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Number of out-of-school children goes down to 17 lakh

New Delhi: India now has 17.24 lakh out-of-school children, compared to 81.5 lakh in 2009, and an amount of Rs.339.97 crore has been sanctioned for special training centres for such children, parliament was informed Monday.

The figure of 17.24 lakh came after a survey conducted by states and union territories in their Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B), and which was submitted to the human resource development ministry.

"Earlier, the government had commissioned two independent surveys to estimate the number of out-of-school children in the country in 2005 and 2009 which shows a decline in the number from 134.6 lakh in 2005 to 81.5 lakh in 2009," HRD Minister Smriti Irani said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

As per data shared by the AWP&B, Rajasthan with 2.98 lakh has the maximum children in the out-of-school category, followed by Jharkhand (2.44 lakh), Bihar (1.81 lakh), Karnataka (1.81 lakh), Haryana (0.92 lakh) and Assam (0.88 lakh).

"An amount of Rs.339.97 crore has been sanctioned to states and union territories under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan programme, for providing special training centres for such children to impart flexible bridge courses, to enable them to get into mainstream schools, subsequently," Irani said.

The minister also pointed out that in accordance with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed all schools affiliated to it (CBSE) that they shall admit children belonging to weaker sections and disadvantaged groups in the neighborhood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion.

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