Bihar kids go to school, thanks to police
Apr 13, 2007 - 8:09:33 AM
Patna, April 13 - Nearly 75,000 poor street children in Bihar have been admitted to government schools in the last three months as part of a novel move by the police.
The initiative, started earlier this year, is part of measures announced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to provide education to the poorest kids as well.
While over 18,500 children were registered in schools in January and February, as many as 52,699 were enrolled in March, according to informed sources in the police headquarters here.
The campaign received overwhelming success in Vaishali district where 19,627 children were sent to school till March 31. Following it were Rohtas -, Sitamarhi - and Lakhisarai district -.
The response to the initiative was poor in districts affected by Maoist violence.
While less than 600 kids were put into schools in Gaya, the figures were even lower in Arwal -, Banka - and Aurangabad -. But over 2,000 children were enrolled in Jehanabad - a strong Maoist base.
'We have been facing difficulties in convincing poor people to let their children go to school in the Maoist-affected areas,' a police official told IANS.
The education drive is seen as a remarkable achievement in a state where an estimated 1.4 million children aged 6-14 are out of school. Bihar's literacy rate is a dismal 47 percent - much below the national average. The school dropout rate is also high.
The police have also made efforts to include children of sex workers in the education initiative. A few days ago, police at Sasaram town in Rohtas district, about 250 km from here, enrolled about 50 sex workers' children in a government school.
Additional Director General of Police Abhyanand said the force would intensify its campaign to send more poor children to schools. 'Our target is big and we will work to fulfil it.'
Abhyanand is also one of the brains behind the Super-30 idea where 30 poor students are given free training, food and shelter to crack the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology - entrance exam.
Last year, 28 of the 30 students selected by him got the IIT exam.
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