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Continuation and Expansion of Elementary Education (CEEE)
Women Empowerment and Zari Training
Madrasa-Makhtab Intervention
Community Initiative in Addressing Rural Education
Residential  Bridge Course Camp
Training on  HIV/AIDS
Comprehensive & Reading Skill Development and Remedial Coaching Classes for Class VIII-XI under Ban Bandhu Kalyan Yojna

Community Initiative in Addressing Rural Education

Project Backdrop

Observing the positive experiences of CARE pilot project-2008, Sir Jamsetji Tata Trust Mumbai (JTT), Mumbai gave an extension of the same project for the next three years (2009-2011). Like other education intervention projects, CARE project also had been focusing on ensuring right to elementary education to all children irrespective of their caste, creed, gender, social status. However, keeping in view, the future sustainability, community participation was given due importance. FACE also firmly believed in the fact that bridge course (a strategy adapted to mainstream children to formal schools) is not a standalone project. The aim is not only to address education needs of out of school children of some selected villages but to make these project villages fully literate with no children staying out of school. A vision like this can only be realized when the local community, parents understand the need for formal education, want their village schools to perform well; and at the same time teachers of the formal schools also want no children to be out of school in their school catchment area & dedicate their time in quality teaching. Similarly, it was also crucial to see that such positive change in the mind set of the villagers could not be only with regard to education but also with regard to other basic facilities like health, infrastructure, employment etc. Hence, it calls for community empowerment and the latter can usher in, if the community is sensitized, made to understand about their rights and are trained to voice their opinion, demand for their rights. Hence, keeping in mind all these above stated facts, FACE under guidance and support of JTT, Mumbai designed the second phase of the CARE project. The CARE project includes;

(1) Community Empowerment through participation & training

(2) Intervention in formal schools to ensure quality learning

(3) Addressing needs of out of school children especially girls

(4) Establishing linkage between community & government

(5) Advocacy

(6) Creating convergence among all stakeholders. The target group of the project is disadvantaged children between age group 8-13 years in the targeted 10 villages in Pakur Block of Pakur District.

Strength of the project

Child Tracking System

Putting child tracking system in place seems to be an innovative approach that not only helps to reduce child drop-out but also gives one a better understanding with regard to children academics, behaviors, health & extra- curricular activity or children dropping out from schools. It helps to see us through a microscope the reasons for being outside school, family impediments is a school environment, working environment is a school environment and more over mapping adds to it a spatial aspect. Thus the child tracking system followed by FACE in the project gave us a holistic view on the status of out of school children, reasons for them to stay out of schools, available amenities in the existing formal schools, mapping of status of girl children in the project villages. It has helped FACE staff to gain better clarity. Instead of delivering outputs mechanically, the educators, out reach workers & project staff of FACE understood the underlying causes and worked towards addressing those instead of just giving efforts to put out of school children in bridge course centers and mainstreaming them in formal schools.

Community Participation

FACE organized regular interaction & sanitization meetings at community levels for parents, youth groups, Saraswati Bahinis (a formal school based mothers group), community groups to empower them. It resulted in bringing a change in the attitude of the community. Community now understands the importance of formal education, role of teachers in their children's life, their duty as citizens to make various Government Departments like Education, Health, Police, Social Welfare, Rural Development more proactive and need to establish a linkage between various government departments like education, health, labour etc. Many of the villagers non-hesitantly went to a Government Departments to seek information regarding existing welfare schemes & shared the same with their peers.

Positive attitude of Formal Schools

A change in the mind set of the teachers of the formal school teachers could be noticed. A child friendly academic atmosphere in the schools gradually ushered in. The teachers seemed to have mellowed down and portrayed a friendlier image to the community & their children. Understanding the fact that, the children of bridge course centers are no way less competent than the regular school going children was itself a great radical change in the mind set of the teachers. Similarly, showing respect to FACE bridge course educators for helping over aged out of school children acquire required competencies within a short duration should also be viewed positively.

Impact

The community was working as a partner with FACE for strengthening the project.
The community was in the process of being empowered.
The community started voicing their opinion in various public forum.
A demand for education could be noticed among the community members.
Formal schools teachers became more proactive and felt it is discredit on their part if children stay out of school in the school catchment area.
The government sought advice from FACE to design strategies to address education needs
of out of school children found in other pockets of the district.
 

 

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