Home India News Blame school dropouts on poor facilities, say experts

Blame school dropouts on poor facilities, say experts


New Delhi : Is it the fault of the child or parents when the child decides to drop out of school? Not really. It is poor infrastructure of the schools, especially government schools, that is the real culprit, experts said.

“Schools are there but teachers are missing… when the children don’t have anything to hold them back in the schools, no proper studying et al, they leave. It is wrong to put the entire blame on the child or the parents and make them look guilty for the dropouts,” said Babu Mathew, country director of ActionAid, an international developmental agency.

A number of government school teachers, students, NGOs and other officials related to the education system gathered for a film screening and panel discussion on the topic ‘What can I do to make government schools work?’ organised by ActionAid Thursday. Government schools constitute 85 percent of all schools in India.

“Kuchh Seekho, Kuchh Seekhao”, a documentary-drama which talked about the education system in the rural areas of the country, was screened and earned a lot of appreciation.

“This is a very simple film which can be understood by everyone. The story is about a young city-bred teacher who is posted to a government school in a village. The pathetic condition of the school, the poor infrastructure depresses him but he sticks on.

“By initiating a chain reaction of realisation and involving the panchayat, the parents and other people of the village, the school turns a new leaf,” Sandeepan V.K. Nagar, director of the film, explained to IANS.

The film also discusses issues of untouchability and girl education in the villages.

Prakash Kumar, 14, a student of Bal Sahyog, a government middle school which has classes 6-8, however, said that not all government schools are in such a bad state.

“Not all government schools’ conditions are the same. In my school, the teachers are very dedicated and help us in every possible way. It is a wrong notion that only private schools provide quality education,” he said.

Ramgopal Singh Parihar, principal of the school, said his school has 120 students, four teachers taught them.

“The teacher-student ratio thus is 1:30, which is good. Government schools appoint the best of the teachers who strive to give the students a good education,” Parihar said.

Sangeet Puhan, a social activist who works in the field of education, said that while it would be wrong to generalise that all government schools are bad, most of them do have poor infrastructure.

“As a part of a research study, I visited about 14 government schools last year in east Delhi. The first thing that I noted was that a child studying in Class 3 couldn’t even read or write a complete sentence.

“On investigating, I realised that the rule says that no child can be kept back in a class until Class 5. Thus, whether they are capable or not, whether they are learning or not, these kids keep getting admitted to higher classes until they are in a soup later on, and as a last resort, they drop out,” Puhan said.

This is when her team suggested the concept of a support system for the academically weaker students.

“We suggested that the teachers should identify the academically weaker students in the class and they should be helped by separate teachers to bridge the gap between them and the rest of the class.

“This suggestion was a success. In fact, Uttar Pradesh’s state government already has this concept in its system. The additional facilitation is called ‘Bal Mitra’. In Delhi, we have put forth the recommendations and dialogues are still on,” she said.