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Education for Children of Migrant Labour

Context

  • To realise Azim Premji Foundation’s vision related to equity in education, the Foundation has chosen to focus on disadvantaged and under-served groups of children. Of special concern are children from the large number of migratory families serving the booming construction industry in urban India. A majority of these children do not go to school given the migratory nature of their families and the lack of suitable access to proximate quality schools. As a result, not only are they deprived of education in any form but are also, in a way, forced to seek other kinds of engagement that may not be constructive to their development.
  • Despite recognition of the presence of such children and some provision to address their educational needs through tent schools etc., Governmental efforts have been minimal in this space, raising the significance of this project.
  • There are several issues involved in the education of such children ranging from their possible multilingual composition to a varied profile in terms of exposure to any kind of schooling, the temporariness of their habitation etc.

Concept and Objectives

  • Explore and experiment to understand what it takes to meet the development and educational needs of disadvantaged children.
  • Develop a curriculum, pedagogy and education process most suitable to children that constitute a heterogeneous group necessitating a package that meets multilingual, multicultural and multisocial requirements for the aforementioned profile.
  • Evolve multi-grade and multi-level teaching learning methods / practices for children who are exposed to formal education for a varying degree of uncertain duration.
  • Build a replicable and sustainable model of quality education for children of the aforementioned profile to enable them to join the mainstream.

Assumptions

  • That the migratory character of the children’s profile requires a different (non-traditional) approach to meeting their educational needs.
  • That this intervention necessarily requires a holistic approach towards the development of such children including health and nutritional components.
  • That the major stakeholder in this project is the builder/developer of the site who is also the employer of the parents of the disadvantaged children.

Process

  • Azim Premji Foundation, in partnership with the builder/developer, has set up two experimental school on construction sites for children of labourers employed by the construction industry.
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy is designed to suit the profile and needs of these children.
  • A study is conducted at each identified construction site on the perceptions and expectations of families from education for their children.
  • This intervention attempts to:
    • Provide basic facilities like appropriate classrooms, blackboard, teachers who can meaningfully address the learning requirements of the children, drinking water, toilets and appropriate teaching-learning material at the school.
    • Achieve universal enrolment and attendance of the children of the families employed at the construction site and living in the construction premises.
    • Develop a curricular package to effectively deal with a complex context: multi-grade, multi-level, multi-lingual, and uncertain duration of stay.
    • Use of technology to enhance curricular transaction.
    • Develop child friendly processes and culture.
    • Effectively address the health, hygiene and nutrition needs of children.
    • Motivate families of the children to send their children to school – fully convinced that what is happening in the school is in the interest of their children.
    • Involve parents in the various activities of the school.

Partnership and responsibilities

  • Builder/Site Developer
    • Infrastructure:
      • Well-lit, well-ventilated all-weather proof classrooms in the ratio of 1 room (20 x 15 approximately) to every 25 children with proper flooring
      • A separate room for a crèche for younger children with proper flooring
      • Toilets (separate for girls and boys), drinking water facilities
      • Provision to fetch food for the children from approved sources
      • A fenced school compound with a play area and a small garden
      • Blackboards, sports, music equipment
      • Space for the Mobile Computer-Aided Learning Centre along with electricity connections for the same
    • Furniture for the school (desks, chairs, floor mats, tables)
    • Teaching learning material, school bags, uniforms etc.
    • Security for the school along with maintenance of the infrastructure
    • Costs related to health, nutrition and hygiene
    • Approvals from concerned authorities
  • Azim Premji Foundation
    • Overall project leadership
    • Teaching learning processes
    • Developing curriculum appropriate to the given profile of children
    • Managing the mobile Computer Aided Learning unit to augment the pedagogical effort
    • Providing teachers and resource persons as required
    • Teacher development and empowerment
    • Providing exposure to children for Computer Aided Learning
    • Program monitoring, documentation
    • Research
    • Dissemination of the information related to progress and outcomes
    • Sharing costs of nutrition, health and hygiene as required
    • Entering into partnerships and finding partners to successfully implement the program
    • Advocacy with the Government for institutionalization and with other builders to scale the program at their sites