Kids find it difficult to cope with studies

Prajakta Joshi
Thursday, 10 January 2019

It becomes a challenge for children of migrants to adjust to new environment

PUNE: With their schools, teachers and friends changing almost every four to six months, the children of those migrating to cities and other industrial areas find it difficult to adjust with their classmates and studies. Right from differences in the language, learning and adjustments in new schools become the most challenging tasks for migrant children.

“After we locate these children and persuade their parents to send them to school, we need to spend the first month only to devise a way of communication where we would be able to understand each other,” said Suraj Mohite who works with migrated children in Anantnagar and Rajgad Sugar Factory area in Bhor taluka.

Mohite is a coordinator at IDEA Foundation, NGO which works towards the education and hygiene of the children of migrant labourers who come to work in the Sugar Factory in Bhor taluka for around six months every year from Marathwada, Vidarbha, etc.

The foundation volunteers locate the migrant children, counsel their parents, and try to take them to the Zilla Parishad School nearby, so that they do not face losses in education.

Pointing out that the number of children almost doubles when there is drought, he mentioned that while the number of children was around 20 last year, with more families migrating, this year, the number has gone up to around 40 now.

“We have just managed to get around 25 of them to the school till now, as finding and convincing the older ones to get to school is very challenging. Language being the major issue, many lose interest in school within days as not just learning, but communicating with other students as well as teachers, is difficult. Further, as their schools are changing constantly, the quality of education that they receive is also not up to the mark. Even those in Class III or IV do not have the understanding of a Class I level student sometimes. The struggle of catching up often leads to drop-outs,” Mohite explained.

As Sakal Times had reported earlier, according to a Delhi-based report, it was the students coming from migrant or marginalised families are the ones that face more corporal punishment than the rest of the students. Volunteers from Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), Pune too have confirmed that the the children of labourers and the construction-site workers are the worst affected by corporal punishments, at government-run schools as well, but these almost always goes unreported.

Kshitija Agashe of NGO Niramaya that works for the upliftment of girl students residing in Pune’s slums said although admitted to schools, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the children would attend the school regularly. 

She said, “Although with the clauses in Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009, it is mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children in schools for free, travelling to schools is an issue. Their families have no money to provide for transport facilities to get to school, which is rarely at walking distances and they end up not going to schools.”

Corresponding to this, the report also states that the large scale internal migration leads to the growth of slums and informal settlements, where schools are often scarce. 

Agashe also added that in the company of older children at slums and settlements in the city, there are high chances that the children get attracted towards bad habits and vices. 

“Parents too are not very aware of the educational status of their children as they too are enduring their struggle for survival. In this, just to make a little extra money, the children engage in activities like selling plastic or iron rods, or even anything illegal. Once they get their hand on money, these children do not wish to go back to schools,” she added.

The 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report by UNESCO on the migration scenario in India shows that the scale of seasonal migration has a significant impact on education: 80 per cent of migrant children across seven Indian cities did not have access to education near worksites. Among youths aged 15 to 19 who have grown up in a rural household with seasonal migrants, 28 per cent were identified as illiterate or had an incomplete primary education. The report shows that up to 40 per cent of children from seasonal migrant households are likely to end up in work, rather than school, facing exploitation and abuse

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