Children Living in Indian Streets; Concerns and Threats

Children living on the street is a sensational issue of concern in the world, as no succinct policies are in place in their protection. The high number is recorded among the young people, who are considered the productive set of group. Some of the factors that have been reported to proliferate this issue are the poverty and negligence of the parents, which heightens the number of street families. Although all states register a given number of children harboring in the streets, India is a case study of interest, as Lam and Cheng (2008, p.576) noted that about 80,000 of the children in Bangalore had made the streets their homes. For these children, citiesand towns is their place where they get food, sleep, and some earning either through stealing or doing menial jobs such as shoe shining. A considerable number of them ends up in drug trafficking and consequently finds themselves in jails, or end up being killed. Out of the reported number, the highest percentage constitute of the boys, while girls form the minute number. This is because girls naturally are unable to sustain harsh conditions and those that make it in such an environment resort to prostitution. Of importance to note is that these children have no access to a clean living environment, safe drinking water, and proper health care, that increases the risks of contracting different diseases.

Over the years, various researchers have tried to provide a concise definition of street children. The word street children is widely used in Asia, Africa, America, and Latin America. Contrary, Wiener (2009, n.p) noted that states such as North America and Western Europe prefer to use the word, homeless children. The broad definition put forward by UNICEF (2006, n.p) affirms that the street children are those that are deprived of the care of adults, have no protection and lack supervision. Such, they do whatever they wish to do, and anything they eat or plan to do comes from their own.

India is the home of close to 444 million people who are in the age 0-18 years, which constitute about 20% of the total world’s population (Savarkar 2018, n.p). Most of the families live in urban settings, due to the increased urbanization. This has been contributed to by the heightened migration, environmental disasters such as floods, droughts, and pollution. Afrose (2018, p.87) noted that 90% of the total population in India relies on the informal sector, which leads to most of the people living in slums, thus causing stresses and shocks to young children, who opt to move out from the families and seek refuge in the streets. The situation of street children in India is well summed up by Subrahmanyam and Sondhi (1990, p.578), who affirms in his study that the whole family lives and procreate in the pavements. He also noted that the rate of poverty in this country is high, and the support from the government is severely limited. Hence children engage in activities that are beyond their ages, such as providing for the families, although the state has constitutional rights for the children prohibiting them from exploitation. The observation is supported by Afrose (2018, p.58) who noted that children living in 49,000 slums are invisible, and such dismissal statistics mitigate the efforts of extenuating the phenomenon of street families.

Problem Statement

Global problems such as poverty, urbanization, globalization, among others, have contributed to the migration of people in the towns and cities. The trend happens as people think the urban lifestyle is more promising, compared to the rural areas. While some of the people run away from the challenges in their villages, others become victims due to lack of alternatives while in the cities. No nation is spared of this shame and lack of initiative and ways to prevent the menace has relegated the families to street lives. The number is growing, and India becomes one of the notable country currently struggling with the issue. The consequence has been an increased rate of dropout from schools, and even some children do not have an opportunity to register in the learning institution. If the situation is not curtailed, it might cause more harms in the future in regards to the lack of skilled labor to build the economy. This study will shed insight into the magnitude of the problems, and offer workable strategies that can be adopted to prevent further worsening of the case.

Aim of the Study

This study aims to review the case of children living on the streets, with a focus of India. The study will give an in-depth analysis of the case, by appraising the secondary sources and critiquing the proposition documented in regards to this topic. The work will seek to trace the interpretation of early childhood education care and development, and the factors that have a significant impact in forcing the children to resort to street lives.

Research Question

  • Which factors contribute to the increased number of street children in India?
  • What is the implication of early childhood education care and development?
  •  What are the consequences of global influences for early year’s education and child care?
  • What are the implications for early childhood professionals and practitioners?

