Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Why should we adopt schools?

Majority of Indians are the products of Government schools. These schools are a linchpin of the Indian educational system, accounting for 70% of Pre-Primary and Primary Schools and Secondary Schools. They have a great penetration into the very interiors of our country. We find them in hilly areas, unreachable islands, tribal areas and everywhere. In Karnataka alone we have 43,447 Government Primary Schools and 3,029 Government High Schools.

But, at a country level, still nearly 300 million people in the age group 7 years and above are illiterate in the country. 42 million children in the age-group 6-14 years, do not attend school. Only 47 out of 100 children enrolled in class I reach class VIII, putting the dropout rate at 52.79 per cent. Today, as many as two-thirds of those eligible for secondary and senior secondary education remain outside the school system. The gross enrolment rate for elementary education in 2003-04 was 85 percent, but for secondary education, the enrolment figure stood at 39 percent. In the state of Andhra Pradesh, Only two out of 10 children in Class I go on to Class X. In Karnataka alone, there are an estimated 2.5 million children who are not enrolled or dropped out from schools.

Such statistics are highly unacceptable for a country like India where majority of the children live. Children are its assets and it cannot achieve development unless its children are provided with good educational opportunities.
Systemic factors like lack of teachers (especially female), non-availability of teachers in remote rural, hilly and tribal areas, high teacher absenteeism, large scale teacher vacancies, inadequate school infrastructure, and inadequate allocation of resources on education to meet the expenditure, irregular classes, overcrowded classrooms, and traditional methods of rote learning – have diminished the quality of teaching and reduced interest among the students for education and thus resulted in all such statistics mentioned above.

So, there is a great need to bridge these gaps in order to achieve 100 % literacy and 0% drop outs till class X. Its not the responsibility of Government alone to do so. It’s the joint responsibility of Government and the citizens to improve the situation. The situation demands for a huge public private partnership. Philanthropists, NGOs, Universities and Corporate should adopt the schools to bridge the gaps that are mentioned and convert them to model school to achieve the mission “100 % literacy and 0% drop outs till class X”

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Project Plan format

For Project plan format, Please see the document on link

Steps involved in school adoption program


Vision of school adoption program is to convert backward rural and urban Government schools into Model Schools in 3 years of time so that they are on par with the best run city schools in terms of infrastructure and performance.


1. Easy access to high quality education for underprivileged rural and urban school childern

2. Bridge the knowledge, economic and opportunity divide.

Steps involved in school adoption program

1. Identification of different schools which can be adopted to convert them to model schools
2. Selection of schools priority wise
3. Priliminary talks with school management and parents committee about our idea of adoption
4. Make school improvement plans to make the school a model school in 3 years
5. Reach a consensus on the improvement plan with school management and parents committee and finalise the plan
6. Tying up with other alliance partners
7. Formation of Model School committee with a representation from Nirmaan, school management, Parents committee and other local intellectuals
8. Staffing
9. MoU with Govt for partenrship/implementation/resources
10. Meeting resource gaps
11. Project implementation
12. Evaluation on quantifiable goals through proper feedback mechanism
13. Achieving self sufficiency

Monday, October 8, 2007

Education Policies and Programs

National Policy On Education, Government of India

National Policy on Education

Educational policy and progress have been reviewed in the light of the goal of national development and priorities set from time to time. In its Resolution on the National Policy on Education in 1968, an emphasis on quality improvement and a planned, more equitable expansion of educational facilities and the need to focus on the education of girls was stressed.

About a decade ago and a half later, the National Policy on Education (NPE-1986) was formulated which was further updated in 1992. The NPE 1986 provides for a comprehensive policy framework for the development of education upto the end of the century and a Plan of Action (POA) 1992, assigning specific responsibilities for organising, implementing and financing its proposals

Policy Framework

India's commitment to the spread of knowledge and freedom of thought among its citizens is reflected in its Constitution. The Directive Principle contained in Article 45 enjoins that " the State shall endeavour to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years". Article 29 (i) provides that any citizen having a distinct language, script, special care of the economic and educational interests of the underprivileged sections, particularly, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is laid down as an obligation of the State under article 46.

Though education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution, the State Governments play a very major role in the development of education particularly in the primary and the secondary education sectors.

Structure and Progress of Education in India

The focus in on the broad dimensions and magnitude of the structure, organisation and progress in education. Further it also highlights growth and priority areas in education in India that point to the challenges of the future. There are about 888 thousands educational institutions in the country with an enrolment of about 179 millions. Elementary Education System in India is the second largest in the World with 149.4 millions children of 6-14 years enrolled and 2.9 million teachers. This is about 82% of the children in the age group.

Structure of School Education

A uniform structure of school education, the 10+2 system has been adopted by all the States and Union Territories of India. However, within the States and the UTs, there remains variations in the number of classes constituting the Primary, Upper Primary, High and Higher Secondary school stages, age for admission to class I, medium of instruction, public examinations, teaching of Hindi and English, number of working days in a year, academic session, vacation periods, fee structure, compulsory education etc.

Stages of School Education in India

A.The Primary Stage consists of Classes I-V, i.e., of five years duration, in 20 States/UTs namely Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi and Karaikal and Yanam regions of Pondicherry. The primary stage consists of classes I-IV in Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Mahe region of Pondicherry

B.The Middle Stage of education comprises Classes VI-VIII in as many as 18 States.Uts viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi and Karaikal region of Pondicherry; Classes V-VII in Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Mahe region of Pondicherry and Classes VI-VII in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Yanam region of Pondicherry. In Nagaland Classes V – VIII constitute the upper primary stage.

C.The Secondary Stage consists of Classes IX-X in 19 States/UTs. Viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Punjab, Rajasthan , Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Delhi and Karaikal region of Pondicherry. The High School stage comprises classes VIII to X in 13 States/UTs viz., Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Orissa, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Mahe & Yanam regions of Pondicherry. However, the Higher Secondary / Senior Secondary stage of school comprising classes XI-XII (10+2 pattern) is available in all the States/UTs though in some States/UTs these classes are attached to Universities/Colleges.

