Jharkhand ready to roll out Enrolment Drive
By Anupam Srivastava
Ranchi, 24 April 2006: The state of Jharkhand has reduced the number of out-of-school children from 1.3 million in 2000 to .38 million in 2006. The state is in the process of launching a mammoth enrolment drive “School Chalein Hum – Abhiyan 2006”.
A state-level workshop led by Chief Minister Arjun Munda and Human Resource Development Minister Pradeep Yadav was attended by most state ministers and elected representatives, deputy commissioners (heads of districts) and regional commissioners. “We cannot rest till the remaining children come to school,” said Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda at the workshop. The workshop was held to get all the departments involved on the issue of education, as the Chief Minister said, “Education is everyone’s responsibility.” UNICEF supports the government in reaching out to children who are still deprived of education.
The renewed education drive will focus especially on children who have been out of school, who have reached the school-going age, who are going from the primary to middle levels and girls. A pledge was read out by the Chief Minister, and repeated by all present, affirming their commitment in getting children to school.
Addressing the group of bureaucrats and ministers, UNICEF State Representative Bijaya Rajbhandari renewed UNICEF’s commitment to the cause of education and said, “The millennium development goals cannot be met without getting children, especially girls, educated.” He congratulated the Government for its seriousness in bringing children to school. “I hope while we open more schools and appoint more teachers, we also focus on quality, so that education has truly a transforming effect on children’s lives,” he said. Film personality Farooque Shaikh will arrive in Jharkhand on April 24 at UNICEF’s invitation to lend support to the drive.
Jharkhand has made remarkable progress in reducing the number of out-of –school children in the 5-14 age group by bringing them into the fold of education. The measures taken to promote education have resulted in the reduction of out-of-school children from 1.3 million in 2000 to .35 million in 2006. The children who are currently out-of-school are those belonging to socially and economically weak communities and groups, including linguistic and religious minorities, tribal groups living in habitations scattered over hills and forests. Education Secretary Sukhdev Singh said that the education system will reach out to the remotest of areas in the state through a high-profile enrolment drive which will include intensive social mobilization.
As Jharkhand braces for the drive, starting on April 24, large hoardings, education kiosks, children’s rallies, public meetings held by ministers and government officials, gram sabhas (village meetings) are happening everywhere.