| Dropout danger
As per the non-formal education programme, primary centres require to be organized on the basis of the prevalence of illiterates and the dropouts of the age group of 6-14 years. It was, however, observed that one NGO (Basirhat Women Development Society) organized 50 NFE primary centres in February 2000 on the basis of a survey report of June 1997, that too on one report of the age group of 9-14 years. Moreover, no survey was conducted in the area of operation by the Ichapur Janakalyan Parishad, though 100 centres were organized by it.
(iv) Paschim Banga Kheria Sabar Kalyan Samiti organized 100 primary centres only for 19 months as against 24 months required since September 1999 and all illiterate learners (3,097) in the area of operation were admitted. Against 3,097 learners, 1,750 learners appeared for the evaluation test and 906 learners passed out successfully. As the centres were prematurely closed, the purpose of bringing “out of school children” under NFE and subsequent entry into mainstream of formal education was defeated though Rs 10.36 lakh was spent on them.
(v) In the case of Samatat Sanstha, out of 7,339 enrolled learners, only 1,228 learners (17 per cent) appeared and passed the evaluation test. Reasons for such poor appearance in evaluation test was not spelt out in the status report or any other records.
(vi) Out of 220 names of learners recorded in both attendance and evaluation registers by Sri Ramkrishna Satyananda Ashram in respect of 10 NFE centres of Suri-I block, anomalies in the names in as many as 159 cases (72 per cent) were noticed.
Thus, evaluation done by the NGO was not based on facts. Basic records of evaluation was not also produced. Project officers did not supervise 200 centres of Suri—I & II blocks. While no reply was received from the government, the NGO did not dispute the discrepancy in the number of learners, but expressed its inability to reconcile the discrepancy as the scheme was defunct.
(vii) The NGOs did not incorporate the number of drop-out children in their annual reports. Test check of monthly reports, however, revealed that 4,266 (SRSA: 3,101, SS: 1,165) children dropped out during 1995-2000.
(viii) In PBKSKS, 1,347 learners (43 per cent) dropped out from the NFE centres during 1999-2000. Reasons for such alarming drop out, as attributed by the NGO, was migration of learners of Sabar tribal community from one place to another in search of employment.
(ix) SRSA’s report indicated a constant roll strength of 7,650 but names of new entrants and drop-outs were not furnished though called for.
(x) Records of 50 NFE centres under SS from 1995-2000 were called for audit scrutiny, but records of 39 NFE centres for only one year (1999-2000) were produced by SS covering particulars of 1,074 learners against recorded 1,435. Existence of 11 centres was therefore, doubtful.
Attendance register of learners was an important initial record to indicate existence/functioning of the centres of the NGOs. However, 3 NGOs could produce only 211 (13 per cent) attendance registers in place of 1,650 required to be maintained by them during 1995-2000:
Moreover, Calcutta Urban Service Consortium could not produce reports of the supervisors and project officers. In absence of such large number of attendance registers, the existence/functioning of the centres was doubtful.
Tagore Society for Rural Development replied that perhaps due to flood, some attendance registers were damaged/destroyed. The reply was not tenable as incidence of such damages was not reported earlier and appeared to be an afterthought.
SS did not form village level education committee, while VLEC constituted by the IJP was ineffective.
BWDS received a grant of Rs 2.67 lakh in February 2000 for running 50 NFE centres for 6 months and continued up to January 2001, though the NFE primary level course (Class I to V) was designed for 2 years. Thus, the course remained incomplete frustrating the very purpose for propagating NFE education and rendering the entire expenditure of Rs 2.67 lakh unfruitful. The course was also discontinued from April 2001.
Inspection of the centres run by the NGOs, conducted by the National Council for Educational Research and Training and state government officials revealed a dismal picture...
It would appear from the above that during last three years (1998-2000) no centre under SRSA and CUSCON had virtually been visited by any state government and NCERT official. No inspection reports were made available to audit. Further, no centre of the other test-checked NGOs was visited either by NCERT or state government officials.