Education Forum urges PM Modi to tackle inequality in food security, education

Education Forum urges PM Modi to tackle inequality in food security, education Picture used for representational purpose only (Source: Shutterstock)
Team Careers360 | May 11, 2020 - 5:10 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Right to Education Forum, an advocacy group consisting of former bureaucrats, activists and academics, has written to prime minister Narendra Modi on Monday raising concerns about food security and unequal access to online education during the COVID-19 crisis.

In a memorandum, signed by a hundred signatories, including top bureaucrats, academics and lawyers, the forum urged the government to safeguard food security of children by ensuring smooth implementation of home-delivery of mid-day meals.

The forum said: "The RTE Forum urges the Government of India to distribute food to all children as part of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme till the risk of the pandemic is over."

The memorandum further suggests that educational materials could be provided along with relief and dry food packages by the Government.

Online modes

While urging PM Modi to reduce “syllabus load” for the next academic year, the forum also suggests the use of offline modes, such as television, to reduce the existing digital divide.

Many students, especially in government schools, lack the infrastructural facilities- computers, smartphones, modems- to attend online classes, as Careers360 had earlier reported.

Ambarish Rai, national convenor, RTE Forum, said: “If there is too much focus on online modes of teaching then a majority of children especially from marginalized communities will be deprived of their right to education.”

The forum pointed out that uninterrupted monitoring of health services, especially for malnourished children, is crucial to prevent adverse health conditions during this period.

All adolescent girls should continue receiving sanitary napkins, supplementary nutrition under existing health programmes, the forum said.

It said: “Once situation normalises, all enrolled students must be tracked, especially girls to ensure no one drops out and schools should be regularly and thoroughly sanitized and equipped with safe drinking water and adequate hygiene facilities.”

It also requested that child helplines and other child protection measures should be declared essential services as children are at risk of violence and abuse during the lockdown.

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