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Project to keep kids in school

Jamshedpur, April 7: Next time a student is absent from school, the onus would be on the school management, faculty and other students to bring him or her back to the cradle.

After failing to improve the dismal school absenteeism record, the human resource development department has decided on community-based intervention to stop the trend.

“In the state on a day, around 55 to 60 per cent students are present in class and we want to take this figure to above the national average of 70 per cent, through this community-based approach,” state primary education director D.K. Saxena said today.

The ambitious project aimed at reducing absenteeism in state-sponsored schools would be launched within three months, in this session itself.

“We have done our spade work on an experimental basis in Ranchi and the efforts have been quite successful in bringing down absenteeism and now the schools have a class attendance of more than 70 per cent,” said the director.

The experiment was initiated in 40 schools of Ranchi last year.

The HRD department is planning to ask the district superintendents of education (DSEs) across the state to conduct orientation sessions in schools under their jurisdiction.

“We would be carrying out training in different districts informing school principals about detailed process of the community based intervention so that the same is implemented in the right perspective at the block level,” he said.

According to the process, if a student absents for one day then the schoolteacher would ask his or her friends to trace them and bring them back to school.

If a student absents for the second day, then teachers would be given the onus of locating and bringing back the students to school.

If a student absents for more than three days then it would be the school managing committee’s responsibility to locate the students and persuade them back to school.

“We have tried out midday meal scheme also and it was successful to a certain extent in attracting students to school. But absenteeism still prevails,” Saxena said.

The state is also changing the pattern of teacher recruitment for primary and middle schools from this fiscal.

“Earlier, we used to have only graduate teachers till Class VIII. But now we plan to have separate set of teachers for Classes I to V and VI to VIII,” Saxena revealed.

For Classes I to V, youths with intermediate pass and training in education would be eligible for posts of general teachers, while from Classes VI to VIII only graduates with training would be eligible for the posts of subject teachers.

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