Attendance drops by 60% in Telangana government schools

HYDERABAD, Feb 11, 2015

The state education department is concerned over poor attendance at government schools, saying that the attendance is nearly 60% lower than the number of enrollments. 

Education department officials said that surprise checks in various districts revealed empty classrooms with most children employed by their parents in agricultural fields. 

"The difference between enrolment and attendance is very worrying. This gap needs to be addressed immediately," Hyderabad education officer Somi Reddy told TOI. 

A recent study carried out by the District Information System for School Education (DISSE) echoed a similar trend. Figures revealed that enrolment in undivided Andhra Pradesh from Class I to V slipped from 74 lakh in 2005-06 to 72 lakh in 2013-14. 

In Nalgonda, education department officials said that the drastic drop in attendance has been due to the crop season. "Children in government schools help their parents in the fields thus resulting in poor attendance. Efforts are being made to counsel parents so that they send their kids to school," said Vishwanath Rao, Nalgonda education officer. He added that the attendance here has dropped by almost 50%. 

Khammam education officers also shared the same worry. "Since parents cannot afford to hire labour by paying Rs 200 per day, they employ their children in the fields," said Ravindranath Reddy, DEO of Khammam District. 

City activists believe that lack of teachers may also be another reason. The DISSE study revealed that only 21.6% schools at the primary level have a pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 30:1 and only 9.9% schools at the upper primary level have a PTR greater than 35:1. 

"Decline in the pupil-teacher ratio shows lack of teachers for the number of students in schools. The government needs to wake up now," said M Samyukta, an RTE activist. 

Education officials said that surprise checks in various districts revealed empty classrooms with most children employed by their parents in agricultural fields. 

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