As elementary and middle-level schools across the State had remained closed for the past one-and-half years, the School Education Department did door-to-door surveys involving more than 50,000 teachers to identify dropouts, especially from State-run institutions.
A senior official from the School Education Department said a detailed list of students who did not respond to communications from the school during the lockdown was prepared by the respective district education authorities.
“About 55,000 teachers from the government schools visited the residence of the students who were in the absentees’ list and it was revealed that many students were either locally employed or shifter residence,” he pointed out.
Stating that 1.28 lakh students were found to have dropped out of the schools so far, the official said, “With the help of the teachers and local bodies, all of them will be brought back to schools by providing assistance and guidance.” The official said the survey will continue till the schools would be reopened for students of classes 1 to 8 on November 1. “Once the schools are reopened, teachers will ensure that all students attend the classes.” Pointing out that the government will implement a special incentive scheme to reduce the number of dropouts, he said financial assistance of Rs 1,500 for students studying in classes 10 and 11 and Rs 2,000 for Class 12 in government and government-aided schools will be deposited in the Tamil Nadu Power Finance and Infrastructure Development Corporation and the amount would be disbursed to the students on completion of their higher secondary education.
Sharing his experience, Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Association President PK Ilamaran, who is also a government high school teacher in Kodungaiyur, said, “It took 10 days to trace a Class 10 student who had dropped out from our school for a job in a workshop.” R Dhandapani, Tamizhaga Tamil Aasiriar Sangam joint secretary and a teacher in a government-aided school in Washermenpet in the city, also said more than 30 students of his institutions dropped out for various reasons. However, he said, the dropouts have been brought back to the school.