Campaign helps reduce dropouts to schools in rural

Rural areas children shunning school for want of basic requirements like toilet and water, an initiative has been taken to provide these facilities.

Bhopal: With children in rural areas shunning school for want of basic requirements like toilet and water, an initiative to make available these facilities has been underway which is helping reduce the number of dropouts.

A senior official of Government Kasturba Girls Middle school said, "We are very happy to see positive developments in the school. The dropout rate, especially the girls, was very high earlier. But now they are attending school regularly and children from other government, private and model schools are also enrolling in our school."

A study indicated that as many as 50 per cent of schools do not have toilets for girls and one in three children drop out by fifth grade while one in two drops out by eighth grade.

A large number of schools in rural and semi-urban areas still lack basic amenities, leading to accelerated student dropout rates in rural areas.

"I like going to school now," says 13-year-old Seema who is enrolled in the Government School, Bilkheriya in the city.

There is a smile on her face as she proudly talks about the new facilities that have been installed in her school. Seema and many other girls never wanted to attend school because of lack of proper sanitation facilities and clean drinking water.

Now, her school not only has separate toilets for boys and girls, but also a library, a sports ground, beautiful plantations and computer facilities.

The `SUPPORT MY SCHOOL` campaign was launched by Coca-Cola India in January, 2011 in association with CAF (an NGO), Sulabh International and UN-Habitat has made school environment conducive for a lot of children like her.

The campaign aims to motivate children to come to school and is creating 100 revitalised schools in the country by dividing them into 14 clusters.

As of last week of May, over 100 schools have been completed in different clusters, which includes eight schools in Bhopal.