Research Objectives

  • To determine the factors that contribute to the increased number of street children in India
  • To establish the implication of early childhood education care and development.
  • To evaluate the consequences of global influences for early year’s education and childcare
  • To appraise the implications for early childhood professionals and practitioners

Justification

The Study-Children living on the streets; is an important topic of consideration, due to the continued increase in the number of street children in India. With the population continuing to surge, the projections indicate that the future of street families could continue to expand, which is a threat to the security of the urban dwellers. Similarly, the education of the young children remains at stake, hence threatening the labor force of India in the future.  Therefore, the study is important right now, as it will shed insight into the relevant humanitarian organs to help them to determine appropriate strategies to avert the situation from becoming worse.

Literature Review

This section discusses some of the factors that have contributed to the increased number of streets children in India.  At this point, the various opinions of the researchers who have covered this topic will be reviewed, which will help to determine the magnitude and spread of the situation in India.

Factors that have contributed to the increase in street Children in India

According to Chopra (2015, p.54), the increasing population in India is one of the problems, which has for years contributed to the upsurge in street families. In his study, he noted that continued migration to the urban centers had been the major backer of this issue. On the other hand, Kumar (2016, p.154) affirms that family structure has a strong impact in determining the number of children who seek refuge in towns and cities. The proposition put forward by him indicates that conflicts in the families have been identified to facilitate the children moving in the cities, where they perceive to be peaceful. The same observation is supported by Jones et al. (2016,.419), in whose study he evaluated the opinions of the streets children in India. He collected five hundred participants and interviewed them on the major reasons they chose to flee from their homes. About 80% of the interviewees affirmed that poverty and conflicts in their families made them to seek safer grounds. The rest gave diversified opinions, while a small number identified that they found themselves in the street, without knowing.

Moreover, another factor that strongly influences the high presence of street children in India is the globalization (Dabir and Athale 2011, n.p). It is defined as the rapid growth of cities and towns, contributed to by the increased manufacturing and production processes. Thus, this has forced the people living in rural areas to migrate to urban areas, seeking jobs. Consolidation of people in the urban centres creates pressure in the housing, leading to living in informal settings, where the lifestyle is of low quality. The interaction of children who are idle and sometimes lacks the basic needs motivate them to move into the streets, where they engage in illegal activities.

Furthermore, Kumar (2016, p.174) noted in his research that unequal distribution of resources has an impact of heightening the unemployment rate. In India, the unemployment rate stands at 4.1%, and he argues that the high population is the cause of this phenomenon. The government is unable to meet the needs of a huge population, most of whom thrive in informal employment. As it is not possible to account for what each does, the huge percentage of street children goes unnoticed. Coming up with a strategy to determine the number of school going children who are not registered in any learning institution would help to mitigate the challenge of street children.

The implication of early childhood education care and development

Early childhood education aims to prepare the children at an early stage, by developing their cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence and meeting their physical needs. According to Gupta (2006, p.221), the stage is instrumental in the growth process, as it informs the young ones of the things to expect in the future. Similarly, they are guided and exposed to the more stands of society, which shapes them to become responsible citizens in the future. Failure to get such learning at an early stage disconnects the children with the precepts of the state, which might lead them to illegal activities such as drug trafficking, stealing among others.

The study conducted by Chopra (2015, p.52) noted that India lags in childhood education care and development since most of the children grow in poor conditions. The study revealed that about 70.6 million Indians live in extreme poverty, and the consequences are translated to the children. This comes in the form of lack of early education, or even some completely denied the right to access quality education. The implication is that a significant number of children are not given basic education at the right time, which increases the chances of migrating to the streets where they indulge in unacceptable activities. The argument is supported by Kumar (2016, p.165) who is of the idea that children who are given appropriate education care, progress well in life, as opposed to those who are denied education at an early age. The paper affirms that lack of implementation of the available laws protecting the children gives room for parents to become irresponsible and negate giving their children the primary education care.

Consequences of global influences for early year’s education and childcare

The salient feature of globalization is the consolidation of global activities in such a way a person can access whatever they wish in both local and international markets. Aldridge and Christensen (2008, p.63) defines globalization as the compression and intensification of the activities that support human life. They can be viewed in the form of economic, cultural or education form. The extensive appreciation of ways other states does things, has completely transformed the economic base of various states, India is one of them. However, homogenizing western culture in India has been a challenge, since the community strongly regards their way of doing things as optimal. Western ideologies have failed to work in India, and the children learn from other people in the community.

