Elementary and middle-level schools across Tamil Nadu were closed for the last one and a half years due to the threat of the virus.
The School Education Department conducted door-to-door surveys across the State involving more than 50,000 teachers to identify school dropouts, especially from State-run institutions.
A senior official from the School Education Department said that a detailed list of the students, who did not respond to the school communication during the lockdown period, were 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 most of the students were shifted either to their residence or locally employed", he pointed out.
Stating that till now 1.28 lakh students were found to have been dropped out of the schools, the official said, "With the help of the teachers and local bodies, all of them were reinstated immediately by providing all assistance and guidance".
The official said that the survey would continue till the reopening of schools for the students from Class 1 to Class 8 from November 1. "Once the schools were reopened, teachers will also ensure that as per the admission list, all the students attend the classes," he added.
Pointing out that the government immediately implement a special incentive scheme to reduce the dropouts, he said financial assistance of Rs 1,500 for students studying in Classes 10 and 11 and Rs 2,000 for students studying in Class 12 in government and government-aided schools will be soon 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 own experience, Tamil Nadu Teachers Association President P K Ilamaran, who is also a government high school teacher Kodangiyur near the city, said, "It took ten days to trace a Class 10 student, who had dropped out from our school and helping their parents by taking a job in a workshop after shifting the residence".
Tamizhaga Tamil Aasiriar Sangam, joint secretary R Dhandapani, a teacher in a government-aided school in Washermanpet in the city, also said that more than 30 students of his institutions were dropped for various reasons. However, he said the dropouts have been brought back to the school stream.