Be! Schools launches in 70 schools in Bihar with stories that teach skills to 30,000 children
School is back in session and Be! Schools has launched in Bihar to teach children in Grade 9 entrepreneurial skills! We are starting with 70 schools in Patna, and expanding to 1,000 schools in the state this year. Leading up to the launch, the Going to School team trained eight Master Trainers to conduct teacher training sessions. In late July, we conducted a 5-day training with 170 government school teachers to help them teach Be! Books and conduct entrepreneurial skills projects in their classrooms. Eventually we will train 2,000 teachers across Bihar.
Teachers told us over and over that they’d never been to a training like this, and they were excited to teach these books and skills to their classes.
Kamini Singh, teacher at BMP Higher Secondary School in Patna, told us “So far we had not been trained to teach children in ways that would interest them. Even the most absent minded children love stories and enjoy games. That’s why children will never find these books and activities tiresome.”
“I like the new approach of group discussion and questioning method where different opinions can be expressed.” Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary from Patna High School, Gardanibagh said.
“Like children, adults also love colours. The stories attracted everyone and I found the colours exciting.” Sangeeta Sinha, P N Anglo Sanskrit Senior Secondary School, Naya Tola, Patna
After the training, several teachers called our offices to urge us to send books quickly. Our Master Trainers personally delivered books to 70 schools—with a total enrollment of over 30,000 students in Grade 9. Some schools have over 1200 students in Grade 9! Traveling through monsoon rains, the Master Trainers were welcomed by principals and teachers with steaming cups of ginger tea.
Master Trainers will continue visiting each school in the upcoming week to further guide teachers and collect completed skills projects that allow children to practice skills in their real lives.
We are delighted to be able to release 50 beautiful books that teach entrepreneurlal skills to the poorest children into 1,000 Government Schools in Bihar (India's poorest state) reaching 300,000 children, that's 150,000 girls in Grade 9.
Design innovation at work: for the first time epic graphic novels will teach children skills in India through the school system.
Each week children will read one story for two hours and then complete a skills activity in their community. From mapping your social network to the Chief Minister to figuring out who in your Family Tree is an entrepreneur, the activites are fun and relevant to children's lives. Once a week we collect these activities from children and scan them into a central database.
From June 15, 2012 onwards we'll be able to tell you week on week how many girls completed activities, what businesses they wish to start and which skills they think they need the most.
These schools are not online nor do many of them have electricity, so in 2012, it's still only a book that reaches the poorest children in India.
We look forward to sharing our emerging stories with you.
Be! an Entrepreneur is a multimedia skills education initiative to teach children in India, who live in poverty, entrepreneurial skills so they can use their education to transform their lives. 7 epic movies, 50 books (each teaches an entrepreneurial skill) and a 15 part radio series inspire millions of young people from low-income groups in India to choose to become entrepreneurs and to pioneer enterprises that solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives. Be! makes ‘going to school’ relevant to employment – encouraging India’s poorest children to stay in school to learn skills that will help them get a job, or ‘create a job’ by choosing to become entrepreneurs.
Going to School is honored to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Education, Government of Bihar for pioneering this project in 1,000 secondary schools in the state –reaching 300,000 children in grade 9.
Objectives of the Programme
- To teach entrepreneurial/employability skills to 300,000 children in grade 9 in 1,000 secondary schools through 50 Be! skills books. Be! skills books make education relevant to employment, with the aim of reducing the dropout rate, so when children leave school after completing the Be! skills program, they have learned 50 skills, from making a plan and a budget, to negotiation, communication and problem-solving. Young people are then aware of the skills they have learned and can be better prepared to get a job or choose to ‘create a job’ i.e. become an entrepreneur
- To create a supportive environment, state-wide, for young people to choose to become entrepreneurs, to use mass media, movies and radio shows to change attitude of parents and decision makers in young people’s lives towards entrepreneurship; to view it as a viable career choice for young people and to support young people in that choice.
The Problems Be! Addresses
School education is currently not relevant to getting a job or creating a job.
Employability skills are not yet taught at scale to young people age 10-16 in school.
Young people drop out of school, unskilled.
While the economy is growing, it cannot create enough jobs for everyone – statistics point to 210 million young people under the age of 30 by the year 2020 that will be in search of jobs.
At the same time India faces pressing problems of water, waste, energy, housing and sanitation, further exacerbated by a growing population.
One solution to unemployment and solving local problems is mass entrepreneurship.
Young people need to be taught employability skills in school to be able to get a job or create a job once they have completed their education.
Further, young people currently to do not have access to the information they need to become self-employed. Young people need access to skills training information and finance, in their own languages and relevant to their local areas.
Roll Out & Monitoring
GTS will set up an office in Patna, the state capital.
Training of 2,000 teachers from 1,000 secondary schools by GTS team.
Print run of 50 Be! books, each teaching an entrepreneurial skill
Teachers will leave the training with sets of Be! books
300,000 children in grade 9 in 1,000 schools will read one book each week and complete a related skill activity each week.
GTS team will collect the completed activities each week and scan and upload them into an IT monitoring system. The activities will help us monitor the training in schools as well as understand children’s comprehension of each skill.
Be! movies and radio shows on local channels will spread awareness on the presence of Be! books in schools and create a supportive environment for children to choose to become entrepreneurs when they grow up.
Be! an Entrepreneur is a multimedia skills education initiative to teach children in India, who live in poverty, entrepreneurial skills so they can use their education to transform their lives. 10 epic movies, 50 books (each teaches an entrepreneurial skill) and a 15 part radio series to inspire millions of young people from low income groups in India to choose to become entrepreneurs and to pioneer enterprises that solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives. Be! makes ‘going to school’ relevant to employment – encouraging India’s poorest children to stay in school to learn skills that will help them get a job, or ‘create a job’ by choosing to become entrepreneurs.
