EDUCATION: Centres for dropouts – Free food, accommodation and clothes for children – a ripe target for the corrupt, while the hills go neglected by design ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Oct. 18: The Sarva Siksha Mission (SSM) will soon flag off a project to bring all school dropouts under the ambit of primary education in Jalpaiguri district.
The scheme, which has been designed as a residential education system, will be launched at seven centres in two blocks — Kalchini and Birpara-Madarihat — in the next few weeks. SSM officials said a similar project would be taken up simultaneously in Purulia,too.
“The project has been designed to benefit children who are six years old or more. At present, 295 dropouts, including 30 girls, have been selected for the project,” said Aloke Mahapatra, the project officer of the SSM in Jalpaiguri.
“The annual enrollment drive to ensure education for all children is going on in primary schools across the district. Added to that, an additional attempt is being made to bring the dropouts back to schools ”
According to administrative sources, it has been found that several children in the district leave schools because of family problems and financial backwardness. “Under the project, everything, right from food to books and clothes will be provided to the students. The children will be at the centres for about an year or so to develop the habit of study. More dropouts will be included under the scheme in future,” said an official. “The focus is on children living in remote areas like tea estates and forest villages.”
SSM authorities said students would study at primary schools located near the centres from 7am to 10am and again in the evening. There would be televisions at each centre and indoor and outdoor games for the entertainment of the children. Further, arrangements would be made for the parents to come and meet their wards at the centres.
“The panchayat samities concerned have been instructed to find places where the centres can be set up. Retired schoolteachers will take classes for these students. There are also plans to conduct counselling for the children to generate interest in study,” said an SSM official.