First residential school for street kids this year

The state government is planning to open its first residential school for streetchildren in the city this year. All children between 6 and 14 years will be eligible for admission to the school, said Mahavir Mane, director, Primary Education on Saturday.

"The project to build a residential school for streetchildren was approved by the government in 2012-13 itself. But due to reasons like unavailability of space, it was not executed," said Mane at a press conference. "But now we have speeded up the process and the school will be a reality in the academic year that starts in June 2013," he said.

The project has been started and all funds have been approved under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. The programme is to impart universal elementary education for children between 6 and 14 years. "A survey is being carried out by the Pune Municipal Corporation to estimate the number of homeless children and other details in Pune district. Once it is completed we will decide how many teachers are required and other infrastructure needs," he said.

One of the main reasons for non-materialisation of the school in the current academic year was unavailability of space. "We had zeroed in on a plot in Wagholi but later realised that parents who stay on the streets in Pune won't be positive to the idea of their children going away to Wagholi. Plus parents will not be able to come and visit the children, when they want, due to their economic constraints," he said. "Hence now we are looking for vacant PMC school buildings in Pune city which can be refurbished into a residential school," he added.

A special curriculum too has been made for these children. "Since they come from the streets, their age groups will not be uniform and it is impossible to put a 14-year- old in class 1. Hence, we have designed modules so that every child will be given special training before admitting them to the class corresponding to their age group," he said.

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