According to Kumar (2016, p.164) adopting some of the good attributes imported from other countries help to inculcate the qualities that shape up children to become responsible in the future. The decision of the Indian community to trust their culture and fail to emulate the ideologies of other states causes them to miss some of the changes happening in early childhood education. Chopra (2014, n.p) noted in his research that the levels of streets children in India is an issue of concern, and no other country has recorded such enormous number. Continued reliance on their policies and strategies of addressing the phenomenon might fail to work thus the need to have the input of other nations, who have managed to deal with the problem such as the United States. The positive influence of globalization to early education is increased knowledge of how to deal with the emotions of the children and new forms of shaping them to responsible citizens. India has failed to integrate the aspect of globalization in its early education system, which has resulted ina rapid increase in street children.

The Role of early childhood professionals and practitioners in regards to the street children

The literature reviewed in the previous paragraphs confirmed that the problem of street children is not an event that happens within a day. It can be traced from the time the child is born, and the upbringing dictates the kind of behavior they adopt in future. According to Gupta (2006, p.221), the environment in which a person grows in has a strong influence, in determining their future traits. Child protection is an occurrence, that should begin with the parents, but in a school setting, the early childhood education professional should step in and advocate for the rights of the underprivileged. The professional has greater contact hours with the children. Hence they can learn the nature of challenges they pass through, which would assist the government in securing the rights of the children. However, Chopra (2015, p.72) noted that the professional entrusted with the children in India, do not seek to understand the children more deeply. According to Jones et al. (2016, p.419), about 62.1 million school going children dropped out, which increases the chances of migrating to the streets to seek refuge. Among the identified reasons for quitting education included poverty and violence in the family. If such attributes are captured at an early phase by the practitioners, the incidence of dropout could be largely reduced.

Methodology

The researcher will adopt interpretivism philosophy, but it is important to understand the three forms of philosophy. The first one is positivism which is primarily concerned with the data that is collected from an experiment (Toh and Floresca 2003, p.190). In this case, quantitative data is used and can be tested using various statistical methods. On the other hand, interpretivism involves testing the reality from social approaches. It is majorly concerned with the qualitative information, that is gotten from the respondents. Some of the tools used here are questionnaires and direct interviews. Similarly, secondary sources of data fall under this category. The last set is pragmatism, which combines both the aspect of positivism and interpretivism. It is used by researcher’s who opt to understand the issue in-depth, and it takes time. Therefore, interpretivism is the appropriate philosophy for the present study.

Research with an inductive intention adopts a qualitative methodology, which suits the current study. However, the other two methodologies need to be addressed. The quantitative methodology is wholly reliant on data generated from the views of the respondents (Kumar 2016, p.164). In contrast, qualitative methodology depends on the descriptions, to test the facts of a certain claim. In most instances, the researcher reviews the study of other authors and conducts a meta-analysis to come up with the findings. Combining the qualitative and quantitative results to mixed methodology, which is expensive and time-consuming to adopt. Such, qualitative methodology is the appropriate one for this topic, as it allows a deeper understanding from diverse researchers who have conducted actual experiments. Data collection would involve consulting secondary sources such as books and journals, and review the arguments of the different researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the topic- Children living on the Street in India.

Project plan

Phase Task and Deliverable Responsibility Timeframe
1 Submit proposal Project team  
2 Proposal approval committee  
3 Commencement of detailed literature review Project team  
4 Data collection Project team  
5 Data analysis Person responsible  
6 Consultation with the team and experts in the field supervisor  
7 Further analysis Project team  
8 Commencement of writing of the actual report Person responsible  
9 Preliminary consultation with the experts Person responsible  
10 Implement report edits Person responsible  
11 Final report Person responsible  
12 Submission Person responsible  

