The study reflects on the right to education from the lens of the educational rehabilitation of child labourers rescued from bonded labour and factors that adversely affect some children to exploit the educational opportunities. The study opened the black box of "mainstreaming the out of school children". The more systematic it sounds, the more impossible and unreal it become for the children to go through psycho-social trauma and continue his/her basic education with a little hand-holding from the family, community, and the government’s side. The rehabilitation process of the child labourers is planned and implemented with an objective to mainstream these children into the formal schooling system. The aim is to provide them with an equal opportunity to education to develop to their full potential. However, in the presence of several loopholes in the rehabilitation process, the child becomes more vulnerable to get re-trafficked and drop out of the school. Consequently, the outcome of the policy fails at the grassroots level to achieve its very objective. The ground reality indicates that creating institutions for policies implementation doesn't guarantee justice. The existing institutions need to be strengthened, and focus has to shift towards making the processes more effective for policy implementation for the target group rather than creating new institutions. To conclude, the study discusses factors that make children more vulnerable to child labour or trafficking. Considering these factors, the process of rehabilitation of child labourers calls for a comprehensive, interdepartmental, and multidimensional approach.
Sujata Bahot, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration, India