20-Nov-2018-40 percent of kids from migrant families do not go to school

November 20, 2018:The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Eighty per cent of migrant children across seven Indian cities did not have access to education near worksites even as 40% of children from seasonal migrant households are likely to end up working rather than being in school, facing exploitation and abuse, according to the Unesco’s 2019 Global Education Monitoring

In the period between 2001 and 2011, inter-state migration rates doubled in India. Further, an estimated 9 million people migrated between states annually from 2011 to 2016. But many people are also moving for seasonal work. In 2013, 10.7 million children aged between 6 and 14 lived in rural households with a family member who was a seasonal worker.

This is particularly common within the construction industry. A survey of 3,000 brick kiln workers in Punjab found that 60% of kiln workers were interstate migrants.
The Unesco report also urges policy makers to strengthen public education for rural migrant children living in slums. The report shows that the scale of seasonal migration has a significant impact on education. Among youth aged 15 to 19 who have grown up in a rural household with a seasonal migrant, 28% identified as illiterate or had an incomplete primary education. India, along with China, is home to some of the world’s largest internal population movements and the report highlights the steps India has taken to address it and challenges that remain. The report will be released on Tuesday.

While warning of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate, the report acknowledges the initiatives that India has taken to respond to the migrants’ education needs. The Right to Education Act in 2009 made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. National-level guidelines were issued, allowing for flexible admission of children, providing transport and volunteers to support with mobile education, create seasonal hostels and aiming to improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states.

The report also notes how Indian states have responded to the issue. Gujarat introduced seasonal boarding schools to provide migrant children with education and collaborated with NGOs to begin online tracking of the children on the move. In Maharashtra, village authorities called upon volunteers to provide after-school psychosocial support to children who had been left behind by migrating parents. Tamil Nadu provides textbooks in other languages to migrant children. Odisha assumed responsibility of seasonal hostels run by NGOs and works with Andhra Pradesh to improve migrant well-being.

However, challenges remain. The report notes that most interventions are focused on keeping children in home communities instead of actively addressing the challenges faced by those who are already on the move. Furthermore, not all initiatives are successful.

Manos Antoninis, director of the report, said: “As the number of people living in and around cities continues to grow, we need to respond to the education needs of those in slums. Without the data, governments will be able to continue ignoring the problem.”

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