Pricing

Nature  of expenditure/item Description Rates % of time Amount($)
DIRECT COSTS Research personnel Principal researcher Co-Researcher Post-doctoral associate Graduate students Clerical assistance Local staffing      
EQUIPMENT The cost of purchasing and the conversion of a bus from the local bus company.      
TRAVEL Traveller (amount per trip) Perdiem($/per day) Tax ride Car rental per day Gasoline cost Cost of moving around to meet the experts      
OTHER DIRECT COSTS Documentation (books & software) Consultants services Communication/internet/photocopying Support materials      
FRINGE BENEFITS (25% on salaries of academic staff) Benefits      
REPORT Editing and proofreading Book cover design Layout, technical production & cost of paper Printing Editing      

Sustainability

The significance of this study is to unearth the spread of street children in India and elucidate some of the challenges that they face, and the major factors that cause them to flee into the cities. The revelation is an optimal turning point for the government to make and implement workable policies, that protect the rights of the children, as well as promote early childhood education. The report is useful not only to the present generation but also to the subsequent leaders, who will identify the need to promote education for the children, probably by making the schooling for young aged children (0-8) years old free. This would slowly reduce the number of street children, and grow a generation that is equipped with the necessary skills to drive the economy forward. Correspondingly, it would reduce the proliferation of illegal activities such as drug abuse, stealing among others.

Conclusion

Street children is a huge concern in India that has attracted a considerable number of research. Young children aged between 0-8 years have found their ways into the street, while some were born in the town corridors with nowhere to call home.  The present research illustrates that several factors have played a key role, in stimulating the surging number of street children. Among them are poverty, family violence, pollution, urbanization, globalization among others. Also, it was noted that the Indian government has little regard for children ‘s rights, and most of the street children are invisible in regards to the government data, which worsens the case. The reviewed literature confirmed that proper early childhood education and the influence of the professionals would lower the increasing number of street children. Future research should be conducted to establish why the government offer little support to address the issue of street families in India.

References

Afrose, T. (2018). Risk Behaviors of Street Children in Dhaka City, Bangladesh: A Cross-Sectional Study. Open Access Journal of Microbiology & Biotechnology3(2),56-89.

Aldridge, J., and Christensen, L. M. (2008). Among the Periodicals: Globalization and Education. Childhood Education, 85(1), 64-66.

Chopra, G. (2015). Early Childhood Care and Education: Right to Survival and Development. Child Rights in India, 45-76.

Dabir, N., and Athale, N. (2011). From street to hope: Faith based and secular programs in Los Angeles, Mumbai and Nairobi for street living children. New Delhi, India: Sage Publications.

Gupta, A. (2006). Aligning Teacher Education and Early Childhood Practice in Urban India: Balancing Vygotsky and the Veda. Early Childhood Education, Postcolonial Theory, and Teaching Practices in India, 199-223.

Jones, H., Bhattacharjee, S., Kumar, R., Agrawal, A., and O′Grady, K. (2016). Risk factors for substance use among street children entering treatment in India. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 38(5), 419.

Kumar, D. (2016). Psychosomatic Assessment of Street Children: A Gorakhpur Experience. Journal of Medical Science And clinical Research, 04(11), 142-179.

 Lam, D., and Cheng, F. (2008). Chinese policy reaction to the problem of street children: An analysis from the perspective of street children. Children and Youth Services Review30(5), 575-584.

Savarkar, T. (2018). Psychosocial Distress among Children Living on the Street in Mumbai City, India. Journal of Depression and Anxiety07(02).

Segal, U. A. (1999). Children have abused in eastern countries: A look at India. International Social Work, 42(1), 39–52.

Subrahmanyam, Y. S., and Sondhi, P. (1990). Child porters: Psychosocial profile of street children. Indian Journal of Social Work, 51, 577–582. Retrieved from https://journals.tiss.edu/archive/index.php/ijswarchive/article/view/2227

Toh, S.,andFloresca-Cawagas, V. (2003). Globalization and the Philippines’ Education System. Globalization and Educational Restructuring in the Asia Pacific Region, 189-231.

UNICEF. (2006). Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children. Littlehampton, UK: The Body Shop International. Retrieved fromhttps://www.unicef.org/media/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf

Wiener, G. (Ed.). (2009). Child labor (Global viewpoints). Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.


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