India: It is back to school for migrant, Adivasi children


The Hindu, May 31, 2018 23:42 IST


SSA aims at educating people from marginalised sections; more to be enrolled in phase-II of campaign

Nearly 102 migrant and Adivasi children will enter schools across Ernakulam on Friday, thanks to a unique drive by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to bring back out-of-school children and dropouts to campuses in the new academic year.

“These children, aged between seven and 14, were identified as part of the SSA’s initiative to ensure education for those belonging to the marginalised sections. We hope to enrol more such children in the second phase of the campaign beginning on June 11,” said Sajoy George, district project officer, SSA.

With the addition of new entrants, the number of migrant and Adivasi students enrolled in schools in the district is expected to cross 2,750. Mr. George added that most of the 102 children identified over the last one week of the SSA campaign belonged to Perumbavoor, Aluva, Kolencherry, Mattancherry, and Koovapadi. “A household survey, visit to tribal hamlets, and a mass run were held as part of the campaign that began on May 26,” he said.

Vidhya volunteer

The SSA has deployed one Vidhya volunteer for 10 migrant children each in 18 schools in the district. Volunteers have also been working in tribal hamlets like Kuttampuzha and Vengoor. The Vidhya volunteers take special care of the educational needs of migrant children. These 18 special training centres were opened last year to offer training to migrant children in their native languages and to bring them into the mainstream. These special centres, with volunteers, are attached to schools. They are also provided with classrooms, toilets, and drinking water.

Special classes titled Shyam Ka Milan have been organised for migrant parents. Classes on cleanliness and anti-drug campaign were also held as part of the drive. Parents were trained on the Right to Education Act and child labour. Most migrant children identified belonged to West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Assam, and Tamil Nadu.

Mr. George pointed out that the SSA conducts Rangoli, a district-level arts fest, aimed at nurturing the talents of migrant children. Studies showed that migrant children could not pursue their studies properly as their parents used to move from one place to another in search of jobs.

The survey, covering all the 111 educational clusters in the district, found that most street children belonged to broken families. They were found along with their migrant parents who lived in tents set up at public places. There were also instances of children being physically and mentally tortured by their parents and other family members, ultimately forcing them to leave their homes.