DCPCR’s Early Warning System helped 50,000 at-risk students to resume formal education

The Early Warning System, a collaboration between the Directorate of Education (DoE), the Delhi Government and the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Govt. of NCT of Delhi, aims to protect ‘at-risk’ children and bring them back to school. It fundamentally operates on the idea that a substantially low school attendance of a student is the ramification of a circumstantial vulnerability threatening the child’s education and well-being.

While explaining the inception of the Early Warning System, Mr. Anurag Kundu, Former Chairperson, DCPCR, stated :
“We looked at children who had missed school for 7 consecutive days, or whose attendance had dipped below 33% in the preceding month – nearly half of them were absent because of serious sickness or injury; 1,945 children had lost a family member; 51 girl students were married off; 50 children dropped out because of corporal punishment; 6,943 children bunked schools; and 46 children were just missing altogether, with the police now trying to find them. Peer pressure, substance abuse, or shame or fear of attending school may also have been a contributing factor for low attendance. This led the Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) to launch a large-scale intervention to track children’s attendance, intervene to provide them with the necessary support, and bring them back to schools.”

The Early Warning System in Delhi was launched in March, 2022 across 1,046 Delhi Government Schools comprising nearly 19 lakh students, to help schools create robust mechanisms to ensure child safety and development. Till date, 5,39,963 children have been identified as students at the risk of drop-out. With the interventions undertaken as a part of the project, 50,000 children have been brought back to school.

The project uses the attendance of children in school as a key indicator and leverages technology on this data point in predicting students’ adversity and enabling timely remedial interventions for the same.

Students who are absent for 7 consecutive days and/or for more than 67% working days in the last 30 days are deemed at-risk, automatically identified, and reached out via SMSs and pre-recorded calls. Categories of high-risk students typically include children forced into child labour, children getting married, children inflicted with sexual harrasment or physical abuse, trafficked children, children in need of urgent medical care, etc.

A dedicated team of call centre operators call the parents/guardians of the long absentee students to identify reasons for their absence and undertake the required interventions to bring these children back to school.

In most of the cases, the reasons for absence are either due to compromised child well-being or serious child rights violations. The DCPCR actively registers these grievances and undertakes action to provide relief to these children as early as possible and bring them back to school.

In case the student is untraceable through a call, a dedicated cadre of parents called ‘School Mitras’, the emergency response team of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights and CSOs like Save the Children, LIFI and Samagra Shiksha undertake field visits to trace the child. Support is then provided to the child as per requirement.

The project thus leverages technology and deploys a combination of automatic and manual interventions to identify children at risk, file grievances with the Commission’s helpline, track the children’s attendance on a daily basis, auto-generate SMSes and pre-recorded calls at multiple levels of intervention, conduct repeated call attempts and follow-ups with each child. All possible efforts are undertaken to bring each child back to school.

One of the success stories of the Early Warning System is ‘A missing complaint was filed on 29th November 2022 in the case of a 14 year old boy. The DCPCR intervened in the case within 24 hours. The SHO of the nearest police station to the child’s residence was notified and the search for the missing child was initiated immediately. By 2nd December 2022, the child was found and reunited with his family due to the efforts of the SHO. It came to light that the boy had run away from home due to a dispute with his parents. The DCPCR as well as the class teacher are in regular contact with the family to ensure the child’s regular attendance.’

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.