Child Welfare Committee: Notify immediately if a girl child is absent for long time
If a girl child remains absent from class for a long time without proper intimation, then the school must bring it to the notice of the district Child Welfare Committee CWC This is to make sure that the child is not trapped for child marriage or trafficked
BENGALURU: If a girl child remains absent from class for a long time without proper intimation, then the school must bring it to the notice of the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC). This is to make sure that the child is not trapped for child marriage or trafficked.
Based on a letter sent by CWC, Bengaluru, the education department recently issued a circular to all schools to update about long-term absentee children. Absenteeism in school is the first indication of a child getting in conflict with law, say officials in the education department.“Usually if a child is absent, school authorities conduct an inquiry. But on failing to get details, they don’t follow it up. By the time the compliant of a missing child comes before the CWC, precious time is lost. To avoid such circumstances that lead to child marriage or missing cases, information on school dropouts must be brought to the notice of CWC immediately,” reads the circular issued by the state planning directorate of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Anjali Ramanna, chairperson, CWC, Bengaluru, said over 25 per cent of the cases in front of the the CWC are concerned on child marriages. The committee received umpteen number of complaints of missing girls for both known and unknown reasons.“The cases of child marriages have become frequent. Of 80 cases per month, 20 would be of child marriage under the categories such as consensually getting married, forced by family, teenage pregnancy, ignorance of law and for religious reason. In all these cases, the victims are schoolgoing girls and suddenly their attendance will be hit,” said Anjali Ramanna.
According to the CWC chairperson, child marriage is very much prevalent in urban areas too. “School managements take cognizance of the absence of students and conduct inspection in this regard with bonafide intentions. But when they fail to find the whereabouts of the girl and family, they won’t take up the matter further. By the time CWC is presented with the case, precious time of a life would have been misled and wasted,” Anjali added.
All schools display Childline number 1098 and there’s awareness among children also to dial this number to report child marriage-related complaints.
In many cases, girls themselves alerted us following which we successfully stopped such marriages. Sometimes, we get to know even as the discussions are going on at home. Hints are given by neighbours or the child’s friends. We recently had cases from Kolar, Kalaburagi and Chamarajanagar