Dropout rate high in a Lalitpur school



 Sanchita Ghimire  Lalitpur, May 26 (RSS): Nearly 60 students are found dropping out in a single academic session at Tika Vidyashram Secondary School at Sanepa since some years.

The number of dropouts has increased as mostly those children coming from outer districts who are enrolled at the start of the academic session do not tend to return after they go home during holidays.  The number of school dropouts had even reached 90 nearly three years back.  The number of dropouts reaches anywhere from 50 to 60 by the end of the academic session, said Muna Sharma, a teacher at the school.

Like is the case in other community schools in the Kathmandu valley, the Tika Vidyashram Secondary School has only a very few local students. Most of the students at the school are from families who have temporarily migrated to Kathmandu for seasonal work.  It is said most of the students coming from outside districts and enrolled at the school also work as domestic help in the locality. "The house owners where these students work as domestic help get them enrolled in school, but it is not sure whether they will continue school or not, " the teacher said.

The school also does not have information whether the children who leave the school continue their studies at schools in their home districts. The school inquires one or two times why a certain student did not turn up.  "The house-owners who have kept these children as domestic help also do not know much about the child except that he or she has gone home," said another teacher at the school, Rajya Laxmi Aryal. "We also cannot find out the status of the child when he/she goes to their home districts outside of Kathmandu," she said.

Most of the children working as domestic help land in Kathmandu accompanying their friends as a fad. She said many such children do not return after they go home during Dashain, Tihar and other festivals.  "Many of these children inform us beforehand that they are leaving Kathmandu for home," the teacher said, adding that of them, a majority do not return to Kathmandu because they are not treated well by the house owners and their family members for who they work as domestic helpers.

According to Aryal, most of the children studying in the school are from families of daily wage earners, landless squatters, and laborers. So, the children of these laborers move to another place along with their parents when they move to the new place in search of work.  "Because of this trend also, the dropout rate is high at our school," she said. The dropout rate is higher for the students in the lower classes than the students studying in higher classes.

 Moreover, the dropout rate is higher among the male students than among the female students. The boys who have reached maturity go to India and other countries for employment after dropping out school.  The school now has about 300 students.