புதிய தலைமுறை இதழில் வந்த என் பெருகும் குழந்தைத் தொழிலாளர்கள் கட்டுரை
---------------------------------------------------------------- Bloomed in one place, transplanted and now drying up with no roots!The shocking revelations of Tirupur’schild labourers
“Why should I learn Tamil? Suppose I happen to go back to Bihar, Tamil will be of no use. Teach me in Biharilanguage ! I will learn it!Otherwise leave me in peace... I will earn a living by working in a banian company. Don’t refer to me as a child labourer.”
These are the words of Rohan, a nine year old boy from Bihar living in Tirupur. When SAVEvolunteers asked him to enrol in the Bridge School, he became sceptical and questioned them.
On average, 100 children in every ward are not attending school and can be found idle on the streets.Taking into account that Tirupur has 60 wards, this amounts to an estimated 6,000 children that are not enrolled in school!
When one thinks of the concept of migration,it is largely related to movements as a result of war or severe environmental and climatic conditions. However, economic migration – i.e. the decision to migrant in order to improve one’s standard of living by gaining a better paid job – is one of the significant migration patterns bringing persons to Tirupur. Approximately 40% of Tirupur’spopulation are migrants, the vast majority of whom are economic migrants. The migrants predominantly originate from the states ofWest Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkand. Most of themigrants are dalits who are deemed to be at the bottom of the Hindu caste system.Among them, 70-80% are youngsters who migrant alone;and 20% are families (most of whom migrate with young children). It must be noted that adolescent girls are often left in the care of elders in the places of origin for reasons concerningsafety.
Push factors from the major source states mentioned above include unemployment, low paying jobs and caste discrimination, to name a few. Migrants to Tirupur reveal that jobs in Tirupur garment factories allow them to earn a higher salary than they would in their places of origin, and their caste allocation is not a barrier to accessing a job.
Despite the comparatively high standard of living migrant workers enjoy in Tirupur, one area that they neglect to improve is their children’s education. In this lacuna, SAVE, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Tirupur, has been reaching out to migrant children and enrolling them into Bridge Schools. Bridge Schools are learning centres that provide remedial education to children that have been out of school and who require specialised attention before they can re-enter the mainstream education system.Through the National Child Labour Project,is enrolling migrant children in Tirupur between the ages of nine to 14 years and SAVE does along with siblings in its Bridge Schools.
After completion of the Bridge School curriculum, there are difficulties admitting migrant children into mainstream schools, especially into government schools. Thereason is that the children are not proficient in the Tamil language and there is no corresponding syllabus in Hindi. Teachers are facing challenges to instruct migrant children due to this language barrier. The language barrier causes children to remain out of mainstream schooling. Children who are not in school tend to roam the streets or take up employment in garment companies.
“I come from West Bengal. I had studiedup to the8th grade. When I arrived in Tirupur, I was admitted into a Bridge School.All kinds of children regardless of age sat together in one class. I need a 9th grade education. I do not need the lessons of5th, 6th and 7th grades,” says Kapparsingh.
Kapparsingh’s parentsmigrated to Tirupur in search of employment but unfortunatelyKapparsingh was not enrolled in a local school. Since he was not attending school, Kapparsingh thought of becoming employed in one of the garment companies. He is unaware of his right to an education and largely his rights under the ‘Right to Education Act’. Kapparsingh’s situation is not unique.
There is no scheme in government to ensure thatmigrant children are enrolled in schools in their new communities.Neither are there enough funds to support the operation of Bridge Schools to aid children such as Kapparsingh. Moreover, the garment industry in Tirupur does not care to take a stand in the fight to guarantee an education to migrant children.
AshaDesi (7 years), from Assam said, “I want to learn in my mother tongue.How willlearning in Tamil benefit me?” Children from Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal who have also asked to be educated in their mother tongue have echoed her sentiments.
Parents have shown little commitment to see that their children are enrolled in school. One parent hassaid, “We are going to stay here[Tirupur] for five or six months, then go back home.” Though they may return to their places of origin, sometimes this return is only temporary. When the parents return once again with their children, the situation of non-enrolment is repeated. Nevertheless, there are parents who are willing to provide a basic education for their children but encounter obstacles in doing so. To add to the problem, the parents are embarrassedto ask for help or lack the necessary knowledge on where to seek help.
Migrant children who are not attending school face alienation. They are unable to speak Tamil and are deemed ‘ruffians’ by the local population who see them as a burden. Some children are reported to the police station for minor infractions. It is believed that with counselling, migrant children can better integrate themselves into their local communities. SAVE and other social organisations remain committed to ensuring that migrant children are enrolled into schools. All children not enrolled in school, whether they are employed or remain at home, are considered child labourers.
These children needed counselling. Perhaps all these children are educated by the teachers of their own languages then there is possibility of joining the school. Tha campus of the school will be favour for them. Separting them in the community is not good.
During the past 1990’s the population of child labour was about a lakhs in Tirupur. However, because of the compulsory education by the government and the child labour ban, this was almost abolished in the export business, it become under control. In this circumstances, migrant children are becoming child labourers. If they are out of school at home is also called child labour.
The children may tear the textbooks because of some mischievous habit. But, here the children are torn into pieces due to the lack of text books. So, the child labour problem has become once again in the name of migrant children. Again, this may be considered as another form of refugees.