Seminar on Who are the Out-Of-School-Children? A Pilot Study from Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan
Kiran Bhatty, Paras Banjara, Radhika Saraf, Vrinda Gupta
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
3:30 pm
Conference Room, Centre for Policy Research

The numbers of out-of-school children (OOSC) put out by various official sources in India, show wide variations. For instance, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) survey by Social and Rural Research Institute – Indian Market Research Bureau (SRI-IMRB) estimate of this figure is around 6 million, while for the same year 2014, the National Sample Survey (NSS) figure is around 20 million. The problems lie not just in the definitions of OOSC used by each data collector but also in their methods of estimation and the systems of collecting and collating data.  In particular, this calls for a closer look at the attendance patterns of children with special emphasis on sporadic or irregular attendance. With learning outcomes dominating the policy discourse on education, unpacking the links between attendance and learning thus becomes important. This pilot study of out-of-school children was thus undertaken through an intensive micro-study of all children in a single Panchayat in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan in order to delineate 1) OOSC, including drop out rates by gender, social category and household factors 2) decipher the attendance patterns and the extent to which the official definition of drop out of children provides a deviation from actual attendance and 3) factors contributing to low attendance and thus to the numbers of OOSC. The study hopes to raise important questions regarding the definition of out of school children and methods of estimation that only improve the quality of data but also address the larger issue of irregular attendance.