Statistics of child labourers not available

Website of Labour Department has not been updated since 2001

Statistics of child labourers not available

Till date, there are no proper statistics available to establish the total number of child labourers and school drop outs in the State, said, Niranjan Aradhya, educationist, National Law College.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Situation of children’ at a workshop on ‘Collective responsibility in eliminating child labour practice’ by Rural Education and Health Institute (RLHP), here, on Thursday, he said that the census data on child labour provided by the State government and the Centre, revealed different numbers and “unscientific aspects”.

Considering the scenario of the State from 2010, (the year the Right to Education (RTE) Act was implemented), as many as 1.11 lakh students had discontinued their schooling in the year 2009-10, according to the Education department. However, the census data provided by the Economic Survey of India pegged the numbers at 19,400.

“Another report said that there were 35,000 drop outs in the year,” he said.    
In the year 2010-11, ESI stated that there were 34,121 drop outs, while the numbers of the Education department was over one lakh.

In a gradual increase in numbers of both the surveys, in the year 2011-12, ESI said that there were 1.14 lakh drop outs, while Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan said that only 36,000 children were out of schools, he said.

Pointing out that the Labour department, which acts as a nodal agency in weeding out child labour, is still quoting the numbers of the 2001 census. The department’s website which has not been updated since then, states that there are eight lakh children out of school, of which, 7,000 children were in hazardous conditions and 34,000 in non-hazardous condition.

He said that the lack of clarity in identifying the total number of school drop outs was in itself the “biggest threat” in eliminating the child labour. Effective implementation of RTE was imperative.

He also said that the State government was spending around Rs 60 crore for implementation of RTE annually, but it was unfortunate that the government schools had not been upgraded.

Basic amenities

Aradhya said that a report related to basic amenities in schools states that there should be six basic amenities in schools compulsorily - school building, safe drinking water, separate toilets for boys and girls, ramps for physically challenged, boundary wall and separate room for headteacher.

However, out of 69,830 schools in the State, only 7,111 schools have all the six indices. He said that school environment and quality education played a major role in holding a child’s interest in education.

He said that the country had eight types of education including State, CBSE, ICSE and schools associated with International varsities.

 This hindered the objective of RTE Act. A child could be deprived of justice and its right, he added.

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