Seasonal migration for work by poor rural families is a phenomenon that is escalating as the agrarian crisis mounts. Millions of families that migrate are compelled to take their children along, leaving school and a normal childhood behind. They spend several months every year at work sites such as brick kilns, salt pans, plantations and stone quarries, labouring under extremely difficult conditions. Children are put to work from young ages. It is estimated that the number of such children below the age of 14 years is 9 million.
This paper attempts to provide an overview of distress seasonal migration across a range of migration sectors and geographies. It touches on the nature and pattern of seasonal migration, the differing contexts and the working conditions of migrant families and children. It further documents the efforts made by the government and various agencies towards the schooling of these children, and possible emerging models to ensure the continuity of their schooling despite their constant, unpredictable mobility. Finally, it delineates the policy changes required to institutionalize these positive efforts and ensure universal coverage for migrant children.
CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 28, ISBN: 0-901881-27-9, 53 pp.