Bridging the Gap: Enabling Education
Access to education remains a major concern, especially for displaced populations. Eighty percent 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 (GEM) report. // Such population movements affect access to and quality of education of migrant children also making them vulnerable to drug addiction, human trafficking and social abuse. The 2009 Right to Education Act is one of India’s multiple national programmes which has made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. However, there are many implementation challenges. Mandatory requirements such as residential proof make it difficult for migrant children to enroll in schools. Those who are more vulnerable because of their gender or disability are even less likely to do so. They also face empathy and mistreatment due to stereotypes about them. Culture, language, lifestyle, cleanliness and clothing are major barriers between the teachers and the migrant community. Very few states, in practice, have proactively facilitated migrant children’s schooling, and only at a small scale where it has. However, a mobile school in India’s National Capital Region with the highest recorded in-migration, has been transforming the lives of migrant children . A mobile van with all the facilities of a school reaches out to their camps on construction sites and facilitates their learning process by also moving to their new abodes as and when their families shift, thereby retaining these children who would have otherwise dropped out. These learners are also certified through the government approved Open Basic Education Programme of the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), enabling them to make an entry into mainstream education. // Paper ID 114
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