School admission a far cry for Northeast kids in Mudigere coffee plantations

Aug 29, 2017

MYSURU: Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagaluru district is facing one of the worst humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of children who have arrived in the coffee plantations of the taluk along with their parents from North Eastern parts of the country are now out of school as they do not have any documents to join local schools to continue formal schooling beside language-related barriers.

According to the activists, since the last couple of years, as a solution to the shortage of laborers in the coffee plantations, people from North Eastern states are brought in large numbers to the taluk. These labors who are kept in the Line Houses of the plantations are now facing schooling problem of their children.

According to Kalkuli Vittal Hegde, a social activist from the district, everyone is aware of this crisis. Out of school children are in large numbers in all the coffee plantations. These children are out of school due to several reasons including language issues, no facilities from the plantation owners for schooling etc. Even though Right to Education (RTE) act has been implemented, it is unfortunate that these children are denied schooling, he explained.

“District administration, as well as district police, do,nt have any data related to the large numbers of migrant labors brought to the district from Assam and other states. This has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, he said.

No policy on migrant children ,according to G Nagasimha Rao, coordinator, state child help line (1098), they have received several complaints about denial of education to the children of migrant labors from North Eastern states in the Mudigere and surrounding areas.In the absence of a policy on the education of the migrant children, this problem continued, he said.

No access to the outside world: according to the sources in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), one of the major hurdles to bring these children to the formal schooling is poor access to their families. Most of the parents are not ready to send their kids to the near by schools saying they are staying here for just a few months and continue schooling in their native places. Documentation and language barrier are the other two issues. Adding to this, these labors comes out of the plantations only once or twice in a month. No plantation owner allows any to enter the Line Houses to access the situation, explained an officer from DPI who wished to be unnamed.

When contacted, Mudigere MLA, former minister B B Ningaiah informed that he is aware of the schooling issues faced by the children belonging to the migrant families and children from the north eastern states. Since last one month, we are discussing their issues. Soon we are launching mobile schools exclusively for these children he said.

Numbers of mobile schools will be decided on the children density, he explained.