MYSORE: The rate of school dropouts is high among children from Muslim community in Mysore city. Education officials attribute it to "poverty, illiteracy among parents and local environment". S Chandrapatil, deputy project coordinator at Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), claimed that the north education block has the highest number of dropouts. Here, majority of the students are from Muslim families. As many as 1,338 students studying in Class VI, VII and VIII have quit learning to work as per a joint survey report made by the members of an NGO and the education department. The main cause is said to be "poverty and local environment". The other findings of the report: children stop going to school once they step into teenage and jump to work. Reasons vary depending on individual cases. Some have quit studies to support their families, a few others follow their neighbhours who go to work, and others because of pressure from their parents to work. On turning 13-14 years, they think of working instead continuing education. "Once they start earning, it will be difficult for us to bring them back to school. We are trying our best by roping in the services of NGOs," the official claimed. The dropout rate in SC/ST students is also high in the district. About 26% of 5,921 dropouts belong to SC/ST community. Majority students, belonging to scheduled tribe from HD Kote and Hunsur, don't show interest in studies. Poverty, migration and illiteracy among parents are known causes for scheduled caste students to drop out of schools. Muslim students alone account for 21% of the dropout rate," he claimed. Girl students stop learning because they are forced to work as caretakers of their siblings or to work as domestic help. As per the latest stats, 5,921 students have left schools in the district. Of them, 2,153, including 949 girls, have resumed studies, thanks to the efforts of education authorities and NGOs. "Government has set up Kasturba Gandhi Balika residential schools in five taluks to facilitate dropouts to continue education. At present, 377 have enrolled in those schools," claimed Chandrapatil. Corporator K C Shoukath Pasha said that poverty could be a reason for Muslim boys to discontinue education. "But if the government improves facilities at government schools, the dropout rate will surely come down. Government schools in north education block lack benches and qualified teachers," he added.