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Right to education includes child labourers in Karnataka
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Karnataka, has accepted the recommendations of child rights’ activists to include children of bridge schools under the Karnataka state draft rules of Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Karnataka, has accepted the recommendations of child rights’ activists to include children of bridge schools under the Karnataka state draft rules of Right to Education (RTE) Act, said its official of SSA.

A group of child rights’ activists, on Tuesday, had a meeting with Sandhya Venugopal Sharma, Karnataka state project director of SSA, where the issue was raised. According to statistics, Karnataka has about 20 bridge schools.

Bridge schools are places where school dropouts, mostly child labourers are provided education on an ad hoc basis.

“We have accepted the recommendation to include students of bridge schools under the RTE Act. We support the idea of giving formal education to all children in mainstream schools,” said Sharma.

Members of Indian Literacy Project, Solution Exchange (a group under Unicef), Child Protection Unit (CPU), Campaign Against Child Labour Karnataka (CACL-K) and Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), Bangalore, met Sharma.

Members of the voluntary organisations working for education of underprivileged children also suggested SSA to provide special training to teachers in mainstream schools to deal with students from bridge schools.

“We demanded that a bridge school student should be allowed to join a mainstream school after getting about two years of training in a bridge school, for which we need trained educators in mainstream schools, to address and counsel the special needs of these children,” said Nagasimha G Rao, convenor of CACL.
According to the RTE Act enforced on April 1, all schools should provide admission to 25% of the children from the neighbourhood.

The act,also known as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, includes children in the age group of six to 14 years of age.

The RTE Act is likely to be enforced in Karnataka from early 2011.

Source: Daily News and Analysis