Migrant children are among the most educationally marginalized in India.
UNICEF Report on Internal Migration and the RTE dated 03-Dec-2012 estimates that there are Approximately 15 Million (1.5 Cr) migrant children in India.
Through the “Every Child Counts- Citizens’ campaign”, it was established that 4500 construction plans for large sites are sanctioned each year by the City Engineer’s office, Pune. Studies carried out estimate that there are migrant families and their children at around 2000 sites. Results of survey done in 2012 show that there are around 4-6 children of school enrolment age (6-7 yrs old) on an average per site .i.e. at least 12000 children across Pune. If we add the number of children of this age group living in other urban migrant communities such as roadside dwellings, unauthorized slums, this number would reach around 15,000.
While working with children from migrant communities and slums in the city, it was observed that daily school transport is a major factor affecting attendance of children and eventually leading to drop-out.
A sample of 600 children admitted from sites (where no NGO works) during June-July 2012 shows that -
- a mere 15% of children are able to attend school without transport or escort;
- 33% of children enrolled could not attend school due to lack of transport;
- even at sites where Door Step School runs Educational Activity Centers, 70% children attending schools need transport support.
The Right to Education Act 2009 mentions provision of free transport or escort for children where schools are beyond a distance of 1.5 kms from residences. Efforts have been made over last few months to urge the Education Department in Pune to make provisions for School transport under the Right to Education Act 2009. However, these efforts have not resulted in any concrete actions from the Government. In fact, the School Board of Pune Municipal Corporation is now appealing to funding agencies for generation of funds for School transport.
Door Step School, through its various programs in Pune and PCMC areas, reaches approximately 10,000 children, 5000 of whom are enrolled in schools every year and require transport facilities.
School transport needs:
- Funding for auto-rickshaw or van payment on monthly basis;
- Local management to monitor safe and timely pick-up and drop; and
- Local escort with the vehicle, for very young children.
The estimated cost of school transport is:
Rs.450/- per child per month
Rs.4,500/- per child per year (considering 10 working months of schools)
Availability of School Transport has a major impact on enrolment and continuation of primary education and therefore requires major funding support from all possible sources.