The minimum age for admission to class I of the Primary School stage is generally 5+ or 6+ years. In 22 States/UTs the minimum age for admission to Class I is 5+ years and in 7 States/UTs the minimum age for admission is 6+ years. There is no age restriction in the case of Mizoram. In Gujarat, the minimum age for admission is 5+ years (voluntary) and 6+ years (compulsory). In Lakshadweep, the minimum age for admission is 5 ½ years.

Medium of Instruction

Mother tongue or regional language is the medium of instruction at the primary stage of education in most of the States/UTs. Facilities for studying in a medium other than regional language vary considerable in different States and Union Territories.

Teaching of Hindi

Apart from Hindi speaking States, teaching of Hindi is compulsory in most of the non-Hindi speaking States/UTs, though the classes from which the teaching of Hindi is compulsory differ from State to State. Teaching of Hindi is not compulsory in the States of Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Karaikal region of Pondicherry.

Teaching of English

Teaching of English is compulsory in all the States/UTs, except Bihar. However, the classes in which teaching of English is compulsory differs from State to State. In general, it is compulsory in Classes VI-X in most of the States/UTs.
Public Examinations

In all the States/UTs Public Examinations are conducted at the end of X an XII Classes by the respective State Boards of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. The minimum age for the Secondary School Examination varies from 14+ to 16+ years in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. In Mizoram, the minimum age for secondary school examination is 13+ years. Other States/UTs either do not have age restriction or have not prescribed any age restriction. The minimum age for higher Secondary School Examination varies from 16+ to 18+ years in Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. In other States/UTs, either there is no age restriction prescribed or if it exists, it has not been indicated. In some of the States/UTs, the first Public Examination is also conducted at the Middle stage of School Education.

Number of working days

The number of working days of School Education in a year is generally more than 200 days in all the States/UTs.

Academic session

The academic session begins from different months of the year in the different States and Union Territories. However, in most of the States, the long vacation periods are availed in the summer season while in some of the hilly States, these fall in the winter months.

Compulsory education

Compulsory education has been enforced in four States and Union Territories at the primary stage of education while in eight States/UTs there is compulsory education covering the entire elementary stage of education. As many as 20 States/UTs have not introduced any measure of compulsion upto the year 1997-98.

Free education

A majority of States and Union Territories have introduced free education in Classes I-XII of their schools.

Tution fees per annum per child in govt schools

In the States/UTs where education is not free for classes IX and above, the annual fee varies considerably from the highest level of Rs. 360/- for classes XI and XII in the case of Meghalaya to the lowest at Rs. 48/- in the case of Assam.

Financing of Education

From 1968 onwards, goal has been to set apart 6% of National Income on education. In spite of resource constraints as well as competing priorities, the Budgetary expenditure on education by Centre & States as percentage of Gross National Product has steadily increased from 0.8% in 1951-52 to 3.3% in 1994-95.

Para 11.4 of NPE, 1986 states "that the investment on education be gradually increased to reach a level of 6% of the National Income as early as possible. Since the actual level of investment has remained far short of that target, it is important that greater determination is shown now to find the funds for the programmes laid down in this policy. While actual requirements will be computed from time to time on the basis of monitoring and review, the outlay on education will be stepped up to ensure that during the 8th Five year Plan and onwards it will uniformly exceed 6% of the national income". The total budgetary expenditure on Education by the Education Departments of the Centre and States has increased from Rs. 644.6 millions in 1951-52 to Rs. 300,000millions in 1995-96. In terms of its share in total budgetary expenditure, it has increased from 7.9% in 1951-52 to 11.1% in 1995-96.

There are, at present 130 plan schemes in the Department with a total Eighth Plan outlay of Rs. 74430 Millions. The total plan outlay of the Department for the year 1996-97 is Rs. 33827 millions. There are 18 Centrally Sponsored Schemes which account for 65.7% of the total plan outlay. Mid-Day-Meal Scheme is the major Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 1996-97 outlay of Rs.14,000 millions. Other major Centrally Sponsored Schemes are Operation Blackboard, Non-formal Education, Teacher Education, Post Literacy and Continuing Education and Vocational Education with 1996-97 Outlay of Rs. 2790 millions, Rs. 1582.5 millions, Rs. 1170 millions, Rs. 755 millions and Rs. 820 millions respectively.

Department of Elementary Education, Government of India


Since independence, the central and state governments have been expanding the provision of primary formal and non-formal education to realise the goal of Universilisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The challenge now is to sustain and deepen current reforms in education and encourage local planning and management of strategies for expanding and improving primary education.

With a view to cushioning the impact of rising costs of text books and exercise books, the government has exempted writing and printing paper supplied to all State Text Book Corporations from excise duty. It is expected that this would make school text books more affordable for students from weaker sections of society.

Removal of systemic deficiencies in the implementation of UEE and forging ahead necessitates the creation of informed public opinion and a facilitative environment akin to that of the Total Literacy Campaign. This has to be achieved through effective and sustained advocacy, massive community mobilisation and consciousness building. With this perspective, a national programme of media publicity and advocacy has been planned. The programme will target: i) teachers and all those involved in education of children; ii) students and parents of students, particularly non-literate parents; and iii) community opinion leaders.

The Kasturba Gandhi Shiksha Yojana, a programme to establish residential schools for girls in all the districts which have a particularly low female literacy rate has been announced. A sum of Rs. 2500 million has been provided in this year's budget. The central government has also decided to grant financial incentives and scholarships for the girl child born in families living below the poverty line.

Several central and state level initiatives have been in operation from the early 1980s. While the design of these projects vary substantially, all of them address the objectives and strategies of the National Policy on Education 1986. They pay special attention to increasing girls' enrolment, improving educational outcomes, strengthening community involvement, improving teaching and learning materials and providing in-service teacher training. The status of some of these initiatives are discussed below.

