Floods interrupt children's future in North Karnataka

Deluge, official apathy have led to lakh-plus children leaving schools

Floods interrupt children's future in North Karnataka

The floods and its effects forced thousands of people to leave their houses suddenly. This also interrupted children’s education.  The latest study conducted by the Department of Public Instruction shows that the highest number of students who dropped out of schools and those who never enrolled are in the flood-affected areas.

As many as 1.11 lakh children remained out of schools in the State in 2009-10. Of them, over 67 per cent were from North Karnataka districts. When the rain and floods wrought havoc in October 2009, schools in north Karnataka schools were closed for mid-term vacations.  Along with houses, school buildings were flooded. School children and teaching staff lost valuable records and text books in the rain water.

Asha Kirana

The government launched a programme named Asha Kirana, to look after basic needs of children affected in the floods. They were provided with shelter and food in make-shift sheds. The schools were scheduled to reopen in the last week of October. But school buildings in worst-hit areas were not in a condition to conduct classes. The government made alternative arrangements in nearby schools and other government buildings. However, the efforts did not result in continuing children’s attachment to schools.

Migration of poor people is one more reason for children not attending schools.
Raichur, the worst flood-hit district, recorded the highest number of children in age group 7-13 remaining out of school. The figure stands at 9,119. With two rivers coursing through it, the district bore the brunt of the floods. The government has identified 46 villages in the district for relocation that would involve shifting of schools as well.

The government is conducting the programme, ‘Chinnara Angala’ to bring back such children to schools. Under the programme, children are taught basic language skills and efforts mental ability.

Performance-based

A common syllabus has been prepared for children of the age group 7-13. They will be given admission in the next academic year considering their performance in the programme.

In Raichur alone, the district administration is operating the programme in 201 schools. Children are provided with residential facility at 67 centres. The government spends Rs 1,000 each on every child for the three-month programme. The amount is Rs 2,500 per child where residential facility is provided.

Jubeda Begum, headmistress of the government primary school in Talamari in Raichur district said 25 school dropouts were identified in the village during the children census. Around 15 of them were attending the Chinnara Angala programme.

Schools in sheds

Hundreds of children completed their academic year 2009-10 in tin sheds. Construction of school buildings undertaken by several donors is yet to begin. The tin sheds are likely to be the classrooms for the children for another year, if not more.

School buildings suffered maximum damage in Chintamanadoddi of Sindhanur taluk and Chikkamanchali in Raichur taluk. Children of the villages attended classes in temporary sheds, which are virtual ovens in summer. Needless to say, the burning heat in the sheds are likely to affect both their studies and their health.

Dr Himanshu, head of Karnataka Medical Research Foundation in Bangalore, says the excess heat in sheds first affects concentration of children in classroom. Even teachers cannot concentrate on their job. The climate often make they suffer from dehydration leading to other serious health complications. Himanshu travelled flood-hit areas and conducted medical camps for the flood-affected.

“Most of the children have not yet come out of trauma they underwent during the floods. Their parents and elders at home ran helter-skelter when floods-hit. Memories of those days will haunt them for long. Making them concentrate on studies is a difficult task”, he said.

In relocated schools, children feel alienated. Further, children would not get nutritious food because of displacement from their villages, with serious implications for the growth of children below five years of age.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)