Going to School (GTS) would very much like to work in Bihar, running the project and managing it for 15 months, after which GTS would work to ensure the sustainability of the project, by training key Government counterparts to run the project as part of the system.
The plan is to roll-out Be! books in 1,000 secondary schools in Bihar.
- Training of 2,000 teachers (two from each school) for three months.
- Teachers will leave the training with sets of 50 Be! Books.
- For one year, two hours every week teachers will read one Be! book i.e. teach one entrepreneurial skill per week.
- Children will read one book once a week. Each Be! book has an in-built activity that children complete, once a week,
- The activities will be submitted to GTS and will allow us to constantly monitor the program, qualitatively and quantitatively.
In November, 2011 GTS team travelled to Bihar and visited Government schools to explore how 50 Be! Skills books would be implemented in 1,000 Secondary Schools in Bihar, from teacher training to monitoring, with the aim of beginning teacher training in early 2012.
My Second Hand Shoes: A Be! Story
Progress Report April 2011
‘Be! an Entrepreneur’ is a multimedia, skills-education project to teach young girls in India, who live in poverty, entrepreneurial skills so they can use their education to transform their lives.
10 epic movies, 50 books (each teaching an entrepreneurial skill) and a 15 part radio series inspire millions of young girls from low-income groups in India to choose to become entrepreneurs and to pioneer enterprises that to solve the social, economic and environmental problems they face in their lives.
Be! makes going to school relevant to employment – encouraging India’s poorest girls to stay in school to learn entrepreneurial skills that will help them to get a job, or ‘create a job’ by choosing to become entrepreneurs, after they finish school.
Be! Books are a work in progress
50 Be! Skills books teach 50 entrepreneurial/employability skills to young people age 12-18 from low-income group in Government schools in India.
Each Be! book teaches an entrepreneurial skill to children, from identifying a problem/ opportunity, to making a plan, a budget, building relationships and the power of communication and persistence. Children will read one book a week and complete a skill activity that allows for constant monitoring of the program – the activities show how children understand the ‘skill’ in their context. Activities range from mapping your social network that will get you to the chief minister to making a children’s newspaper to interviewing local entrepreneurs about their businesses.
Be! Skills books are based on extensive research with over 1,000 children across India to map the entrepreneurial skills they have and use in their everyday lives.
Be! books portray regional stories and are in local languages.
Book 1-35: Explore key entrepreneurial skills with girls: from identifying problems, to making a plan, taking initiative to building relationships, identifying resources to managing finances (financial literacy).
Are graphic novels, blue-prints of 15 sustainable social enterprises that solve local problems and generate income. These books repeat the entrepreneurial skills learned in the previous 35 books
The books that have been completed are:
Book 1: Entrepreneurs are Everywhere
Entrepreneurial Skill – Introduces the concept of ‘entrepreneurs’ and how they are everywhere.
19 year old Jeevan works on a train and travels across India. This book is a series of letters he sends to his younger sister Sarita who stays in the village. Letters are about entrepreneurs, who they are, where they are and what they are doing.
Book 2: My Family Tree - Everyone in My Family is an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurial Skill – Establishes that though entrepreneurs seem ‘new’, they go back generations; even in your family tree.
Young Seema wants a swing and pesters her grandmother for one. But instead her grandmother tells her a story of all the people in her family and the wonderful, entrepreneurial things they have done. Inspired, Seema figures out a way to make her own swing.
Book 3: Getting to the Bottom of It
Entrepreneurial Skill – Identifying problems and interconnections between problems
Seema, a 12 year old girl from a village moves to a slum in a city and meets her blind cousin Pawan. Seema becomes Pawan’s eyes as they travel through the slum—and later the village—discovering the problems of waste, water, housing, health, migration all around them.
Book 4: My Uncle, the Bridge Builder
Entrepreneurial Skill – Supply and demand, identifying that businesses bridge gap between supply and demand
Girish Uncle, a bridge-builder who has built over 90 low-cost bridges, sends his journal to his niece Afreen to help her understand the gaps and needs in villages like hers. Girish Uncle’s journal shows Afreen the importance of filling these gaps and connecting people and places.
Book 5: Three Girl Detectives and the Case of the Missing Village
Entrepreneurial Skill – Inquisitive
Three young girls realize that their village is not on the map and undertake the journey to find out why this is so. Through research, gathering information and asking questions they finally succeed in putting their village on the map.
Book 6: Bijli Brings a Carnival to her Village
Entrepreneurial Skill – Building Relationships and Social Connections
Bijli goes to a carnival in a neighboring village and now wants it to come to her village so that other young girls too can enjoy it. But to make this happen she must get signatures of 200 villagers. Bijali builds relationships and uses her network to convince people and realizes how her social connections help her.
Book 24: Second-Hand Shoes
Entrepreneurial Skill – Marketing, Market Research and Advertising
Mishti is a young woman from the slum who sees how many people from her community don’t have proper shoes, or any shoes at all. She starts a second-hand shoe business to fill this gap. But how do you sell old shoes? Mishti realizes that it’s all about marketing—understanding your market, setting the right price, packaging, presentation and advertising. (A few designed spreads from the book have been attached)
Book 40: Seher’s Bolt of Lightning Business
Seher brings light to her slum when she starts an enterprise of renting solar lanterns to street vendors and homes in her neighbourhood, thereby solving the problem of lack of electricity and dependence on kerosene. Through her journey she battles the system and a corrupt slum lord before finally succeeding.
Book 41: Phulwa Lights a Bulb
A village in rural Bihar changes the way they live after dark when Phulwa, a young girl who is a mechanic not only brings light to the village using rice husk, but also brings an enterprise to rural India.
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