Published: 18th April 2022
Welfare of migrant kids in peril in AP as seasonal hostels buckle under apathy, unpaid bills
The state's Education Department was supposed to have set up 30 seasonal hostels in the Kakinada districts. However, only four were set up, which also eventually shut down due to debt
Migrant children in Kakinada district of Andhra Pradesh seem to have nowhere to turn. The Education Department had identified 1,650 migrant children in the three mandals of Tuni, Kotananduru and Pratipattu, among others. Seasonal hostels are set up for the welfare and education of these children between the months of October to April. It is the responsibility of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), with the help of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and NGOs, to ensure the education of these students under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), via funds received from the Central Government. Out of the 30 hostels required to accommodate the 1,650 migrant children, only four were set up. However, even these were closed within three months due to non-payment of bills.
The schools under the programme were to be run by one BEd-qualified teacher and one DEd-qualified teacher. When the Andhra Pradesh government first enlisted the help of the NGOs to maintain these hostels under the DRDA, it paid each hostel Rs 98,000 per month. Allegations have been raised that political influence decided the allocation of the NGOs, after which the responsibility was transferred to self-help groups. However, it has now emerged that these groups, grappling with huge outstanding bills, have shown little interest in maintaining the hostels. A total of Rs 8,21,248 worth of bills are due. The four hostels that were set up will have to pay Rs 11,74,000 for four months at the rate of Rs 2,93,500.
Former East Godavari District Education Officer, S Abraham, said that the bills for the 2020-21 academic year had been sent to the Comprehensive Financial Management System (CFMS). Kakinada's District Education Officer D Subhadra, on the other hand, says that the issue has not yet come to her notice. She added that she would "talk to the staff and inform the higher authorities".