Operation Blackboard

This scheme launched in 1987, is aimed at improving the school environment and enhancing retention and learning achievement of children by providing minimum essential facilities in all primary schools. The scheme has brought about a remarkable quantitative and qualitative improvement in primary education. In all, 523,000 primary schools have been covered as originally envisaged. These schools have been provided with central assistance


Decentralised planning and management of elementary education is a goal set by the National Policy on Education, 1986. The Policy visualises direct community involvement in the form of Village Education Committees (VECs) for management of elementary education. The POA, 1992, emphasised micro planning as a process of designing a family-wise and child-wise plan of action by which every child regularly attends school or NFE centre, continues his or her education at the place suitable to him/her and completes at least eight years of schooling or its equivalent at the NFE centre.

The 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments provide for decentralisation of the activities and facilitate transfer of power and participation of the local self-government institutions or the Panchayati Raj Institutions. It has created a congenial ambience for the PRIs to play a more dynamic and proactive role. States are expected to evolve institutional arrangements both in rural and urban areas for undertaking these activities. These structures have been providing voice to women, Scheduled Castes and Tribes, minorities, parents and educational functionaries. They have also, been delegated with responsibilities with regard to location and relocation of existing primary and upper schools on the basis of micro planning and school mapping. In this regard, decentralisation of school management to grassroots level bodies is an important policy initiative.

During the 8th plan period several innovative efforts hove been made under the ongoing projects to establish decentralisation. For instance, the District Primary Education Programme has shifted the planning mechanism from the state to the district level, and Lok Jumbish has gone one step further by assigning decision making processes to a block level committee. At the village level, a VEC has the main responsibility for community mobilisation, school mapping, micro planning, renovation and construction of school buildings and improvement of pedagogical curriculum. In fact, the VECs of Shiksha Karmi schools have been activated as a result of the Lok Jumbish programme.

Since 1993-94, the scheme has been expanded to cover upper primary schools. More then 47,000 upper primary schools have been granted central assistance of Rs. 40,000 each for purchase of teaching- learning materials. Also, primary schools with enrolment exceeding 100 have been augmented with a third teacher. A Special Orientation Programme for Primary Teachers (SOPT) to facilitate optimum utilisation of materials supplied has also been launched to cover all primary school teachers in the country.

The total expenditure under the scheme from 1992-93 to 1995-96 has been Rs. 8,163 million. The outlay for 1996-97 is Rs. 2,910 million.

National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (School Meal Programme)

This scheme was launched on 15 August, 1995 to give a boost to UEE in terms of increasing enrolment, retention and attendance in primary classes by supplementing nutritional requirements of children attending primary schools. It is an ambitious scheme that has been operationalised throughout the country in a very short period. The programme envisages provision of nutritious and wholesome cooked meal of 100 gms of food grains per school day, free of cost, to all children in classes I-V by 1997-98.

During 1995-96, 378 districts, 225,000 schools and 33.5 million children have been covered with an expenditure of Rs. 4,412 million. In 1996-97, the scheme was extended to cover 55.4 million children with an expenditure of Rs. 8,110 million. The scheme has become fully operational in 1997-98 covering nearly 110 million children in primary classes. A positive impact on school enrolment and retention has been reported.

District Primary Education Programme

The DPEP launched in November, 1994 is conceived as a beachhead for overhauling the primary education system in India. The programme aims at operationalising the strategies for achieving UEE through district specific planning and disaggregated target setting. It draws upon the accumulated national experience of several state level initiatives that were started earlier. It moves away from the schematic piecemeal approach of the earlier programmes and takes a holistic view of primary education with emphasis on decentralised management, community mobilisation and district specific planning based on contextually and research based inputs.

The basic objectives of DPEP are:

- To provide all children with access to primary
education either in the formal system or through
the non-formal education (NFE) programme.

- To reduce differences in enrolment, dropout rates
and learning achievement among gender and
social groups to less than 5%.

- To reduce overall primary dropout rates for all
students to less than 10%.

- To raise average achievement levels by at least
25% over measured base line levels and
ensuring achievements of basic literacy and
numeracy competencies and a minimum of 40%
achievement levels in other competencies by
all primary school children.

The Government of India finances 85 % of the project cost as a grant to the DPEP State Implementation Societies and the concerned state government provides the rest. The central government's share is resourced by external funding. As of now, IDA has approved credit amounting to $260 million and $425 million under Phase-I and Phase-II respectively. The European Union (EU) is providing a grant of 150 million ECU. The ODA (UK) is extending a grant of $80.21 million. The grant from the Netherlands amounts to $25.8 million.

The first phase of the programme was launched in 42 districts in the states of Assam, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Madhya Pradesh. In the second phase, the programme has been launched in 80 districts of Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat and in Phase I States.

DPEP has been able to set up project management structures at district, state and national levels, create the environment and capacity for micro planning, take up the challenge of pedagogical innovation, create a responsive institutional base which includes both government and non-government institutions, enhance community participation and strengthen the process of catering to special focus groups such as tribals, scheduled castes, women and other marginalised sections.

The first phase of the programme is under evaluation. The initial trends of impact studies are very positive. DPEP has made a decisive impact on increasing enrolment, reducing repetition rates and improving class room processes.

While the DPEP has been targeting backward districts with female literacy below the national average and where TLCs have stirred up a demand for elementary education, several state level initiatives have shown tremendous potential. These are directed at improving literacy levels in the five low literacy states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Bihar Education Project

Bihar Education Project (BEP) was launched in 1991 with the express purpose of bringing about quantitative and qualitative improvement in the elementary system in Bihar.

The project lays emphasis on the education of deprived sections of society, such as SCs, STs and women. Participatory planning and implementation are crucial ingredients of the project.

A midterm review highlighted certain major achievements such as: a) a strong Mahila Samakhya component; b) organisation of VECs and community involvement in programme implementation at grassroots level; and c) non-formal education through NGOs. The review suggested:

- Consolidation of the programme in the existing
seven districts.

- Establishing strong linkages between BEP and the
education system in Bihar.

- Giving greater focus to the primary stage of
classes I-V.

- Building better linkages with the activities in other
states under DPEP and other programmes.

- Providing more emphasis to MLLs and teacher
training, and conducting periodic base line studies.

