Children of migrant workers remain out of govt purview

Coordination required among govt agencies to enrol them in schools

Children of migrant workers remain out of govt purview

Even as the State government is grappling with the issue of out-of-school children, a large number of children in the City belonging to families of migrant labourers from outside Karnataka, remain out of the government’s purview.

Rehabilitation efforts on the part of activists at the grassroots level often hit a dead end owing to lack of co-ordination among the various government agencies.

While contractors could be held accountable for ensuring schooling to these children in case of migrant workers employed on contractual basis, children from self-employed migrant families are the most vulnerable. They fail to be even identified as part of the official statistics on out-of-school children, City-based activists said. They have sought active participation and support from the Education Department, Women and Child Welfare Department and Labour Departments to tackle the issue.

Explaining the situation, Radha R, member of Bangalore Childline team, said they were trying in vain for more than a fortnight to rehabilitate children of a migrant family’s camp in Kogilu in the outskirts of the City. “The members of this camp make a living from selling ayurvedic medicines. None of their children has ever stepped into a school. The families claimed to be natives of Rajasthan, settled in Maharashtra for the past several years.”

The fact that the State government programmes for migrant children such as tent schools and bridge schools fail to be implemented, has posed a major roadblock for Childline’s rescue and rehabilitation efforts. The only other option for these families was to enrol their children in local government schools. The families were hesitant to send their children to local schools as there was a language barrier.

While the Childline team was willing to help the families rehabilitate the children in their native place, they were unable to take it forward owing to lack of support from government officials. There are several such families in the City that continue to remain out of the government’s purview, Radha added.

‘Awareness needed’
Members of the Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights told Deccan Herald that there was a need for sensitising government departments. “The Labour Department, especially, needs to be motivated to actively take up the issue,” a member of the Commission added.

Kathyayani Chamaraj, executive trustee of the City-based organisation Civic, who has done wide research on out-of-school children, found this to be a deep-rooted problem. The problem needs to be addressed at the Central level. In fact, an amendment to the Right to Education Act itself was needed to handle the issue of migration.

“With increasing urbanisation, migration has become a way of life for many. We need specific provisions to tackle the issue. Respective states have to implement policies for migration. Parents also need to be sensitised that by taking their children along wherever they go, they are not doing them a favour, as the living conditions of these children are highly vulnerable,” she said.

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