Educationists fear rise in school dropout rate in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district

The attendance of students in private schools is also not encouraging

Kothagudem: There is fear among educationists in Bhadrardri-Kothagudem district about an increase in the drop-out rate of students due to the Covid-19, the lockdowns, the financial struggles thereof, and the abrupt closure of schools for 11 months.

Such a trend was evident in a study of the attendance books of classes in 322 schools, including 119 private schools, in Bhadradri district. Though 75.52 per cent of the students had given consent letters to return to classes, the attendance was limited to only 38.82 per cent of the strength in these schools.

The government opened schools for classes IX and X from February 1 and the two days’ student attendance was not impressive. The situation in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalam (KGBV) was one example. About 499 students in Class IX out of the 570 had given their consent to attend the classes. However, only 33 girl students (5.79 per cent) of Class IX and X attended classes on February 2.

Against this, 10.56 per cent students reported to classes in government residential schools. The attendance was 49.94 per cent for Class IX in 110 schools run by government and local bodies.

Compared to Class IX, the attendance for Class X was slightly better at 49.8 per cent.

N Bhaskar Rao, a retired headmaster, said: “The lockdown and Covid-19 troubled thousands of families and the economic condition of these families is vulnerable. Many parents are taking their kids to the fields and for other works as labourers. Some students now habituated to work and getting daily wages may not turn to schools. The government should try and minimize the drop-out.”

Headmasters and teachers are trying to increase attendance in the coming days. Interestingly, the attendance of students in private schools is also not encouraging. The attendance is 36.75 per cent.

Somasekhar Sarma, district education officer of Bhadradri district, said, “We are visiting schools and interacting with parents and students to improve attendance. Students are being encouraged to attend schools. We are confident about raising the attendance level to 80 per cent.”

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