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Smart city Ahmedabad worst in "educating" migrants' children: None attends pre-school, 37% attend high school

Counterview Desk
A new study involving in six Indian cities – Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Kochi – has revealed that “smart city” Ahmedabad is perhaps the worst when it comes to providing education – whether pre-school, school or college – to the children of poor migrant construction workers.
The coverage of Government of India’s flagship programme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, which was extended to migrant workers’ children in the age group 0-6 in 2011, was found to be a poor 0.9% of households in Ahmedabad, which is equal to zero, as against Kochi, Delhi and Mumbai with around 37%, 30% and 29.1% respectively.
ICDS is the largest outreach programme for children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Operational through Anganwadi Centres, ICDS serves as the first outpost for health, nutrition and early learning services. The centres are manned by an anganwadi workers and an anganwadi helper.
“Households in Kochi, Delhi and Mumbai fared better with around 37%, 30% and 29.1% respectively, covered by ICDS scheme”, the report, prepared by researchers Ajoy Fernandes, Dakshayani Madangopal, Dr Susan Mathew, Hemalatha and Anil Kumar.
Coming to the age group 5 to 9, the study finds that in Ahmedabad, one-fourth of children “were not enrolled in school due to constant migration and need for sibling care”, as against Kochi, which had “the highest enrolment rate for this age group (87.95%). On an average, only three-fifths of the children in this age group attended schools regularly.
Reason attributed for low school enrollment included constant migration of families or lack of company in Ahmedabad, lack of interest in Mumbai, and poor amenities, washrooms and transportation to schools in Delhi
The reason attributed for low school enrollment included “constant migration of families or lack of company” in Ahmedabad, the study says, quoting migrant workers, adding, it was “lack of interest” in Mumbai, and “poor amenities, washrooms and transportation to schools” in Delhi.
As for the age group 10-17, only 37% in of children were found to be enrolled in Ahmedabad, the lowest of all other cities, as against 68% in Delhi and 62% in Bangalore, 110% in Kochi, 82.6% in Pune and 81.4% in Mumbai.
Titled “children of Migrant Construction Workers”, and carried out by the Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai, the research involved 1,246 households – 1,116 households with children in the age-group 0-9, and the rest, 225 households with children aged 11-17.
Published in “2017 Sustainable Development Goal: Agenda 2030”, a collection of articles and papers on how India is faring in different SDGs, released by a network of civil rights organisations, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA), the study notes that “96.5% of migrant construction workers’ households had no access to government health schemes or health coverage.”
Pointing out that “only about 14% of the 1,246 households reported having first aid facilities on site, while about 30% reported having a doctor on call”, the study regrets, “In view of the occupational hazards involved in construction, this hardly seems adequate.” 
36% of children of migrant construction workers were born at home, underscoring the lack of access to institutional delivery. Only in Kochi the incidence of home deliveries was low
The study further says that “about 36% of the children of migrant construction workers were born at home, underscoring the lack of access to institutional delivery”, though adding, “Only in Kochi, the incidence of home deliveries was low, which could be attributed to higher literacy rates among parents and effective delivery of healthcare services.”
The study further finds that “almost 10% of the children did not receive any vaccines”, adding, “Immunization coverage for children below 5 years was seen to be highest in Mumbai at 85% for BCG, DPT and polio vaccines, while in Delhi, it was close to 75%,, which coincided with the high number of reported institutional deliveries among migrant construction workers in this city.”
“The immunisation with regard to hepatitis, which is on the rise in the country, was only about 20% among children of construction workers and could be attributed to the lack of awareness among mothers about the age specific vaccines to be given to children”, the study says.

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