In Karnataka, 10.12 lakh students are out of schools and anganwadis, a survey submitted before the High Court on Wednesday said, The Hindu reported.

According to the report, submitted before a division bench by senior advocate KN Phaneendra, 4,54,238 children aged zero to three are not enrolled in schools or anganwadis. Similarly, 5,33,206 children aged between four and six are out of school.

The report also states that 15,338 children aged between six and 14 are not attending school. In the same age bracket, 10,018 children have never enrolled in an educational institution.

The survey was conducted in rural Karnataka in October 2021, and in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and 319 urban local body limits in March 2022, PTI reported.

Phaneendra said these children needed immediate attention, The New Indian Express reported.

“Necessary steps will have to be taken by the state government to ensure primarily that the children in the age of 6-14 years who are either ‘never enrolled’ or ‘have dropped out’ are enrolled to schools and brought back within the schooling system,” Phaneedra said.

Sufficient anganwadi centres should be set up to ensure that children aged between zero and six do not remain devoid of education, he added.

After hearing the submissions on Wednesday, Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice JM Khazi said that a high-powered committee be set to deliberate over the matter, Live Law reported.

The bench also asked the committee to recommend measures to bring back the dropped-out children to classrooms. The committee is led by the chief secretary of the state.

“The high-powered committee constituted by this court shall meet on July 16 and shall consider the issue pertaining to out-of-school children in the entire state of Karnataka and suggest measures to this court to bring the children back to school,” the bench observed.

The court posted the matter for hearing on July 18, Live Law reported. It also granted time to the state government to respond to the survey report.

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