Friday, February 14, 2014

Employers must school kids

After survey of such children, education dept will make it mandatory for employers to send them to school

Employing children between the ages of six and 16 may turn out to counter-productive as new rules proposed by the state education department will make it mandatory for employers to send the children to school or face legal action.

A survey of such children will be conducted in two phases, November 6-7 and November 13-17. Sources in the education department said a comprehensive methodology will be put in place to make it mandatory for employers to send these children to school.

"The education department doesn't have the exact number of drop-outs or out-of-school children," an official told Bangalore Mirror. "Hence, the survey to spot such children who could be employed in commercial outlets, eateries, households or small industries," he added.

The state wing of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan will conduct a cohort study on school drop-outs, wherein the existing figures of drop-outs by the DIES (District Information on Education system) for 2011-2012 for students from class one to seven will be compared at two stages. In the round on November 6-7, schools will be surveyed and information on such students will be collated. Then, in the November 13-17 round, staff of the education department will collate information on students between the ages of six and 16 through a door-to-door survey of businesses, households and other places where these children are found at work.

Four thousand educational clusters, of which 70 per cent are 'vulnerable' and 30 percent are 'non-vulnerable', will be studied.

On completion of the survey and the cohort analysis to arrive at the exact number of out-of-school children, the state education department will propose the new rule wherein those employing such children will be obliged to send them to school, failing which they will face legal action.

"After RTE came into existence, primary education or elementary education is the right of every child. Hence, the survey to arrive at a precise figure of out-of-school children. Subsequently, a comprehensive methodology on their education will be drafted and sent to the government," Subodh Yadav, state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, told Bangalore Mirror.


On the issue of a conflict between the existing labour laws and the state education department's proposed rule for employers of underage children, V P Niranjan Aradhya, fellow at the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, said, "The issue arises between the RTE and the child labour laws. However, there are discussions at the national level on extending RTE both downward and upward -- downward till the age of three and upward till 16. If the state wants, it can issue directions to shops and establishments in this regard; no contradiction arises between the two laws. "

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