Bala Karmika Vimochana Vedika (BKVV)
Teacher's Forum for Liberation of Child Labour
BKVV and Child LabourOver the years the role of the government school teacher and indeed of any teacher in the rural Indian context has been limited to imparting education to whoever comes to school. In other words the teacher's role commences only after a child reaches the school and all children outside school including school drop outs are not specifically the concern of the teacher. The BKVV is a forum established in 1996, comprising government school teachers who stress the fact that the teachers' role has to extend beyond the school and upto the household if they are to deal with working children. As educationalists, the BKVV's definition of child labour encompasses all children who are out of schools. The BKVV has taken up the responsibility to protect child rights and especially ensure that no child is subjected to the drudgery of work and exploitation.
BKVV and SchoolsThe BKVV recognises schools as effective and the only institutions that keep children out of work. Schools perform the radical function of enabling the children break with their tradition of backwardness and the teachers become the harbingers of freedom, equity and justice. In order to encourage working children access schools the teachers have established processes to reach out to the parents and give them the confidence to send their children to schools. They have enthused the villagers to contribute generously to building the infrastructure in schools. The needs of the school such as more teachers and accomodation, education material, have thus become community issues. Once the teachers extended their domain to cover children out of schools not only are they in greater control of the process of getting children into school but they also enhance their own status within the community.
In addition, the BKVV looks into modifying the policies of admissions, promotions and retention, and attendance to make them simpler and more sensitive to the social and cultural background of the children. They realise that the poor children go through an every day struggle to stay in schools and that it is their responsibility to make it as easy as possible for them to remain in schools. Further, they recognise that the older children require special attention to prepare for studentship and bring them on par with other children of similar age group in school. The teachers find that their capabilities are better tested while dealing with working children since they have to fine tune their own skills and adopt innovative methods of teaching to be more effective. In short, this new activity raises the teachers' self esteem and results in genuinely empowering them as teachers.
BKVV MembershipThe BKVV has a total of 1300 members spread over 19 mandals of Ranga Reddy district, Andhra Pradesh. More recently the BKVV has expanded to Nellore, Vizianagaram, Adilabad, Nalgonda, Medak, Mahboobnagar, Kurnool, and East Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh. Significantly, the BKVV members all have joined together in solidarity for protection of child rights inspite of the fact that most members of the BKVV are affiliated to their respective teachers' unions.
BKVV and Other ActivitiesThe MV Foundation provides the technical support in all their activities.
Apart from withdrawing children from work and retaining them through Bridge Courses run by them within schools the BKVV is developing as a lobby for protection of child rights. They are playing a role in highlighting issues relating to girl child education, early child marriages, bonded labour and so on. The BKVV is in a unique position to be trainers on behalf of the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the State Council of Education Research and Training on issues relating to teachers and elimination of child labour.
BKVV's AgendaThe new millennium will focus on:
page CHILD LABOUR