18 June:Set up by the Delhi government two years ago with much fanfare, educational centres for child labourers rescued from bondage have few takers now.Presently, only 2,200 children are enrolled with the 43 centres across the city.
Owing to dismal response to these Transitional Educational Centres (TEC), the government has put on hold its plans to expand the number of centres to 90.
In 2006, the first TEC at Jahangiripur in North Delhi was inaugurated by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who had said that strict action would be initiated against those found employing children.
"Rescued children will be rehabilitated including imparting education in these centres," she had said.
As per the plan, each special school can accommodate 50 children in the age group of 3-14 years and would be run by two educational instructors and one vocational instructor.
Each child would receive a stipend of Rs.100 per month, with the money being credited in savings accounts to be opened in their name, as per the plan chalked out by the Labour Department.
However, two years down the line the Department is at a loss to understand why the centres are running almost empty.
"It is a matter of concern that when the homes run by NGOs are full, our centres are almost empty. In fact, NGOs too are simply not interested in running these centres," Labour Secretary KS Wahi told a news agency.
Those attending the schools are imparted formal education for their integration into mainstream schools like facilitating admissions in MCD. In the name of vocational training, the children are taught skills like embroidery.
"We cannot give them higher vocational training such as driving or carpentry as it would suggest that as if we are promoting them to be employed after they leave from here which is usually once they attain the age of 14," Wahi said.
He reasoned that probably it was one of the mains reason that children faced with poverty were reluctant to join the centres.
The Delhi Shops and Establishment Act, 1954 prohibits employment of children, who are below 12 years of age.The Factories Act, 1948 prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age.Courtsey : DD NEWS