Many parents were eager to send their children to school
The Udupi Zilla Panchayat and the departments of Social Welfare and Public Instruction launched a week-long drive to enrol children of migrant workers to schools in the district, at a migrant workers colony at Balaipade, here on Tuesday.
Most of the workers residing at Balaipade colony are from Davangere district. They belong to Adi Karnataka community, which is a Scheduled Caste. The children of some of these workers had dropped out from the school as they had migrated from Davangere to Udupi.
The efforts of the Department of Social Welfare and Public Instruction saw seven out of 17 children in this colony getting admitted only to the Viveka Primary School at Ajjarkad and the Government Ashram Hostel at Bannanje here.
Migrant workers Chandrappa and Shantamma have four children – Meenakshi, Prithvi, Uday and Ganga. All of them were admitted to the school. Uday, Meenakshi, and Prithvi to class 2 and Ganga to class 1.
Ganesha, son of Prakash and Hema, was admitted to class 3. Kalamamma and Hanumanta, children of Bheemappa and Ganga, were admitted to class 1.
Some parents were eager to send their children to school and the children were even more enthusiastic. Ms. Shanthamma said that she was unschooled and her husband Chandrappa had studied up to class 4. “I want all my children to study. I have seen the school and I am happy about it,” she said.
Udaya said that he was looking forward to going to school. Meenakshi had oiled her hair and dressed herself to go to school. Prithvi was more enthusiastic. “Though I had gone to school in Davangere, I am eager to go to school here in Udupi for the first time. I will stay at the hostel,” he said.
Vasant Shetty, Block Education Officer, said that essential items such as oil, soap, uniforms, and footwear would be provided to the children.
Zilla panchayat chief executive officer S.A. Prabhakar Sharma said he had directed the officials to admit the children of migrant workers to schools and any government hostel. The officials should not harass the parents for caste certificates. If it was later found that there was any change in the caste of children, they could be shifted to hostels meant for either the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or Backward Classes. Parents of migrant children would be encouraged to see facilities at the hostel and school so that they did not have any apprehension, Mr. Sharma said.
Asked how the remaining 10 children would be persuaded, Mr. Sharma said that their parents were not willing. “But they will get convinced once these seven children start going to school. Persuasion and not force is essential in this matter. We will approach all migrant colonies in the district to enrol students,” he said.
Deputy Director of Public Instruction Nagendra Madhyastha and District Social Welfare Officer Shivalinge Gowda were present.