It has now been decided to extend the project to the second phase of two years duration. The total outlay for the second phase (1996-98) is estimated to be Rs. 613 million to be shared between UNICEF, Government of India and Government of Bihar as per the existing funding formula of 3:2:1. The total project outlay for BEP is Rs. 3600 million. It is proposed to merge the project with DPEP during the next five years.

Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Programme

A project "Education for All" prepared by the Government of Uttar Pradesh was approved by The World Bank in June, 1993. The project is currently in operation in 12 districts. It is planned to expand the coverage to 15 districts under DPEP-II. It has an outlay of Rs. 7,288 million spread over seven years. International Development Agency (IDA), the soft loan window of The World Bank, would provide a credit of US$163.1 million and the state government's share would be approximately 13 per cent of the total project cost.

The progress of implementation of the project so far has been satisfactory. The construction work of schools and Block Resource Centres is being completed as per schedule. Training materials for teacher trainers on DIETs have been prepared. The first cycle of in- service teacher training was completed in October, 1995. About 40,000 teachers have been trained.

Community Mobilisation and Participation

Many educational innovations of recent years are based on the strong foundation of community support and participation. When progress is discussed and analysed of different levels within the project, "people's acceptance and participation" is used as an indicator.

Mobilising the village community to take responsibility to ensure quality education for every child, is the core strategy of both Lok Jumbish (LJ) and Shikhsa Karmi Project (SKP) in their efforts to universalise primary education and deliver quality education. It would not be far removed from truth if we say that community involvement has been the key factor for the success of the two projects.

LJ has had a positive effect on the empowerment of locally elected people, especially on female representatives at village level, who are often active members of the LJ core teams or women's groups. The Village Education Committees(VECs), carefully formed and trained though environmental building activities in the LJ programme, are actively involved in school matters.

SKP has constituted VECs in 2000 villages to promote community involvement in primary education and encourage village level planning. The role of the VEC is to mobilise resources for maintenance, repair and construction of school infrastructure. The VEC also helps in determining the school calendar and school timings in consultation with the local community and Shiksha Karmis (educational workers).

The positive impact of the LJ and SKP, focusing on supporting the teachers and the students by involving, the village community in taking responsibility for all educational activities of the village school, is serving as a demonstration of how deeply rooted problems of education in India can be addressed. Wide dissemination of these innovative approaches could inspire other educational programmes all over India and the world.

Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project

The Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project (APPEP), practised in the south central state of Andhra Pradesh, with a female literacy of just 34 %, adopts a two-pronged strategy of improving classroom transaction by training teachers and giving a fillip to school construction activities. The project has trained an estimated 80,000 teachers in 23 districts and more than 3,000 teaching centres have become operational. The project is assisted by the ODA with an estimated outlay of Rs. 1,000 million in the 8th Plan.

Shiksha Karmi Project

The Shiksha Karmi Project (SKP) is being implemented since 1987, with assistance from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The project aims at universalisation and qualitative improvement of primary education in the remote and socio-economically backward villages of Rajasthan, with primary focus on girls. Since teacher absenteeism has been found to be a major obstacle in achieving the objective of UEE, the project uses the novel approach of substituting teachers in dysfunctional schools with local youth known as Shiksha Karmis who are provided with rigorous training and supervisory support. An important feature of this innovative project is the mobilisation and participation of the community in improving the functioning of primary schools.

The project is being implemented as an externally aided scheme with reimbursement of 90 % in Phase I and 50 % in Phase II, from SIDA. The project, with an outlay of around Rs.212 million in Phase I and Rs.490 million in

Phase II, places strong emphasis on vigorous and continuous in-service training.

The SKP also runs non-formal classes called Prehar Pathshalas-schools of convenient timings. For girls' education, Angan Pathshalas are being run in three blocks. The programme at present covers over 150,000 students in 1,785 schools and 3,520 Prehar Pathshalas, involving over 4,271 Shiksha Karmis.

The project is known for its open participative style and continuous experimentation to achieve its objectives. The approach, strategies and achievements of the SKP have attracted national and international recognition. The project is slated for a major expansion with SIDA assistance in the 9th Plan. The total projections for the 9th Plan are estimated to be Rs. 4260 million.

Lok Jumbish Project

Barely five years old, Lok Jumbish (LJ) has made an indelible impression in the primary education landscape of Rajasthan. The coverage of the project has extended to 75 blocks, covering a population of approximately 12 million. Significantly, it has also achieved a major breakthrough in welding together government agencies, teachers, NGOs, elected representatives and the people into an interactive group effort to promote universalisation of primary education.

The seven guiding principles of Lok Jumbish are:

- A process rather than a product approach

- Partnerships

- Decentralised functioning

- Participatory learning

- Integration with the mainstream education system

- Flexibility of management

- Creating multiple levels of leadership committed to
quality and mission mode.
Special focus has been given to environment building in all training programmes under LJ. This helps in the development of an understanding about issues involved in people's mobilisation, use of different media forms and clarity about the messages to be given to the people.

The first phase of the project was for a period of two years from 1992-94, with the expenditure shared between SIDA, Government of India and Government of Rajasthan in the ratio 3:2:1. The second phase stretches up to 1998, with the sharing modality remaining the same. The allocation for LJP is Rs.1100 million for Phases I and II and Rs.4000 million for Phase III. A Norwegian grant of Rs. 200 million is also available.

Universal elementary education in India

Constitutional, Legal and National Statements

The Constitutional, legal, and national policies and statements have time and again upheld the cause of Universal elementary education.

Constitutional mandate 1950- " The State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years."

National Policy of Education 1986 - " It shall be ensured that free and compulsory education of satisfactory quality is provided to all children up to 14 years of age before we enter the twenty first century."

Unnikrishnan Judgment 1993 - "Every child/citizen of this country has a right to free education until he completes the age of fourteen years"

Education Ministers' resolve 1998 - " Universal elementary education should be pursued in the mission mode. It emphasized the need to pursue a holistic and convergent approach towards UEE."

