BBMP surveys street kids for School on Wheels project

BBMP surveys street kids for its School on Wheels project

Volunteers are taking a questionnaire to children begging and hawking in Bengaluru

BBMP has bought 10 BMTC buses for its School on Wheels initiative.

The BBMP is launching a campaign to provide education for children on the streets.

“The first step of mapping localities with a high concentration of such children is already underway,” says J Manjunath, special commissioner (administration and  education), BBMP.

The survey will cover signals, toll plazas and markets.
It is being done in collaboration with Karnataka State Legal Services Authority, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Bengaluru police, and the Departments of Social Welfare and Women and Child Welfare.

“We had a meeting at Town Hall with all the volunteers last week. The entire survey should take 25 days, the mapping should be done this week,” says Manjunath. 

Questionnaire

Volunteers have a questionnaire with which they are to elicit information from the children. “It is important for us to gain their confidence so they can speak to us openly,” he says. A large majority of children on the streets may never have been to school.

“We are planning to start a school-on-wheels programme with buses bought from the BMTC,” says a BBMP official. The buses will act as a bridge towards admission to BBMP or government schools in the near future.

“The curriculum for mobile schools is yet to be decided as it depends on the survey data, but we’re hoping to instil the importance of education in children and their parents,” he says. Many children on the streets are from families of migrant labourers from the northern states. “The teachers are well-equipped in various languages of instruction, including Hindi, and we will teach children in a language they are most comfortable in,” he says.

What happens when they move on? “There are Urdu medium schools run by the BBMP and we will place them in such schools, where the teachers can also speak Hindi,” he explains.   

Timeline

The survey project is set to take 25 days, with seven days dedicated to mapping, one day for meeting volunteers, 14 days for data collection and three for the compilation. “Once the data is collected it will not take us much time to begin with the actual schooling,” says a BBMP official. 

Rs 4 lakh a bus

No fee is charged for children admitted to the BBMP mobile schools. The BBMP is buying buses from BMTC and refurbishing them at a cost of Rs 4 lakh each. “We are currently aiming for 10 buses,” says a BBMP official. The teachers and others involved in the project are already on the payroll of the government, he says.