We continue to move along steadily in improving enrollment and attendance in our area of work. But, it's not just about numbers! In this update, we present two success stories - fruits of our efforts in this project.
***** Rehabilitating an Out-of-School Child *****
Nine-year old Akshay* (name changed) was enrolled in Grade 1 of his village school in Kordaha. He attended school regularly in Grade 1 and a few months in to Grade 2 but discontinued going to school from April 2013. His father’s excessive alcohol consumption and violent behavior at home affected Akshay and led to him abandoning school completely. As a result, his name was removed from the school register in the academic year of 2013-14.
During the door-to-door survey, Chetna Vikas (CV) team found that Akshay had dropped out of school. The CV team inquired about his past and met with the school headmaster to discuss his situation. The head master assured that he would re-enroll Akshay Now, there was a need to improve the family environment that was affecting Akshay's interest to attend school. The CV team met his parents multiple times and sensitized them about their parental responsibility towards their son's future. They eventually wanted the CV team to educate Akshay and give him skills to earn a livelihood.
CV team then had to counsel Akshay many times before he finally agreed to go back to school. He was re-enrolled in Grade 3 in February 2014, and the headmaster provided great support by giving him extra time for continuing in his class. Now he is a regular student and performing well and enjoying his study and leisure time with friends.
***** A School Management Committee President Takes Control of His School *****
ILP & Chetna Vikas (CV) started the intervention in Tilakpur village in Dumka district, Jharkhand in April 2013. The Upper Primary School had 68 children attending from 3 different communities. The school also had two para teachers - temporary teachers appointed by the Government. The school had lots of problems - teachers were not attending on a regular basis, not teaching properly, not implementing the school development activities, and not showing the details of the school accounts to the School Management Committee (SMC) members. The children were irregular to school because the teachers did not maintain a consistent schedule.
Mr. Ramdeo Yadayji was the SMC vice-president of this school and then became the president in 2012. The CV team facilitated regular SMC meetings in this school but Mr. Ramdeo was not actively engaged initially. The CV team spent time to provide him more information and training regarding his roles and responsibilities that led him to become an active participant in the SMC meetings as the president. He started supervising the school by visiting every other day. During his visits he observed that teachers came late to school, were not following the timetable, and were never teaching the children.
He asked the teachers to change their attitude for the sake of a better future of the children. The two teachers did not heed his advice. So one day in in October 2013, Mr. Ramdeo locked up the school before the teachers arrived. All the villagers actively supported Ramdeo for his courageous move. When teachers reached school, the villagers did not allow them to enter the school until they admitted to their mistakes and promised to make amends. The teachers felt humiliated and promised to ensure better performance!!
Currently (May 2014), the teachers continue to come to school at the right time. Ramdeo also participates in the School Development Planning (SDP), and shows the school accounts data to all the SMC members (transparency & accountability). He also supervises the distribution of the mid-day meals in the school.
Led by Ramdeo’s passionate and courageous leadership, the SMC of this village received an award of recognition during an SMC Maha Sammelan (a state-level SMC forum) organized by Jharkhand RTE Forum in March 2014.