National Committee's Report on UEE in the mission mode 1999 - UEE should be pursued in a mission mode with a holistic and convergent approach with emphasis on preparation of District Elementary Education Plans for UEE. It supported the fundamental right to education and desired quick action towards operationalization of the mission mode towards UEE.

The Scenario so Far

Consequent to several efforts, India has made enormous progress in terms of increase in institutions, teachers, and students in elementary education. The number of schools in the country increased four fold - from 2,31,000 in 1950-51 to 9,30,000 in 1998-99, while enrolment in the primary cycle jumped by about six times from 19.2 million to 110 million. At the upper Primary stage, the increase of enrolment during the period was 13 times, while enrolment of girls recorded a huge rise of 32 times. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) at the Primary stage has exceeded 100 percent. Access to schools is no longer a major problem. At the primary stage, 94 percent of the country's rural population has schooling facilities within one kilometer and at the upper primary stage it is 84 percent.

The country has made impressive achievement in the elementary education sector. But the flip side is that out of the 200 million children in the age group of 6 - 14 years, 59 million children are not attending school. Of this, 35 million are girls and 24 million are boys. There are problems relating to drop - out rate, low levels of learning achievement and low participation of girls, tribals and other disadvantaged groups. There are still at least one lakh habitations in the country without schooling facility within a kilometer. Coupled with it are various systemic issues like inadequate school infrastructure, poorly functioning schools, high teacher absenteeism, large number of teacher vacancies, poor quality of education and inadequate funds.

In short, the country is yet to achieve the elusive goal of Universalisation of Elementary education (UEE), which means 100 percent enrolment and retention of children with schooling facilities in all habitations. It is to fill this gap that the government has launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Sikshana Case Studies

Case Study 1: Clips from the field – 1The First Step

During the process of laying the foundation for Sikshana, I have run into a number of people who have told me that they always felt a calling to volunteer their efforts to field of education. But these same people had not taken any concrete steps because of a lack of resources that help channel their desire to make contributions to the field. I hope this anecdote relating to my efforts in setting up Sikshana in Bangalore city will provide such people with some direction to launch their own efforts.

The whole idea of volunteering my time to improve basic education had been playing in the back of my mind for a long time. One day I overcame my inertia and inhibitions and walked into the nearest government school. I simply offered to help them in any way they saw fit. The teachers in the school were so excited by my offer that they spent nearly an hour going over all their problems and needs! By the end of the hour I had so much more information than I had dreamed of obtaining in this preliminary visit.

Ideas were beginning to form in my head and I was beginning to see different directions for my efforts. A remark made by one of the teachers during this meeting still stands out in my mind and has inspired me to keep my efforts going. She said: "Sir, even if you are unable to adopt our school for any reason (there were some technical hitches then), please go ahead and do something for children at some other school. These children can do with all the help they can get!".

The next step took me to the Block Education Officer, who has the unenviable task of overseeing a thousand schools. He informed me that the Karnataka Government has a scheme under which an individual or an organization can officially adopt a school and be responsible for its upgrade. This needed a legal document to be signed, for which he took all the steps immediately. The entire process was over in less than an hour and I was accorded VIP treatment during the entire proceedings! Copies of the document were sent to all the concerned schools promptly and we were able to start with our program in these schools within three days. It was altogether a surprisingly pleasant experience!


The Government and its hierarchy do care for primary education. And there are hundreds of schools waiting for you to step in! You only need to take the first step and you will see the path you need to take.

Case Study 2: Clips from the field – 1

"Why should I keep my Son at School?"

This anecdote starts with the visit of one Mr.Narayanappa, who came to meet the Headmaster of a school adopted by Skishana. This person wanted to take his 10 yr son out of the school. His stated reason for seeking the boy's removal was that he was moving to a different part of Bangalore.

As luck would have it, I happened to be visiting this school on that day and I decided to probe this matter further. With a little coaxing, it became apparent that Mr. N was taking his son out of school for good. When I expressed my concern that he should think about the long-term prospects of his son, Mr. N retorted (respectfully), "Sir, that is exactly why I am taking this step. What sort of future do you think my son will have studying up to the 10th Std in a government school? He may not even be able to get through to the examinations in the normal course. If he is lucky, he may manage to score 50-60% at the end, which will be totally inadequate for him to gain admission in any decent college. On the other hand, if I place him with a good 'maistry' (contractor), he will learn a useful trade and earn money for my family. And then with some luck, he may even become a small-scale contractor on his own by the time he is 25! Worse still, if he continues with his schooling any longer, he may not even be inclined to do manual labor, which I see as essential for him to earn a living."


We are way off the mark in assuming that lack of parental concern is the prime cause for dropouts. The larger cause is the inability of the system to offer sufficient incentive to the students (and their families by extension) to continue with school. Even if a small fraction of the students from a Government school are seen to evolve and become visible members in the community as a result of the system, it is my contention that a major upward trend will be seen in educational statistics.

It is not enough to churn out meaningless figures on enrolment and passes. A more relevant yardstick is where the children end up after school. The system needs to offer at least a glimmer of a hope to children (and their families) that their dreams could indeed come true if they stayed the course in school.

Case Study 3: Clips from the field – 2

"What can We do for You?"

I went to see the Head Master of one of the schools, immediately after the school's adoption by Sikshana. It was actually my first meeting with the Headmaster and after we exchanged preliminaries, the following exchange transpired:

Mr.Ramamurthy: What can we do for your school?
Headmaster: Sir, how much money does your trust roughly control?
Mr.Ramamurthy: Don't worry about the actual money reserves. We have enough to help improve the learning levels of the children in your school. Can you give us some ideas on what you need?
Headmaster: to start with, how about getting us ______? (fill in a long list of school items)
Mr.Ramamurthy: I don't mind getting you all that you requested and much more! I can promise you the sky…. But, can you assure me that as a result of our efforts, it, each class will show a 'X' % improvement in their grades.
Headmaster: Ahhh, I see.. let me think about it .. I think we need teaching aids like charts and models badly. Can you get us some?
Mr.Ramamurthy: No problem, please give me a list.

(Headmaster hands over a list after some discussions. A day later..)

