Starting next week, ten old buses from the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) fleet that have been repurposed into mobile schools will start going to different zones in the city to conduct bridge classes for out-of-school children.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has already assigned one bright yellow bus per zone. The two extra buses will be deputed to zones that have a higher number of children not in school, said senior BBMP officials.
The civic body took up this initiative following specific directions of the High Court of Karnataka to identify out-of-school children, and conduct bridge courses to bring them back to the mainstream. According to a senior civic official, the BBMP has also re-assigned teachers from its day-care centres for this purpose.
As per the current plan, each bus will have four teachers, who will be assisted by a helper (ayah). All the teaching materials and teaching aids have been provided. “The zonal joint commissioners are in the process of identifying locations where the mobile schools can be parked. The location should also be chosen keeping in mind accessibility for the identified children, who are mostly residents of slums and settlements of migrant workers,” the official said.
The mobile schools will function under the supervision of zonal joint commissioners, and will cater to children in Class I and above. “Many of the children may have never stepped into a school. It is for such children that we have chosen teachers from day-care centres, who will be able to help them in an age-appropriate manner,” the official said and added that drivers for all the 10 buses had also been appointed.
The first bus has already been sent to Rajarajeshwarinagar zone. “The other buses will be sent to the respective zones on Tuesday. Their locations will also be finalised next week,” the official claimed.
Survey of children begging or hawking
Meanwhile, as per the directions of the High Court, the civic body is also conducting a survey of children found begging or hawking in the city. It has tied up with several non-governmental organisations for the survey, which, according to officials, is likely to be completed by the end of November.
The Centre for e-governance had developed a software to capture data from the city-wide survey. “We hoped to complete the survey sooner. While more than 75% has been completed in most zones, there were some hiccups in Yelahanka zone. The same has now been sorted out. We will complete the survey by the month-end,” an official stated.