Published: 01st August 2020
Will migrant children get their due in education after the pandemic subsides?
Also relevant, positive and welcome are governments getting into pre-primary education, as in AP, where on July 20, the MHRD had announced the commencement of LKG and UKG classes in all govt schools
Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future
- Maria Montessori (1870-1952), Italian physician and educator
COVID–19 has led to some collateral changes in the way we function like working-from-home and online teaching and learning. It brought into focus migrant labourers and by extension, the children of migrants and their education. Following the results of various exams conducted recently, the media was continuously covering stories about underprivileged children shining in the exams. So, shining in the educational field is not the birthright of the elite and given the right opportunities, the children of the poor can also shine. It is against this background that the advocacy of migrant children comes into focus. But first, the facts:
Recently, I had highlighted in this column comprehensive educational reform proposals articulated by Sarah Iype, who specialises in education policy at NITI Aayog. Now she, jointly with Sanjana Raiamohan, Education Researcher, has made a comprehensive case for ‘Ensuring Education for Migrant Children’, published in The New Indian Express (22/7/20). I am only quoting one critical aspect here:
"… like the One India One Ration Card or the inter-operable Transport Card, there is tremendous potential to launch a One India One Student Card — a single transferable identity that serves as a storehouse of critical information throughout a child’s life cycle in education, from preschool till work…”
"A digital repository of a child’s schooling/learning information may be consistently captured and maintained. This will prove especially useful for the ICDS centres at arrival points as well as schools and local governments in destination areas, serving as a gateway for requisite inter-state and inter-departmental (education, health, welfare, police, labour, etc) collaboration. Further, it can facilitate effective profiling to understand the nature of migration and tailor suitable solutions. In fact, this measure will help augment efforts such as Karnataka’s ‘Migrated Children and Children of Migrated Daily Wagers Right for Free and Compulsory Education Policy 2019’, which focuses on a student-achievement tracking system."
The idea is pregnant with possibilities. Also relevant, positive and welcome are governments getting into pre-primary education, as in Andhra Pradesh, where on July 20, the Minister for Human Resource Development had announced the commencement of LKG and UKG classes in all government schools from the coming academic year. This would be a great boon for migrant children to start from the bottom. This may also give them the shot that they possibly never had to get a uniform education wherever they go. The question remains: Is it feasible?