CHENNAI: According to a survey by the Information and Resource Center for Underprivileged Urban Communities, around 71 percent of homeless children have not had access to any form of learning during the pandemic. The most common reason was schools not offering online classes, followed by lack of access to smartphones and non-payment of school fees.
The report, titled “Homeless Children and Access to Education During the Pandemic,” included survey details of 100 homeless children in Chennai, of whom 47 percent went to primary schools, 46 percent to secondary schools and 7 percent to secondary schools. Of these, the survey found that three had dropped out of school.
Regarding Chennai Corporation schools, only 5 out of 27 students surveyed had access to online education while the rest had no access to any form of education. “Of the 22 children in Chennai schools who do not have access to education, 13 children (59 percent) do not have access to internet-connected smartphones or televisions.
Parents of 9 children (41 percent) indicated that schools did not provide them with information about classes,” the survey found. Even if they are given access to smartphones, children on the street are in an exceptional situation where most of them are first-generation learners and the environment in which they are forced to learn is different from that of children, who have a home. “The TN government should take immediate action to ensure these children have access to education,” said IRCDUC’s Vanessa Peter.