Mr.Ramamurthy: Here are all the items you wanted. What next?
Headmaster: Sir, we never thought you are going to come back in a day!! Anyway, can you find us at least two more teachers? We have only five teachers for seven classes.

(A week later, two intern teachers are visiting the schools regularly)

Mr.Ramamurthy: What now?
Headmaster: Sir, we have gone through this in detail among ourselves. We find it is not so easy to identify the causes of poor academic performance and seek specific resources for overcoming them. We need to sit with you and discuss this further.
We did sit together for a few days. Result: The school got 100% pass in the open 7th Std examinations, a first in its history. Three of the children got above 70%!

Pursuit of quantitative targets is possible in the public education system. For results, you need to ignite the spark in the child. You cannot just dump this problem in the lap of the local community. They look for external inputs and advice.

Case Study 4: Clips from the field – 4

A Voice to be Heard
After a round of improvements in one of the schools adopted by Sikshana, I tried to get some feedback on our efforts. I went to the school early one morning and started talking to Deepa, a really smart kid in one of the classes. I asked her to identify among the changes we had introduced the one which had struck her as being the most important one. She said, "You have given us a few more teachers, and now we have one just for our class." I asked, "Is this change more important than the mid-day meals we are providing now?" She said, "Sir, the food is important to many of us who do not get enough to eat at home.

But then, we always managed with the food we did get at home. When we come to the school, we come with the aim of studying and making something of our lives. We can do this well only if we have a full-time teacher to look up to and get all our questions answered. Also, the teacher keeps the class in order so that the majority of us who want to concentrate on studies can do so, without being disturbed."

I asked Deepa, "What is the next most important thing for improvement of the class and the school?" She said, "We need a little space around us in the class room, it is so cramped here. Our teachers are very good and they put in lot of effort to help us. But, there is so much jostling among us that she has to spend a large part of her time just trying to maintain order, she cannot teach much".


The girl was just 10 years old, but she was astute enough to pin-point the two basic faults in the public school system. A child needs a teacher to herself/himelf. And the child needs some space - physical and psychological - all around to enable him/her to grow. That is what the school is all about for a child. If we can throw in such a nurturing environment, the kids and the teachers will go all the way and do the rest.

A point to ponder: In an Industry, a good CEO will lay great emphasis on keeping a finger on the pulse of the worker in the trenches. Why is it that we see so little evidence of this culture in the educational sector?

Case Study 5:

A Lesson in Computer Literacy from India's Poorest Kids

Sugata Mitra has a PhD in physics and heads research efforts at New Delhi's NIIT, a fast-growing software and education company with sales of more than $200 million and a market cap over $2 billion. But Mitra's passion is computer-based education, specifically for India's poor. He believes that children, even terribly poor kids with little education, can quickly teach themselves the rudiments of computer literacy. The key, he contends, is for teachers and other adults to give them free rein, so their natural curiosity takes over and they teach themselves. He calls the concept "minimally invasive education."

To test his ideas, Mitra 13 months ago launched something he calls "the hole in the wall experiment." He took a PC connected to a high-speed data connection and imbedded it in a concrete wall next to NIIT's headquarters in the south end of New Delhi. The wall separates the company's grounds from a garbage-strewn empty lot used by the poor as a public bathroom. Mitra simply left the computer on, connected to the Internet, and allowed any passerby to play with it. He monitored activity on the PC using a remote computer and a video camera mounted in a nearby tree.

What he discovered was that the most avid users of the machine were ghetto kids aged 6 to 12, most of whom have only the most rudimentary education and little knowledge of English. Yet within days, the kids had taught themselves to draw on the computer and to browse the Net. Some of the other things they learned, Mitra says, astonished him.

The physicist has since installed a computer in a rural neighborhood with similar results. He's convinced that 500 million children could achieve basic computer literacy over the next five years, if the Indian government put 100,000 Net-connected PCs in schools and trained teachers in some basic "noninvasive" teaching techniques for guiding children in using them. Total investment required, he figures: Around $2 billion.

On Feb. 25, BW Online Contributing Editor Thane Peterson sat down with Mitra, a stocky 48-year-old with a mustache and a mop of graying black hair, in his tiny, triangular office at NIIT's R&D center on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in the south part of New Delhi. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation.

Q. What gave you the idea of giving slum kids
access to the Internet?
A. It was a social observation rather than a scientific one. Any parent who had given his child a computer would invariably remark to me about it. I could hardly ever find an exception. Within a very short period of time, the parent would be claiming that the child was a genius with a computer. When I poked a little further, I invariably found that the child was doing things with the computer that the parent didn't understand.

I asked myself whether the child was really doing something exceptional or if what we were seeing was adult incomprehension. If the adult was simply underestimating the child's ability to cope with a computer, then that should happen with any child. And I asked myself, "Why then would we want to use the same teaching methods for children as we use for teaching adults?"

At first, I tested my ideas with children who were easily available -- children at the company here, whose parents are in our executive group.... Then we tried this "hole in the wall" concept, where we put a high-powered Pentium computer with a fast Internet connection into a wall and let [slum] children have access to it with no explanation whatsoever. To be very brief on what happened, the results have been uniform every time we've done this experiment. You get base level computer literacy almost instantly. By computer literacy, I mean what we adults define as computer literacy: The ability to use the mouse, to point, to drag, to drop, to copy, and to browse the Internet.

The children create their own metaphors to do this. To give you an idea of what I mean, a journalist came up to one of these kids and asked him, "How do you know so much about computers?" The answer seemed very strange to her because the kid said, "What's a computer?" The terminology is not as important as the metaphor. If they've got the idea of how a mouse works and that the Internet is [like a wall they can paint on], who cares if they know that a computer is called a computer and a mouse is called a mouse? In most of our classes here at NIIT, we spend time teaching people the terminology and such. That seems irrelevant to me with these children.

