The petitioner said steps must be initiated immediately to identify school dropouts.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday sought response from the State government in a public interest litigation petition that sought direction to the State to identify school dropouts and take steps to bring them back to the schools. A comprehensive door-to-door survey must be conducted to prepare a database of such children, the petitioner said.
A Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi ordered the notice to the State in the petition filed by M. Muthuselvam of Madurai. The judges sought a report from the School Education Department on the steps that can be initiated to prevent dropouts and adjourned the hearing till March 5.
The petitioner said steps must be initiated immediately to identify school dropouts. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to the number of students dropping out of schools. Many government school students took up odd jobs during the pandemic to support their families, he said.
Besides, there were other challenges too. Children who had no access to online education, reverse migration, child labour, child marriages, an apprehension among parents to send their children to school in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and a psychological impact on children would contribute to dropping out of schools, he said.
Therefore, the State government must identify such children, conduct a door-to-door survey by involving teachers and coordinators with the help of school managements to prepare data on school going children. Appropriate steps must be taken to prevent the children from dropping out of school and bring them back to schools, the petitioner said.