Nearly a lakh of boys and girls dropped out or did not get enrolled in schools in the past four years in Meghalaya, School Education and Literacy Minister Deborah C. Marak said on Monday.
"There are many factors and reasons for the drop-outs which include economic condition of the rural masses, poor infrastructure of existing state government schools, lack of access to schools due to small habitations, teacher behaviour and lack of training besides domestic and sibling-care responsibility for girls," the minister told the assembly during Question Hour.
Replying to queries raised by Congress legislator Dikkanchi D. Shira, she said a total of 97,089 students from 11 districts across Meghalaya dropped out or did not get enrolled in schools from 2013 to 2107.
As per analyses, the drop-out rate was higher among boys than girls besides boys' drop-out rate was more in rural areas than urban areas, she said.
Shocked with the drop-out rate, legislators from opposition benches asked the government to adopt serious measures to bring the drop-outs back to school, while Independent legislator Saleng Sangma urged the government to terminate the services of those teachers who failed to attend schools.
Opposition United Democratic Party legislator Paul Lyngdoh asked the government to create more vocational institutions to curb the worrisome dropout rates in the state.
While admitting that teachers in the remote areas of Garo Hills refused to attend schools due to militant-threats, Marak, however, said that her department has directed Deputy Commissioners in these affected areas to provide security to teachers.
She said the government was trying, through intervention under SSA scheme, to bring back children to school by setting up 418 special training centres across the state.
"A training module for out-of-school children has been developed and distributed to all children enrolled in the special training centres besides providing mid-day meal programmes. The department is holding household visits awareness programmes in area where the number of dropouts is high," Marak added.
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