Twenty five NGOs that are under the scanner of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) over 575 ‘missing’ children have challenged the agency’s decision to conduct ‘surprise inspections’ on transit homes run by them.
In an official representation submitted under the banner of the Bangalore NGOs Federation, the groups have questioned the intention of the SSA to conduct inspections on transit centres for urban deprived children (UDC) “just a day before they were asked to close down.”
K Bhima, executive director of the Integrated Project for Development of People, said the groups have challenged the timing of the SSA inspection. “We do not understand why they would inspect us on May 30 when they had asked us to close our centres for UDC before May 31. We were in the process of relocating children to other centres and homes when the SSA officials visited us and found less children,” said Bhima, who is also the convener of the federation.
Last Thursday, officials of the SSA and Education Department made surprise visits to 25 transit homes for urban deprived children in the city and found that 575 children were unaccounted for out of a total enrolment of 1,141.
“Yes, there are some NGOs that could have erred, but the SSA could have sent them notices instead of coming down heavily on all NGOs that are running centres for UDC,” Bhima said.
The NGOs have also approached the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights with the same representation.
According to the NGOs, the children are not actually missing. “We have used our own strategies to relocate children in other homes and some have been sent back with parents,” said a representative from another NGO.
The groups also plan to meet primary and secondary education secretary in this regard.