Odisha teachers oppose guidelines on dropout counselling

Bhubaneswar, Dec 31 (IANS) A day after the Odisha government directed teachers to counsel children to curb the state’s dropout rate, the teachers Wednesday said the government should first focus on providing quality education to the students.

The government has asked the teachers to visit the students’ houses in order to bring down the dropout rate in high schools. The teachers said that the government should also fill up the vacant posts in schools.
“It would not be possible to visit the houses of absentees leaving the classroom. There are large number of vacant posts of teachers in the state, the government should focus on filling up these posts to provide quality education,” said Pratap Mohanty, general secretary of Odisha State Teachers Association.
He said that unless the socio-economic condition of people is addressed, the dropout rate of students would not be curbed.
The state government Tuesday issued a set of guidelines to curb dropout rate in high schools in the state.
It has decided to engage teachers to counsel the parents and children by visiting their houses.
According to a notification of school and mass education department, if a child remains absent continuously for seven days without prior notice, the concerned class teacher of the school shall go to the child’s house, interact with the parents and counsel the child to attend school.
In case of ten days’ continuous absence, the concerned headmaster of the school shall have to make a visit to the parent’s house and if a child still does not come to school for a period of 15 days, the school management committee members or local panchayat functionary will go to the parents.
According to an official of the department, the dropout rate in high schools in Odisha is 16.49 percent while for girls’ it’s 14.61 percent.
Of the total girl students dropping out at the high school level, 16.34 percent were the Scheduled Caste girls and 19.02 percent belong to the Scheduled Tribes community.
The state government has identified 13 reasons for dropouts from primary level to high school level. These include distance between residence and school, household work, physical deficiencies, poverty, lack of interest of parents and adolescent problems.
“The reasons may vary from the socio-economic backgrounds to child labour to unfriendly environment in the schools, but we have to be sensitive to the problems faced by the children and they should be supported at the time of duress/trauma and stress,” said the guidelines.