Sonia voices concern over high school drop-out rate

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Abhinav Pandey

Rae Bareli, Feb 4 (PTI) Voicing concern over highschool dropout rate, especially among children belonging toweaker sections and minorities, Congress chief Sonia Gandhitoday said the government is committed to ensure that not asingle child is deprived of education due to lack of money.

"Despite government giving scholarships and freecoaching facility, percentage of children dropping out ofschools, specially those coming from weaker section andminorities in still high," Gandhi said while addressing afunction in her constituency after laying the foundation stoneof a sports complex at Jawahar Navodaya school in Maharajganj.

Though government is making efforts, she said,political workers, NGOs and public representatives shouldpublicise the schemes of the government so that those beingdeprived due to lack of information could be benefited.

She said that besides primary education, the UPAgovernment has taken important steps to promote secondaryeducation.

"It has been decided to set up a model school in eachblock across the country and in Uttar Pradesh, 148 schoolshave been sanctioned," the UPA chairperson said.

She said that Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan hasbeen launched under which financial assistance will be givento secondary schools as well.

"It is the commitment of the UPA government that nota single child is deprived of education due to lack of money,"she said.

Sonia said that to promote sports among schoolchildren, the UPA government has decided to construct sportscomplex in all Jawahar navodaya schools in the country.

"The foundation of the first sports complex is beinglaid in ''karmbhoomi'' of Indiraji," she said.

She said that 70 per cent of the population lives invillages and children of poor families were deprived oneducation as they were unable to pay the fees.

The Congress president said that to ensure free andcompulsory education to all children in the age-group of 6 to14 years, Right to Education Act has been implemented.

"To successfully implement the RTE a provision of Rs2.25 lakh crore fund has been made and full cooperation isbeing given to the states. As compared to last year, 75 percent more fund has been allocated to UP and Rs 7,000 crore hasbeen sanctioned," she said.

"Rajiv Gandhiji, who created the vision of 21 centuryIndia, was not only concerned about the all round developmentof the country, but also considered ensuring education tobackward and poor as his prime responsibility," she said.

She said that the idea conceptualised by Rajiv tookshape in form of Jawahar Navodaya schools and at present therewere 600 schools with more than two lakh students.

"Majority of these children are from the backward andpoor section of the society," she said.

The Congress president also felicitated Asian Gamesgold medallist athlete Sudha Singh by presenting a cheque ofRs 11 lakh.

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