Our instructors pay close attention to each child.
This year, your support has helped nearly 6,000 children go to school this year! Below, you’ll find a brief report on how our Shiksha Kendra (SK – formally known as the Non-Formal Education) project has done this year (March ’12 – April ’13). Our staff have been working hard with local communities to increase access to, and the quality of, education and to persuade parents that giving their children, especially girls, an education is in everyone’s long-term interest. In truth, this is a tough battle – a recent survey in 14 of some of our most remote and impoverished villages concluded that 53% of the children (aged 6-14) are not enrolled in school. In fact, 36% of them have never even attended a single day of school. It is in this context that we are working to provide schooling for the thousands of out-of-school children in southern Rajasthan.
Seva Mandir currently runs 173 Shiksha Kendras (SKs) in the 5 blocks (subdivisions of a district) we work in. These schools offer a primary education that is catered to out-of-school children. The majority of these children are first-generation learners, meaning their parents have never gone to school. The main goal of the SKs is to provide a quality education that enables children to confidently and smoothly transition into government schools.
Some key figures for this year are:
- 5,791 children attended the SKs
- 44% of the students are girls
- One-third of the students are newly enrolled, marking a great success in our ability to reach out to convince local parents to enroll their children
- 110 more children are attending the SKs as compared to last year.
Progress in Learning:
In order to monitor the progress of the children, we conduct a standardized test twice a year. The learning levels have been categorized from 0-3, and roughly corresponding to government classes. While we still have not conducted the final test for this year, a comparison of our latest midterm exam with last year’s results shows significant progress. The proportion of children in Levels 2 and 3 increased by 15%, reflecting the greater efficacy of our teachers who have been receiving continuous training.
Enrollment in Government Schools:
As mentioned in the introduction, the main goal of the SKs is to get children enrolled into government schools once their basic competencies in Hindi and math have been achieved. This year, 1,114 children from our Shiksha Kendras were mainstreamed into government schools. About two-thirds of these children were accepted into Classes 5 and 6, which is a strong indicator that our instructors are effective teachers.
Investing in our Instructors:
Nearly all the instructors at the SKs are local community members who often belong to the same village they work in. Most of our instructors have only studied up to 8th or 9th class, so Seva Mandir provides regular and rigorous training to enhance their capabilities and skills. This year there were 28 training sessions held in all five blocks.
In addition, 8 Seva Mandir staff members participated in a two-week teacher exchange program with an NGO in the Netherlands, where they received new ideas on how to make changes and improvements with concrete, long-term plans.
As you can see, this year has shown an improvement in enrollment and quality of education received at the Shiksha Kendras. The Shiksha Kendra model has been incredibly successful in integrating hundreds of well-trained children into government schools. The ambition of this project is matched only by the commitment of our staff, who are working tirelessly to create a much-needed revolution in education in our region.
Please feel free to comment and/or rate our report, your feedback means everything to us!
On behalf of all of our staff, instructors, and the thousands of children you are helping, I would like to sincerely thank you for your commitment to our cause!