50 pc waste pickers’ children have IQ level below standard

Pranita Roy
Friday, 15 September 2017

Nutrition affects cognitive development 

Nutritionist and dietician Dr Geeta Dharmatti said iron deficiency in blood provides less oxygen to the body, which does not reach the brain as well. “Iodine and thyroid play a major role in cognitive development of the brain. These intakes are responsible for keeping your energy, that maintains concentration level and focus,” she said, adding that it is necessary to check the source of calories, proteins and iodine of these children. “Marginalised children generally munch on foods like wada pav, bread products, which are cheap and easily available. These do not produce any good substance for the body,” she said.

Pune: In a workshop conducted by Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) for waste pickers’ children studying in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-run schools, around 50 per cent students were found to be below the standard IQ level of their age.

Around 60 children, in the age group of 7 to 12 years, attended the workshop that included Marathi and Maths learning. Their parents were guided about the child’s development and need to concentrate on education. 

“Many children coming from marginalised backgrounds are deprived of proper nutrition, which affects their brain growth,” said Milind Chauhan, founder of Abhay Abhiyan, that works against corporal punishment on students. 

“Another factor is corporal punishment. Students often shy away from asking doubts, fearing they will be thrashed in return or will be victim to verbal abuse by the teacher. Many of them don’t even open up at home, as they witness domestic violence or receive corporal punishment at home as well. These factors affect a child’s psychology, eventually harming their studies,” said Chauhan.

Change in perception
Chauhan said parents and teachers must change their perception towards a child’s slow learning. “If a child finds difficulty in learning, he/she needs to be guided accordingly, instead of forcing him/her to learn the concept. Also, parents must be alert. If a child complains of physical abuse in school, they should meet the teacher to understand the cause of abuse. Regular teachers and parents meetings will help,” said Chauhan.

Activists working in KKPKP said inappropriate social and home environment also block students’ progress. The parents are mostly illiterate, therefore they don’t get study guidance at home. Wrong peer pressure is another reason.  
Abnormal environment

Child psychiatrist Dr Bhushan Shukla said growing up in an abnormal environment leads to two extreme outcomes, one with a positive impact, another negative. 

“There are several examples where children have battled with odds and stood out as stalwarts in their professions. There are also children who are affected by the violence they are exposed to. Corporal punishment and domestic violence leave a huge impact on a child’s mindset. They might face anxiety issues, low self-esteem, grow up aggressive in nature, affecting their studies and their lifestyle,” said Shukla.

Sakal Times tried to contact the PMC education officer but was unable to get a response.

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