The Bihar government has struck off the names of around 21 lakh students from its schools over prolonged absence.
The expelled students include 2.67 lakh boys and girls studying in Classes IX to XII leading to a fear that a large number of them would be unable to take the Classes X and XII board examinations.
Bihar secondary education director Kanhaiya Prasad Srivastava wrote to all regional deputy directors of education and district education officers last week, asking them to ensure that Classes X and XII students whose names have been removed from the school rolls are not allowed to write the sent-up or pre-board examinations, and are not permitted to write the state board examinations next year.
The action comes at the behest of the education department’s additional chief secretary K.K. Pathak over the absence of several students from government schools.
He directed the officials to identify boys and girls who were not attending classes continuously for three days and issue notices to them. They were to be expelled if they did not resume attending classes within 15 days of receiving the notice. Similarly, students not appearing for monthly school tests were also to be removed from the rolls.
A special drive was conducted across all 38 districts to identify the absentee students. It led to the expulsion of 21 lakh students. They would be readmitted if their parents or guardians gave an undertaking that they would regularly attend school. However, the students would be dismissed if they did not mend their ways even after their parents submitted the undertaking.
East Champaran district had 11.77 lakh students enrolled in the government schools, but the names of 1.41 lakh of them have been struck off. Similarly, West Champaran district had 8.15 lakh students of which 1.24 lakh have been disenrolled. In Muzaffarpur district, 1 lakh students out of a total of 10.12 lakh students have been struck off from the rolls. A similar situation prevails in all almost all the districts.
“The drive to identify students who were not attending classes is now over and those found absent for a long duration have disenrolled. The entire exercise has been undertaken to regulate and increase attendance in schools and serve a warning to errant students,” education department assistant director Ramesh Chandra told The Telegraph.
“This should not be seen as a punitive step. We have left ample scope for the readmission of such students. In fact, parents of several of them are already approaching their respective schools to submit an undertaking that they would attend classes regularly,” Chandra added.
Bihar has over 85,000 primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary government schools in which around 4 lakh teachers are employed. A whopping 2.5 crore students are enrolled in them.
Talking about reasons behind striking off the names of students from the admission register, Chandra said that many of them were either enrolled in two or more government schools or were attending private schools but had taken admission in government schools to avail various benefits given by the state.
Student enrollment figures assume significance as the entire school education policy and planning depends on them. There is a suspicion that the numbers could have been inflated to siphon off the materials and other assistance that the government gives to students.