But we also found that they would tend to plateau out. They would surf the Web -- is very popular with them because they like games. And they would use [Microsoft] Paint. It's very, very popular with all of them. Because these are deprived children who do not have easy access to paper and paint. Every child likes to paint, so they would do it with that program. However, that's all they could do. So I intervened, and I played an MP3 [digital-music file] for them. They were astonished to hear music come out of the computer for the first time. They said, "Oh, does it work like a TV or radio?" I said, in keeping with my approach, "Well, I know how to get there but I don't know how it works." Then I [left].

As I would have expected, seven days later they could have taught me a few things about MP3. They had discovered what MP3 was, downloaded free players, and were playing their favorite songs. As usual, they didn't know what any of it was called. But they would say, "if you take this little box, and you drag this file into this box, it plays music." They had found out where all the Hindi music was on the Web and had pulled it out.

Q. What does it mean? What does it say for the potential of these slum kids? After all, being able to download music isn't enough to get them a job.

A. I don't wish to claim that this shows anything more or less than what it has shown, which is that curious kids in groups can train themselves to operate a computer at a basic level. In doing so, they also can get a generally good idea about the nature of browsing and the nature of the Internet.... And, therefore, if they view these things as worth learning, no formal infrastructure is needed [to teach them].

Now, that's a big deal, because everyone agrees that today's children must be computer-literate. If computer literacy is defined as turning a computer on and off and doing the basic functions, then this method allows that kind of computer literacy to be achieved with no formal instruction. Therefore, any formal instruction for that kind of education is a waste of time and money. You can use that time and money to have a teacher teach something else that children cannot learn on their own.

Q. What else have you learned?

A. Well, I tried another experiment. I went to a middle-class school and chose some ninth graders, two girls and two boys. I called their physics teacher in and asked him, "What are you going to teach these children next year at this time?" He mentioned viscosity. I asked him to write down five possible exam questions on the subject. I then took the four children and said, "Look here guys. I have a little problem for you." They read the questions and said they didn't understand them, it was Greek to them. So I said, "Here's a terminal. I'll give you two hours to find the answers." Then I did my usual thing: I closed the door and went off somewhere else.

They answered all five questions in two hours. The physics teacher checked the answers, and they were correct. That, of itself, doesn't mean much. But I said to him, "Talk to the children and find out if they really learned something about this subject." So he spent half an hour talking to them. He came out and said, "They don't know everything about this subject or everything I would teach them. But they do know one hell of a lot about it. And they know a couple of things about it I didn't know."

That's not a wow for the children, it's a wow for the Internet. It shows you what it's capable of. The slum children don't have physics teachers. But if I could make them curious enough, then all the content they need is out there. The greatest expert on earth on viscosity probably has his papers up there on the Web somewhere. Creating content is not what's important. What is important is infrastructure and access.... The teacher's job is very simple. It's to help the children ask the right questions.

Q. Are you saying that if we put computers in all the slums, slum kids could become literate on their own? A.

I'm saying that, in situations where we cannot intervene very frequently, you can multiply the effectiveness of 10 teachers by 100- or 1,000-fold if you give children access to the Internet.

Q. This is your concept of minimally invasive education?

A. Yes. It started out as a joke but I've kept using the term.... This is a system of education where you assume that children know how to put two and two together on their own. So you stand aside and intervene only if you see them going in a direction that might lead into a blind alley. That's just so that you don't waste time.... That would create teachers who are experts at composing questions.

Q. What are the business applications of all this?

A. I get asked this question all the time. It's kind of ironic that a company that makes [a big chunk of its sales from running computer-training institutes] should invent a method where no teacher is required. The answer is that just because a method is economically viable, doesn't mean you shouldn't look for alternatives. A good business is one which provides more and more for less and less. The cost of your goods and services should spiral downwards.

The second point is that we are going to have an e-commerce boom. But what happens when an Indian businessman puts his shop up on the Web? Where's he going to get customers from? If someone lets me do this experiment for five years, with 100,000 kiosks, I reckon that I could get 500 million children computer-literate. It would cost $2 billion. But if you had to pay to educate the same children using traditional methods, it would cost twice as much.

Q. If this were to become a business, would it require government funding?

A. Advertisers like Coca-Cola might be interested. But it would absolutely have to have government funding. I can't think of a company that would put $2 billion into this. The governments will have to realize that the problem of the haves and have-nots is about to [become] the problem of the knows and knows-not. Do we want to create another great big divide where the problem of illiteracy will come back in another context? In a very short period of time, adults who do not know how to deal with a [computer] mouse will have a very difficult time dealing with almost everything in life.

Q. But most of the information on the Internet is in English and the people you're talking about don't speak English.

A. We had some very surprising results there. We all have great misconceptions about what these children know and don't know. At first, I made a Hindi interface for the kids, which gave them links for hooking up with Web sites in their own language. I thought it would be a great hit. Guess what they did with it? They shut it down and went back to Internet Explorer. I realized that they may not understand the dictionary meaning of [English] words, but they have an operational understanding. They know what that word does. They don't know how to pronounce F-I-L-E, but they know that within it are options of saving and opening up files....

The fact that the Internet is in English will not stop them from accessing it. They invent their own terminology for what's going on. For example, they call the pointer of the mouse sui, which is Hindi for needle. More interesting is the hourglass that appears when something is happening. Most Indians have never heard of an hourglass. I asked them, "What does that mean?" They said, "It's a damru," which is Hindi for Shiva's drum. [The God] Shiva holds an hourglass-shaped drum in his hand that you can shake from side to side. So they said the sui became a damru when the "thing" [the computer] was doing something.

Q. Of all the things the children did and learned, what did you find the most surprising?

A. One day there was a document file on the desktop of the computer. It was called "untitled.doc" and it said in big colorful letters, "I Love India." I couldn't believe it for the simple reason that there was no keyboard on the computer [only a touch screen]. I asked my main assistant -- a young boy, eight years old, the son of a local betel-nut seller -- and I asked him, "How on earth did you do this?" He showed me the character map inside [Microsoft] Word. So he had gotten into the character map inside Word, and dragged and dropped the letters onto the screen, then increased the point size and painted the letters. I was stunned because I didn't know that the character map existed -- and I have a PhD.

