Skip to main content

Covid-19 to 'push out' 20% children from schools, universalisation a distant dream

By Our Representative
The Right to Education (RTE) Forum, in an email alert on the occasion of the World Day Against Child Labour (June 12) has estimated that up to 20% children, are likely to be “pushed out” from the education system resulting in a huge school drop out because of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, leaving “the goal of universalisation of education a distant dream.”
Signed by Ambarish Rai, national convenor, RTE Forum, which claims to network 10,000 organisations and working in 20 states for the implementation of the RTE Act, the statement says that this year’s World Day Against Child Labour was “celebrated” in an unprecedented circumstances in India, which has witnessed “probably the worst phase with thousands of migrant workers and others going back to their natives due to loss of their livelihood and absence of any sustainable resources in the wake of lockdown.”
“The children, particularly from marginalized and disadvantaged sections, including children with disabilities, girls and first generation learners are the worst sufferers. Long-term consequences like increase in child labour, trafficking and child marriage are feared as a result of the loss of access to education and disassociation with schools”, the statement says.
“Dr Ambedkar had said long ago that the right place for our children is school and not workplaces. But the present educational scenario and large figures of child labour shows a gloomy picture altogether. In a report on child labour in India, International Labour Organisation (ILO), has said that nearly 4 per cent of India's child population (5-14 years) is working as child labour (either main worker or marginal worker)”, Rai says.
He adds, “According to ILO, there are about 152 million children engaged in child labour worldwide while in India, according to 2011 census data, 10.1 million children of 5-14 years age group (4.5 million girls and 5.6 million boys) are working as child labour. Further, 2011 census data says 8.4 crore children are out of school.”
The statement further says that the situation even before this pandemic was never good, but now, with the Covid-19 pandemic scenario, “the condition has worsened while we are on the verge of a definite and great economic recession.” It adds, “Certainly, these children are now going to face more difficult circumstances affecting their health, nutrition and education.”
Children between 15-18 years engaged in hazardous work account for 62.8% of the India’s child labour workforce
As for efforts to abolish child labour, Rai says, “No concrete measures were taken to end this evil. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, passed in 2016 prohibiting the engagement of adolescent children in hazardous occupations and processes, is weakened enough by amending the list occupations considered hazardous from 83 to 3 (mining, explosives, and occupations mentioned in the Factory Act) and giving acceptance to work in family enterprises and entertainment industry.”
“Astonishingly”, he regrets, “Data show children between 15-18 years engaged in hazardous work account for 62.8% of the India’s child labour workforce”, underlining, “Engagement in any type of work is depriving these millions of the children not only from their right to education and health but also their right to play, access to leisure and basic freedom for a dignified life. The government should make a concrete roadmap to protect the lives of millions of the children ensuring their rights to life, health and education and to ensure eradication of child labour till 18 years.”
Meanwhile, the RTE Forum has suggested several immediate steps, including “sensitive and empathetic support” to the affected children with greater vigilance and stringent action against the violators of child labour laws; immediate admission/linkage of children of migrant workers in the nearest schools; and instructions to schools to track all enrolled children, especially girls, once normalcy returns to ensure that no child drops out.
At the same time, “steps should be taken for child protection, including identification of children at risk of violence and abuse during the lockdown. Helplines and other child protection measures should be declared essential services and kept open. Child protection committees at district and block levels should be activated to monitor child protection.”
Also, there should be “educational support” to all children so that children continue to learn and build resilience to cope with the current situation” , which would also “address the risks of children falling prey to child labour, trafficking, child marriage and large-scale drop-out from school.”

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.