Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Anil Kumar today charged that the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has inflicted a severe blow on children from poor families in continuing their schooling in the national capital. He said nearly 1.66 lakh students of the schools run by the AAP-ruled Delhi government as well as the BJPruled Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCDs) have been “missing” from their classroom rosters following the Covid lockdown in the city.
The Delhi Congress chief charged that the Delhi government and the MCDs were “clueless” about the whereabouts of these students. “It is shocking that Manish Sisodia (Delhi deputy chief minister) went to Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, when Delhi was seized of the corona pandemic and the farmers’ protests, to tom-tom about the ‘achievements’ of government schools in Delhi, though his bluff has been called by the missing students’ data,” Kumar alleged.
He said that under the Rights to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, passed by the previous Congress-led UPA government, it is the responsibility of the State to bring out-of-school children to our educational system, but despite lakhs of students remaining “untraced”, the Arvind Kejriwal government and the MCDs have “not bothered to make any sincere effort to find them”.
Kumar said that nearly 31,000 students from the Delhi government schools, 44,000 students from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, 58,000 students from the Centre’s New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), and 33,600 students from the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, have gone “missing” from their school rosters. He said it was a matter of “serious concern”, especially considering that these children hailing mostly from economically weaker sections of migrant labourers ~ who suffered the worst impact of the Covid pandemic lockdown ~ might have been forced to return to their respective native villages and might have been engaged in child labour.
He wondered that if their educational institutions had not done anything to trace these children, what steps the Delhi government and MCDs have taken to trace them. The DPCC president said it was a question of empowering these poor children through education, and the Delhi government and the MCDs should take the help of all the agencies to bring them back so that they could resume their “broken education”.