Monday, May 20, 2024

300 children present a Charter of Demands for the safe reopening of schools in Rajasthan

To ensure continuity in children’s education and their safe return to school once they re-open, Magic Bus organised 15 workshops across 5 districts (Jaipur, Ajmer, Churu, Chittorgarh & Dholpur). At each of these meetings, children discussed and outlined the safety measures and practices that would encourage them to go back to school. They discussed the importance of reopening of schools and presented a Charter of Demands on COVID-19 safety measures in schools, in the new normal situation. All 300 participating children come from underserved communities and had to face interruptions in learning, in the midst of school closures. The demands and pledge, were presented through a virtual Baal Sabha to the education officials, parents and other stake holders.

In line with the organisation’s larger goal of ensuring every child completes their secondary education, Magic Bus is hosting a series of presentations across the country, to capture the demands and inhibitions of children as they prepare to rejoin schools, once the respective State governments reach a decision. It will focus on how to make coming to school safe for children once schools reopen in the near future. Apart from a Charter of Demands, children also put together a Charter of pledges – a list of resolutions to ensure every child keeps learning, even at their homes.

In the next two years, Magic Bus will work on a COVID-19 Crisis Recovery programme which will focus on rehabilitating the incomes of 200,000 families, by linking them to livelihood options, so that 300,000 children, who are in danger of dropping out of school and getting pulled into child labour, early marriage or trafficking, can continue with their education instead.

Dr.  Neelima Agrawal, Senior Programme Manager – Rajasthan, Magic Bus, said, “There cannot be a better occasion than Children’s Day to raise awareness on the needs and issues children face at a very difficult time like this. They have been impacted the most by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further worsened the learning gaps children are facing. The Charters are a step towards ensuring learning continues, children feel safe in their school environment and that they do not drop out of the school system.”

Ratan Singh Yadav, Chief District Education Officer (CDEO), Jaipur said “It is wonderful to see the good work being done during the pandemic. Children are engaged in the process of learning. The awareness drive conducted, along with the relief work was a much-needed intervention. We need to be vigilant not only about our safety practices but also about the precautionary behaviours of those around us. I encourage children to not only wear masks, wash their hands, and keep distance but to also make sure people around them are doing the same. Only then can we beat this virus.”

Mr. BL Jangir, Additional District Education Officer (ADEO), Jaipur said “We are so happy to hear the needs and demands of children across 5 zillas. This is a feat in itself. The life skills sessions that children are engaged in have also proven to be so important during the pandemic. It is helping children cope with the situation better and the efforts to connect all of us during the pandemic are commendable.”

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