Migrant Children Deserve An Educationby Sudha Samyukta Mutnury
Migration poses a problem in terms of health care, sanitation, livelihoods and, most importantly, education of migrant children. Surrounded by brick industries which provide seasonal employment, migration in Boni Gram Panchayat is high and the children of these migrant families end up paying the price.
The village of Boni is located in the northeastern part of Anandapuram Mandal in the district of Visakhapatnam. The headmaster of Mandal Parishad Secondary School in Boni, Mr Appala Raju, has a vision. In a focus group discussion the PRIA team conducted with the teachers of the school, Mr Appala Raju shared his vision: that one day children of migrant families will also have universal access to education.
He has a proposal that can help achieve this vision. He suggests that all migrant children be issued an enrollment card when they first enroll in the local school, wherever their parents may be living at the time. A basic card, it will carry details of their name, native place, and the date on which they have started their education. When the child leaves this school, because his/her parents are migrating, he/she needs to surrender the books issued to them, but keep the card. In the next village/panchayat where his/her parents have now located, all they need to do is produce this card in that local school and they will get admission. No other paperwork is required! The child gets to continue his/her education in the existing grade without the hassle of getting a transfer certificate and filling in other forms, which often deter migrant parents from continuing with their children’s education.
“This can be a major step towards fulfilling the Right to Education Act,” Mr Raju firmly believes. “Parents will be motivated as procedures are reduced. This will help secure the students’ education. In a class of twenty, if two more kids join, it won’t be a burden on the teacher. But it will be very valuable for that student to be able to continue in school. There might be an increase in the strength of the classes, but isn’t that the whole idea? To get more children into school and provide a fair chance at education?”
A card with basic details – what a simple idea that will solve problems, remove barriers and secure the right to education for migrant children.