Bridge courses to bring 60 lakh kids back to school


The Centre will soon introduce bridge courses to bring lakhs of students who dropped out of school back to mainstream education.

The National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is formulating a module for offering such programmes to children who dropped out at different levels and never came back.

The move initiated by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry assumes significance as over 60 lakh students are still estimated to be out of schools since they moved out of the formal education system. The enrolment figures with the schools, however, have been on the rise each year and is getting closer to achieving the goal of universal primary education.

The bridge courses will be of short-duration and will also be age appropriate. “If a student dropped out of school after Class III and he is now 12 years old, he cannot be enrolled to study with children of Class III. The bridge courses will take care of this aspect and offer a suitable study programme to enable such a student to continue his education from an appropriate level,” an official said.

The ministry has already discussed the issue with the states. At a meeting of the central advisory board on education  last year, a committee was set up to examine the issue and suggest measures to bring such children back to mainstream.

“The bridge course modules will be made available to all the states soon, along with an action plan for bringing such students back to mainstream education,” the official added.
Though the dropout rate has come down over the years, lakhs of such students are still out of the formal schooling system, which continues to be a concern.

Of the 20.41 crore children in the age group of 6-13 years, the highest proportion of out of school children (4.02 %) was recorded from the eastern zone of the country during a nationwide government-sponsored survey conducted in 2014.

Poverty and other economic reason were cited by a majority of the head of the households having an out of school child, according to the survey report submitted to the HRD Ministry last year.

“Child not interested in studies was also frequently cited as a reason for dropping out of school. Disability or poor health was the most common reason for being out of schools among children with special needs,” the survey added.
DH News Service