Bridge Course Camp
FACE organized residential bridge course camps for a
period of 9 (nine) months under Education Guarantee
Scheme & Alternative Innovative Education (EGS & AIE)
component of SSA with support from district SSA office –
JEP, Pakur to reach out to 100 Paharia girls children (a
primitive tribe residing in the district) of the village
Chappadanga located in the Pakur block of Pakur
Paharias are one of the most backward primitive tribes
of India, who primarily thrive on forest product
collection & farming. Education – as far as going to
school is concerned has never been a priority area of
these tribes. Reaching out to all children between age
group of 6 to 14 yeas is one of primary aim of SSA.
Hence, FACE felt the best option is to expose these
children gradually to a school like atmosphere.
Residential bridge camp was the appropriate option as it
acts as a transit centre bridging the gap between the
freedom based home atmosphere to a discipline based
school atmosphere. It enabled the children to acquire
some popular socially accepted behavior that a child is
expected to follow in a formal school. RBC instilled
discipline, attention, co-operative behavior, skills to
manage time etc. among these tribal girls. Hence, FACE
understood that RBCs were more than residential learning
centers. It encompasses parameters like ushering in
behavioral change among children, discovering strengths
of each child, establishing linkage with Community,
Schools & Government etc.
Like, RBCs, here in NRBCs also children are taught
through an accelerated teaching learning process based
on a condensed curriculum (Prayas) designed by JEPC,
Ranchi within a specific time duration. The principles
of multilevel teaching learning processes were adopted
to address varied learning needs of girls of different
age groups. A combined approach of group learning, peer
learning and self study helped educators to manage
classes better. Once the children acquired age
appropriate minimum competencies they were mainstreamed
in the local schools in their native villages.
Strength of the Programme
Process of Acclimatization
The tribal girls of Paharia community who once used to
spend time moving in the forests collecting firewood
were admitted to RBC that acted as a transit home or a
satellite school. The success of the project lies in the
fact that instead of focusing on academic aspects from
initial days the tribal children were given enough space
to get acclimatized to a routine based life. Unlike
girls of other communities, these girls were more
freedom loving, timid and came with lots of inhibitions.
The camp tried to instill some much required behavioral
traits among the girl children so that they can get
better adjusted to the formal schools.
Incorporation of non scholastic activities
FACE took initiative to introduce many co-curricular
activities like dance, drama, drawing, craft work,
elocution. These activities were practiced daily in the
centre as a therapy. It helped many of the girls to
release their pent up feelings, express their hidden
potentialities, unused energy through these activities.
Often, children were made to perform these activities in
front of audience (school teachers, community members,
office staff) to build their confidence, give exposure
to outer world.
Appreciation & recognition enhanced self esteem of these
Sound implementation of academic inputs
The educators of RBCs were able to successfully
implement the principles of multi-level teaching
learning method. It enabled us to address the multiple
learning needs of girls within a short duration.
Learning competency based group formation and movement
of children between the groups as and when required
helped the children to learn faster. Introduction of
peer learning & self study enabled teachers to give time
to learners with learning difficulties.
Understanding the Ethos of mainstreaming
Internalization of the fact that “mainstreaming” is not
just admitting children to school but it includes
various other parameters has made the project
successful. Mainstreaming includes bringing forth
behavioral change among the children, weaning away
children from work, establishing linkage with the
community, monetary and time adjustment of family
members subsequent to the withdrawal of child laborers,
considering the RBC as a feeder school to selected
where children would be mainstreamed, changing mind set
of the teachers , post-mainstreaming adjustment by the
children in routine based school life, retention of
mainstreamed children in schools etc.
Impact of RBC
Change in the mindset of the community
Paharia tribal community who earlier had little faith in
formal education started gaining it gradually. A
willingness to send other siblings to school could also
be noticed. Mothers gave importance to monthly parents
meeting and attended it. They were impressed by the fact
that their children were also able to read books,
perform mainstream dances and recite poems in front of
government officials. Some even started dreaming about
how to give a secured life to their girls.
Withdrawal of children involved in labour
Many children who were involved in labour like mining
(in stone quarries, coal mines) and bidi making were
withdrawn by the parents from work to put them in RBCs.
This radical change in the attitude of the parents
deserves mention. As parents they started making
sacrifices by taking up extra work, cutting expenditure
during festivals. These facts prove that the community
started having faith in the formal school system.
Belief in bridge course
The formal school teachers who earlier were apprehensive
about the condensed curriculum–bridge course started
believing in the fact that children can be made to
acquire competencies with a short duration if taught
scientifically applying correct teaching learning
principles. Overage, having been not gone to school ever
does not act as the impediment.