In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant children, who did not have consistent access to schools anyway, were completely deprived of any kind of education for a considerable length of time. Once physical schools reopened, there were minimal or no efforts made to address student learning that would have been impacted significantly.
In a consultation organised by the National Coalition on Education Emergency, Aide et Action and Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) on August 17, 2022, a charter of recommendations was pieced together. As organisations that have been working with migrant children for several decades, participating organisations proposed pragmatic solutions that states and the central government can implement.
- Integrated migrant children development policy at the national level
- State and national level data on migration patterns/state of education of migrant children
- Collaborations between state governments on migrant policies
- Deeper industry/private sector involvement in creating access to quality education for children
- Evolving a nuanced curriculum for migrant children
“The education emergency in the country is more urgent today than it ever was. Migrant children are among the most affected by this. It is time for concerted action on various fronts to ensure these children are able to access quality education wherever they go,” Sajitha Bashir, NCEE said.
“While the national education policy identifies children of migrant workers as a disadvantaged group in terms of access to education, not much has been done in India to address their challenges. With the COVID pandemic compounding the challenges, concerted efforts are needed to ensure that children of migrant workers are not denied their right to education.” Benoy Peter, Executive Director, Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development said.
“Migrant children are vulnerable to other challenges including physical and verbal abuse, lack of access to safe spaces, may be forced into labour, etc, apart from missing out on education. There is an immediate need for comprehensive policies that address issues of migrant children and families holistically,” Umi Daniel, Director, Migration and Education, Aide et Action said.