Starting June,cancer-stricken children,who had to quit studies to undergo treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH), will get a chance to go back to school. The BMC has arranged for a special school in Parel for them and the admissions have started. Around 85 students have been shortlisted for the classes.
We observed that many children had to quit studies because their stay at the hospital would be long,going up to even nine months at a stretch. It was heart-wrenching to see that despite their ongoing treatment,these children were eager to go back to school. We decided that irrespective of their ailment,they should not be deprived of their fundamental right to education, said Vitthal Kharatmol,chairman of the BMC education committee.
Taking cognisance of the fact that many children quit school because of problems relating to location and travelling,the school is on the KEM Hospital premises,very close to TMH. No separate budget has been earmarked for the school and money from the Rs 2,342 crore,which was allocated for the education sector this year,will be utilised to run it. The BMC has also tied up with NGO CanKids to help it implement the plan.
The NGO will help in gathering the needy children and taking special care of them,such as providing medical care that may be needed during school hours. They will also provide books,stationery etc free of cost. The children will be taught various levels of maths,science and languages depending on their age and prior study. The focus will not be on exams but on knowledge and learning, said BMC education officer Mirza Baig. Teachers will be appointed from both the BMC and NGO,depending on the number of students.
The move has been welcomed by TMH. The life of these children revolves around medication and therapy and they are often unable to continue studies even though they might want to. At TMH,we have courses that enable patients to study further even after they are admitted here. The BMC has taken a great step to start this school and there is a need for more such initiatives, said Dr R Badwe,director of TMH.