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39% of dropped out children belong to OBCs vs 33% STs, 27% SCs: Chhattisgarh report

By Our Representative 

Like in other sectors, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have badly hit the learning ability of schoolchildren in Chhattisgarh, a recent fact-finding study report, jointly prepared by the non-profit Atmashakti Trust, the Dalit Adivasi Manch (DLM), a people's collective, and the Jana Jagaran Samiti, an NGO of Chhattisgarh, has said, insisting, the State government should prioritise its efforts to bridge learning gaps of children in government schools.
Based on online study of 323 villages of Mahasamund, Balodabazar and Janjgir Chapa districts of Chhattisgarh, the report seeks to capture efforts of the State government towards the recovery of learning loss due to school closure during the pandemic and to appraise the state government about the current status of education so that a collaborative efforts can be undertaken to bridge the gap. It collected data from 651 respondents on the Learning Recovery Programme (LRP), 367 respondents on RTE norms, 101 respondents on dropouts, and 96 on migration.
According to the report, 62.1% of the students said that they are facing difficulties in their current curriculum because they aren't able to link it with their previous year's curriculum, pointing out, the Chhattisgarh government has no LRP programme in place, which will force children to be at the periphery of education. Therefore, it will be tough for the students to recover from the learning losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, it adds.
The report reveals that 27.52% (101) of schools are short of one teacher compared to the number of sanctioned posts in their schools. Lack of adequate school teachers enormously affects education in Chhattisgarh, it says, adding, 25.88% (95), 19.07% (70), and 7.90% (29) of schools are short of 2, 3 and 4 teachers, respectively.
77.22% of students had no opportunity to read, nor was there any scope for them to engage in reading activities during the pandemic
The report discloses that 14.71% (54) of schools don’t have separate toilets for boys and girls. In almost all the offices and institutions, one can find separate toilets for males and females, then why is it not there in schools even after 13 years of the implementation of the RTE, even though this is the primary need for the students?, it asks.
The report finds that 24. 52% (90) of toilets in schools lack water facilities, with parents complaining, what is the use of toilets without proper water facilities?
The report says that 12.26% (45) of schools don't have playgrounds, which serve a vital role in the physical and mental health of students.
The report finds that out of the 101 dropout cases, 32.67% belong to ST, whereas 26.73%, 38.61% and 1.98% are from SC, OBC, and general categories, respectively. The significant reason for dropouts, it points out, relates to the fact that 32.67% are engaged in household work. Further, 7.92%, 14.85%, 7.92%, and 36.63% said their dropout resulted from difficulties in the curriculum, other logic, parents aren't interested, labour work, and the parent got migrated, respectively.
Then, says the report, 77.22% of students had no opportunity to read, nor was there any scope for them to engage in reading activities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As for the current engagement of the migrant students, 57.29% said they are helping their parents in the household work.

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