The latest Child Activity Survey – 2016 Report based on an island-wide survey in 25,000 housing units conducted by the government has revealed that 452,661 children between the ages of five and 17 years were not attending schools.
Accordingly, the number is 9.9% of the total student population.
The survey conducted by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the Department of Census and Statistics at the behest of the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations revealed that among them 51,249 had never been to school.
It is reported that according to the said report, 4,571,442 of the population were between the said age category, out of which 90.1%, amounting to 4,118,781 attend school.
The majority of the latter are from villages (40,394 – 78.82%) and of the 51,249, 4.52%, amounting to 2,329, were from the estate and plantation sector (living with their parents in line room housing), and 21.18%, amounting to 10,885, were from urban areas (living with their parents in shanties and slums).
In the 51,249 figure, 44,619 were between the ages of five and 11 (87.07%), 3,395 were between the ages of 12 and 14 (6.63%) and 3,225 were between the ages of 15 and 17 (6.3%).
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education pointed out that the number of girls dropping out of school education pre-General Certificate of Education, when in Grade/Year Nine and 10, was increasing.
Media Secretary of/to the Minister of Education, Kalpa Gayan Gunarathne said that the Ministry was conducting special programmes including awareness programmes in this regard and also via the provision of facilities attempting to enroll into schools those who were not attending school.
He added that street children and children who came from rural village environments were less inclined towards school based education.
“Some start and stop due to economic and financial difficulties and personal reasons,” he noted. The report further states that children born to parents in areas which for long periods were affected by the war were less enthusiastic about education.