Bengaluru: Karnataka, a state renowned for its impressive achievements in capital investment, development, and tax collection, faces a pressing concern: a high rate of school dropouts. Recent data reveals that Karnataka is the 7th highest state in the country with the most students discontinuing their education. Over the past five years, a staggering 57,785 students have left school in the state.
Breaking down these figures over the last five years, the dropout numbers are as follows: 7,605 students in 2018-19, 17,298 in 2019-20, 8,476 in 2020-21, 18,461 in 2021-22, and 5,945 in 2022-23. Despite the government’s allocation of a total of Rs 1,099.63 crore during this period in an effort to curb this concerning trend, the issue persists. This has prompted a closer examination of the root causes.
Government officials have identified ten primary reasons for students dropping out of school, including migrant lifestyles, family problems, child illnesses, gender-related issues, the onset of puberty in girls, nomadic living, severe disabilities, tribal backgrounds, orphaned or street children, and children involved in rag-picking.
In response to these challenges, the Education Department has devised a comprehensive strategy to bring migrant children into mainstream education. This initiative involves collaboration with various government departments, including Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, Women and Child Development, Labor, Revenue, and Health. Under this plan, underprivileged and migrant children are encouraged to enroll in educational institutions like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Residential School, Kastura Ba Gandhi Girls Hostel, Karnataka Kastura Ba Gandhi Residential School, and hostels managed by the Social Welfare and Backward Classes Departments.
Education Minister S. Madhu Bangarappa emphasized the shared responsibility of preventing school dropouts, with various officials at different levels of the educational hierarchy tasked with ensuring children stay in school.
While Karnataka ranks 7th in the country for student dropouts in the age group of 16 to 18, it is important to note that a significant portion of these dropouts occurs after the 10th standard. Various factors, such as students pursuing ITI, diploma, polytechnic, or vocational courses, contribute to this trend. The Education Department plans to gather more detailed statistics to better understand the reasons behind these secondary and higher secondary level dropouts and will initiate efforts to trace and support these students in their educational journey.
The government remains committed to addressing this urgent issue and ensuring that every child in Karnataka has access to quality education, with the aim of reversing the concerning dropout trend in the state.