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MICA, ADC to help Covid dropouts in technical schools

The team came across nine cases in the past four months from across India where students were forced to drop out, having lost an earning member of the family.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad |
Updated: September 30, 2021 4:53:46 am
Members say the idea of creating such a project germinated from these cases. (Official website)

Estimating about 20,000 students to have dropped out of technical institutes — mostly government-run ones, due to financial constraints during the Covid-19 pandemic across the country, MICA – The School of Ideas has launched MI-Empathy, a project to support such students, in collaboration with the Association of Development Communication (ADC).

The team came across nine cases in the past four months from across India where students were forced to drop out, having lost an earning member of the family. Members say the idea of creating such a project germinated from these cases.

“As per our preliminary estimates, even if we take 0.5 per cent of over 40 lakh students in technical institutes across the country who dropped out after being affected by Covid-19, it would be not less than 20,000 students… it can be even more,” Prof Arbind Sinha, senior faculty at MICA and vice-president of ADC, told The Indian Express, adding that priority will be given to students in government-run technical institutes.

The project will offer networking support, documentation, crowd-funding and contact mobilisation. The first phase will focus on students who are in government-run technical institutes. The working group consisting of MICA faculty, staff and students and members from ADC will collect information, define the methods and set up the criteria for selecting and prioritising deserving cases.

MICA director Dr Shailendra Raj Mehta said, “We will leverage our expertise in development communication and strategy formulation. The faculty, students and staff from MICA will work with the ADC team on voluntary basis.” The initiative intends to use effective communication to reach out to affected students, collect information from them and reach out to institutions and the government for support.

Referring to the nine cases already received, Sinha says, “All the cases are from outside Gujarat, from small towns and rural areas… There is none from management institutes and metros so far… we received these cases through our personal contacts.”

The death certificate should specify Covid as the cause and the name of the deceased should reflect as father or guardian in college records of the student seeking support.

Initially, the team plans to reach out to the institutions they are enrolled in. “This will be followed by writing to the state governments concerned… The governments have taken up the case of scool students but nothing so far for students in higher education institutions. The third attempt will be to reach out to donors and agencies…,” says Sinha. Once the team gathers the data, they will connect the students with teaching and training organisations who would support them.

ADC, an Ahmedabad-based independent body set up in 2018, has 47 members across India and from domains, including faculty, advertising, research and media.

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