Education eludes 43 pc slum kids: Survey
Apratim Mukarji
(New Delhi, December 17)

ABOUT 43 PER cent of slum children in the Capital are educationally deprived. It is quite a sobering fact when the nation will soon make education a fundamental right for its citizens.

While the Group of Ministers takes up the draft 83rd Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2000 shortly for consideration before placing it in the Budget session of Parliament, the findings of a survey of the education status of Delhi's slum children make shameful reading.

The survey of over 75,000 slum children, carried out by the Dilli Bal Adhikar Manch, a non-governmental organisation, reveals their enrolment at a poor 57.06 per cent, well below the national average of 71 per cent.

Of the over 75,000 children, only 7,349 were enrolled in the pre-primary schools, a little over 28,000 in government-run schools, 1,834 in non-formal education centres run by NGOs and 5,291 in other educational institutions (mostly privately-run schools).

About 43 per cent of the children surveyed were found to have been educationally deprived and only 28,389 or 6.23 per cent of the children were in formal schools.

Among the 75,000 children surveyed were 3,360 or 4.5 per cent of the total number who were child labourers who were totally deprived of education precisely they were employed. The majority of girls in this category were working as domestic servants.

It was only to be expected that the disabled among the shockingly deprived children surveyed scarcely enjoyed the luxury of education. The survey found that only 30 per cent of the disabled were enrolled while, in the case of the girl child, the rate was still lower at 28 per cent.

"The Government should assign priority towards its constitutional responsibility to make education a fundamental right," suggests the Manch.

"The resolve for free and compulsory education can be realised only when right policies are in place and functioning. The Government should endeavour to provide optimum resources from its own sources and reduce the dependency on external sources.

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