, Ramanagar and Uttara Kannada Education districts.
The Department expressed its unhappiness over the poor style of functioning of attendance authorities in Chikkodi, Bagalkote, Bidar and Dakshina Kannada districts for not issuing notices to parents who are not sending their children to school, the order said....