THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Children of migrant labourers are at the risk of dropping out of schools after moving back to their home states in the post-lockdown period. It has been estimated that around 10 per cent of the children of guest workers who have enrolled in the schools in Kerala will face difficulties in continuing their education due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Though a survey in 10 states estimated that 46 per cent of wards of migrants discontinued school-based education after the lockdown was announced, Kerala is yet to make such an assessment.Selena Aliyar, who runs a grocery shop at Bengal Colony in Perumbavoor, told TNIE that residents in the colony were mostly footloose migrant workers. “There were a number of migrant families in nearby places who used to buy grocery from my shop. But all these families barring a few have left for their home states,” she said.
There are no official statistics with the state government about the number of children who have discontinued their education. Around 10,000 students of migrant workforce have been studying in the state ever since a project to educate them began in 2008. The Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) believes that around 10 per cent could drop out in the coming months. Also, there is no official data on how many migrant students have access to online education.
A P Kuttikrishnan, state project director, Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), said, “The state government arranged houses and common learning centres for migrant children, but we have not carried out any assessment on those who are still in the state. A proper assessment can be carried out only after the schools reopen. However, the SSA will hold a preliminary assessment in a week,” he promised.
N Ajith Kumar, director of the Kochi-based Centre for Socio-Economic and Environmental Studies, said, “There would be dropouts certainly, but quantifying the rate at this stage would not be accurate. We are hopeful theywould come back once Covid is tamed,” he said.