The Bihar Education Department has expressed grave concern over poor attendance in some schools, calling for drastic measures, including expulsion of students who remain absent for 15 days at a stretch without proper justification, said officials.
In a recent message issued to all district magistrates, the department’s Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), K K Pathak, has also recommended “tracking” students who study in private schools but have enrolled in government schools to avail benefits of the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme for textbooks and uniforms.
“The number of students attending schools has substantially increased across the state. However, there is still around 10 percent of schools where students’ attendance is still less than 50 per centâæ It is a matter of serious concern. “All concerned District Education Officers are directed to select such five schools in their respective areas and communicate with the parents of absentee students to improve their attendance,” the letter said.
There are 75,309 government schools in Bihar.
Information has also been received about some students residing outside the state, though they are enrolled in government schools in Bihar, it said.
“… And in the case of those students who remain absent for 15 days at a stretch without any justified ground, should be expelled from school. Besides, students studying in government schools must be tracked also. Officials must examine whether students are studying in two schools at the same time,” the communication to the DMs stated. The education department has received complaints that “to take the benefits of DBT schemes”, students have enrolled only in government schools, while they study in private schools, it said. “At the same time, there is information about some students living outside the state (Kota in Rajasthan). Such students must be tracked and their enrolment should be cancelled… The department provides DBT benefits to students of Rs 3,000 crore annually…,” the letter added.
Due to regular inspections, most schools are witnessing an almost full attendance of teachers and students across the state, the officials said.
However, the exercise has also revealed “several deficiencies in school infrastructure”, especially a shortage of classrooms and teachers, they said.