Anti-child marriage drive dents school dropouts by 80%

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Anti-child marriage drive dents school dropouts by 80%

Sunday, 18 September 2022 | SRIKUMAR MAHANTA | SONEPUR

Because of marriage and issues related to early pregnancy, many girls in Subarnapur district are dropping out of school. And the sad part is regardless of knowing the importance of education, these girls are mostly forced into marriage by their parents.


To prevent such cases, District Magistrate of Subarnapur, Aboli Naravane, has started an initiative called the ‘Mission Zero Dropout’. The initiative was launched mainly to make the students as well as their parents aware about the importance of education and to prevent child marriages and teenage pregnancy cases in the district.


Naravane said many combined efforts have been made to prevent child marriages in Subarnapur and the results have been good, bringing cases down comparatively. "However, we saw an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies which was caused by informal arrangement of keeping the girl child at the in-laws' house without even getting her married. This majorly caused girls to drop out of school and colleges. Hence, from this academic year, we launched ‘Mission Zero Dropout’ to enrol the dropouts back in school and prevent cases of child marriages," the Collector said.


The first one is by enrolling the girl students back in their schools. There have been cases of girls dropping out twice from the same class. Anywhere else, such candidates are not allowed to enrol back. However, special arrangements have been made in Subarnapur district where girls are allowed to do so. Also, the DM mentioned that the girls who enroll back are given special assistance by the teachers, where they are not sidelined and given a chance to pick up from where they left.


Naravane said for the girls who clear the 10th standard and do not get enrolled in colleges, a special arrangement of enrolling them in Industrial Training Institute (ITI) has been made. Through the initiative, the ITIs have become one of the best performers in the State. "We are also helping students with poor financial backgrounds in getting admission in good colleges across the State. The second way of stopping child marriages is by creating a special intelligence network of anganwadi workers and other people to stop child marriages immediately as and when the information comes. Counselling sessions are held in the cases of girls running away from home. Girls are even rescued after getting married with the help of the court. Parents of these girls are also counselled so that they don’t put any pressure on their child to get married early," said Aboli.


The ‘Mission Zero Dropout’ initiative was launched in this academic year, and till now, almost 80 percent of the dropout girls have enrolled back in school. Earlier, from 800 cases of dropout, the number was brought down to 200, she informed.


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