The objective of this project is to re-enroll school dropout students back in schools and empower community to track or monitor the right delivery of government programs related to early child hood care and development.
- Implementing NGO: Chetna Vikas
- Location: Saraiyahat Block, Dumka District, Jharkhand
- Target Area: 20 villages with 35 Schools
- Target Area Population: 8,716
- # of Beneficiaries: 3,562 [2011/12]
- Start Year // End Year: 2011 // TBD
- Funding Plan: $10,807 [2011/12]
- Past Funding: None
- The program area is a very remote and backward area of Saraiyahat block of Dumka district. In Jharkhand the literacy rate is 68% per 2011 census, which is much less compared to national figure of 74%. Data from Jharkhand Education Project Council (2007-2008) shows that there are 143,000 children out of school in the age group of 6-14 years, around 76,000 are drop outs, 35,000 children involved in household work, and 32,000 children are working due to monetary compulsions.
- Literacy rate of Saraiyahat block of Dumka district is 34.2% compared to Dumka district of 48.3% per 2001 census.
- The education scenario in the 20 target villages is very poor due to an ineffective monitoring system of the education department. High absenteeism of school teachers and irregular mid-day meal schemes have compounded the problem.
- Parents have not shown any responsibility to educate their children; rather parents prefer their children to help in domestic work. Parents are aware of importance of education but many times small land holders and daily wage earners are compelled to send their children to work.
- Schools are marked by very poor children’s attendance (45-50%). The schools have only 25% of the qualified full time teachers out of whom 75% are Sahayak Shikshak (Part time Volunteer Teachers). Most schools have a student teacher ratio of 60:1 or more making it very difficult for teachers to perform their job well.
- Anganwadi Centers (pre-schools) in all the villages function only for 1 to 2 hours to distribute food. Anganwadi workers are not trained or qualified to take up pre-school education, and have not shown any motivation to work.
- The community totally lacks the awareness on the need for Anganwadi Centers and immunization. People speak about the quantity of food distributed at the centers but no one mentions the Anganwadi Workers attendance.
- People are also not aware of any committees such as Mother’s Committee or any community monitoring body.
To address the challenges listed, our program execution strategy will have 4 significant focus areas:
- Community Involvement: There are 3 committees (Mother’s Committee, School Management Committee, Child Rights Club) that are supposed to monitor the functioning of the government sponsored institutions like Anganwadi Centers, Primary/High Schools and related management. Chetna Vikas aims to educate these committees about their responsibilities, their powers in overseeing the proper functioning of the Anganwadi centers and school staff, and provide necessary training wherever necessary. They will help the parents to identify problems and represent issues like additional staff recruitment, quality of food, lack of infrastructure etc with the government departments or at the state level bodies such as Child Rights Commission.
- Out-of-School Children: This is a significant focus area wherein all the 21 schools in the target area will be covered. Enrollment in the schools, retention, and successful promotion to the next class are the primary aspects that will be addressed. To succeed in this effort, Chetna Vikas will work with the schools, teachers, children, communities and the local education department. While the Government does offer free education, not all expenses towards education of a child are fully covered. Chetna Vikas will allocate funds to motivate dropped out students by buying them school bags, educational material that are not supplied by the government system.
- Retention of children in schools: Chetna Vikas will meet the parents of the dropped out children and counsel them on benefits of education. Re-enrollment of the dropped out children in schools and sensitize the community on the importance of education by sponsoring theme based Nukkad Nataks (Stage Plays). Regular monitoring of the attendance of the students and special focus on students with lower attendance.
- Quality of Learning: Chetna Vikas will involve the community in assessing children’s learning levels and strive to improve the learning by ensuring that the teachers complete the lessons in order. Chetna Vikas will focus on providing play materials and other child centric activities to improve the school environment. They will also provide temporary staff wherever necessary and help schools to have adequate number of teachers.
- Pre-Schools (Age: 0 – 6 years)
- 15 Anganwadi Centers activated to be functional
- 30 Anganwadi Center teachers and helpers (in 15 centers) undergo the necessary training
- 150 Mother’s Committee members trained; attend monthly Mother’s Committee meetings
- Primary Schools (Age: 6 – 14 years)
- 300 out of 367 (target=80%) out of school children re-enrolled into schools
- School attendance rate increased from 50% (current) to 70%
- Provide 5 additional teachers to address the high student/teacher ratio
- Form Child Rights Clubs (CRCs) in all the schools
- 170 School Management Committee (SMC) members undergo orientation (50% increase)
- 6 School Management Committee meetings in every village organized with 80%+ attendance
- 6 Village Education Committee meetings organized in every village with 70%+ attendance
- NGO Staff Capacity Building
- Monthly meetings and training programs for NGO staff members
- ILP will partner with an experienced local Non-Government Organization (NGO) named Chetna Vikas to implement this program.
- Chetna Vikas was founded in 1985. The organization works with Gandhian ideology to achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance with the grassroots communities, especially with tribal and other backward communities.
- Currently, they are working with Sight Savers in this region focusing on primary eye care.
- Chetna Vikas is also mainstreaming visually impaired children (6-14 years) through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan’s inclusive education program. Currently, this program benefits 55 children. All these children are continuing in the local government schools. There are 13 children who are totally blind, but learn Braille script from sight savers trained Braille Teachers who visit schools every week. The remaining children are partially affected by eye problems and they are tested and provided with lenses / glasses.
To be updated soon.
Bobby Kumara (May 2012): 12-year-old Bobby is the youngest girl in her family of parents, grandparents, two brothers and two sisters. Her parents and brothers work in their small land holding and also for daily wages. Bobby was in school until her 4th grade in the primary school of Parsadah village, but eventually dropped out of school from April 2011 - instead she was helping with household chores and grazing animals. The Chetna Vikas (CV) team member identified her in August 2011 during his school visits when the teachers informed about her absence from school. CV team then interacted several times with the parents, who thought that Bobby needed to work to put food on the family table. CV team addressed/educated the parents about the mid-day meal scheme now functioning well in the schools. The CV team also made the head of the village (Pradhan) to visit the family, and he insisted that the family must send Bobby to school. After all those efforts, Bobby started in January 2012, and is now a regular student of the 5th Grade. Her teachers, Mrs. Sobha Kumari and Mrs. Nirmala Hansda had even provided extra sessions to help her catch up with the lessons she had missed. Today, she is diligent with her academics, good at co-curricular activities like sports and singing, and mingles happily with her friends. There is more work to be done to keep Booby in school - but, this is a great example of the kind of successes that ILP and our NGO partners achieve through the concerted efforts of parents, teachers, community members.