Q. So what you're talking about is a different sort of literacy, a sort of functional literacy....

A. Yes, it's functional literacy. There are two examples I'd like to give you from the recent past. It's already happened in cable TV in India. There are 50 or 60 million cable-TV connections in India at this point in time. The guys who set up the meters, splice the coaxial cables, make the connection to the house, etc., are very similar to these kids. They don't know what they're doing. They only know that if you do these things, you'll get the cable channel. And they've managed to [install] 60 million cable connections so far.

Example No. 2 is the bicycle. I think we have the biggest bicycle-manufacturing industry in the world. The bicycle is ubiquitous here, and it's much the same in Malaysia, China, Africa. But you don't ask how the population became bicycle-literate. They just use it. So what I'd like to see is an India in which a large part [of the population] treats the computer that way.

The other thing is [how the Internet will change when most Indians gain access to it]. We have the analogy of cable TV in India. Originally, it was all in English. It took exactly four years for all the programming to become Hindi. Star TV is now almost all in Hindi. If you go to Bangkok, they hate it.

Q. You're saying that a lot of Hindi content will appear as more Indians surf the Net?

A. Exactly. Let me go on record as saying it's not a question of what the Internet will do to India. It's a question of what India will do to the Internet.... If rural India goes onto the Internet, there will be an absolute flood of Indian-language content from people trying to sell to them.

Q. Has the Indian or any other government expressed interest in funding such a project?

A. Several government agencies, several state governments, and several world agencies have expressed an interest. Unfortunately, I don't want to name them because I need to get the funds first.

Q. You say that only the children used the computer, not adults. What does this mean for adult education?

A. I'm not even going to suggest that we use this [technique] for adults. The only reaction we got from adults was, "What on earth is this for? Why is there no one here to teach us something? How are we ever going to use this?" I contend that by the time we are 16, we are taught to want teachers, taught that we cannot learn anything without teachers.

There are two points I'd like to make about the adults. One is that the adults asked the children to do things for them. For example, to read their horoscopes on the Hindi news sites. The second thing is the reaction of the women. I would ask them why they didn't use [the computer], and they would say, "I don't have enough brains to understand all this." I would say, "What about your daughters?" And the answer was, "They have lots of brains." So I said, "Do you think I should just remove this thing?" The answer was always, "No, no, no." I asked why not. And they said, "Because it's very good for the children."

Now, if the mothers have realized that, I'm happy. I don't care if they don't come [to use the computer]. Because all we have to do is wait one generation. Not even that. In five years, a 13-year-old is going to be 18 and be an adult.

Q. Where do you go from here?

A. There is one experiment that scares me. These children don't know what e-mail is. If I gave them e-mail, I don't know what would happen. I'll probably try it anyway. But remember the stories one used to hear about people finding lost tribes and introducing them to Coca-Cola? I'm really seriously scared about what would happen if suddenly the whole wide world had access to these kids. I don't know who would talk to them for what purpose.

Case Study 6: A Matter of Quality:

A study of people's perceptions and expectations from schooling in rural and urban areas of Uttarakhand
SIDH is a voluntary organisation which has been involved in providing educational opportunities to those deprived of it, in the rural areas of Tehri Garhwal district in Central Himalayas. With 18 primary and pre-primary schools, it undertook the following study to assess the response to their program and its relevance to the community.

During the course of this study, it was observed that most parents were unhappy with the impact of the present education system upon their children. SIDH then gradually began focusing on issues of quality and relevance and exploring the links between micro and macro issues - between education and the larger socio-political, cultural and historical context within which it operated. The results provide an insight into the relevance of the present education system in the country by examining people's perceptions regarding education.

The idea of the research project was to find out what people thought about education. So the obvious area of exploration was their definition of a good school and other questions along similar lines. Discussions were held with varied groups from both rural and urban areas along these lines. When these were taken beyond the routine issues like access, enrolment, dropout rates and the infrastructure needs etc., the team stumbled upon the contradictions which is perhaps the lot of a society mesmerized into imitations without questioning. These conflicts and contradictions reveal that it is not access but relevance, which is a major concern of the people.

For the team, the study only confirmed what Gandhiji knew without having undertaken such elaborate exercises many years ago. The heartening thing was that our so-called 'uneducated' women and men still speak the language of Gandhiji. This study brings out the clarity of thought and lack of dilemmas among the rural, low income, and illiterate groups, compared to the urban, high-income, literate groups. It is time that the sentiments of the people or 'community' are taken seriously by our policymakers.

In conclusion, the study goes on to recommend -
- Making the education system more relevant
before talking about increased access

- Decentralization of the system giving
the community more say in deciding on
the kind of education they want

- Incorporating traditional skills and indigenous
knowledge systems and imparting necessary
training to the child to earn a living

On going projects and future plans of sikshana

On Going Projects:

The schools in the City are:

Kumaraswamy Layout
Srinivasa Colony*

These schools were mostly adopted during 2002-04. The total strength of the children in this group is about 2500.Schools marked with * are lower primary schools with Grades 1 to 5, while the rest are upper primaries going up to 7th Grade.

The schools in the first cluster at Kanakapura are:

Jyothi Colony

These schools were adopted during 2004-05. The total strength of the children in this group is about 3500. All the schools are upper primaries going up to Grade 7

The schools in the second cluster at Kanakapura are:
Dodda Kabballi
Krishnaiana Doddi*

These schools were mostly adopted during 2006-07. The total strength of the children in this group is about 3500. Schools marked with * are lower primary schools with Grades 1 to 5, while the rest are upper primaries going up to 7th Grade.

Govt Upper Primary School , Arahalli

This is the first school to be adopted under Sikshana; and is now proving to be a role model. Arehalli is a semi-urban village cluster in the South of Bangalore, 12 kms from the Center of the City. It is now a bustling school with more than 300 kids accommodated in three different buildings. Besides the standard inputs, we are providing to this school two teachers to augment the existing staff.

Before Sikshana, the situation was as follows:

Total strength was at 220 - Grade VII had 13
70% pass VII Grade open exams with highest score at 60
Poor reception to VII Grade kids in High Schools nearby
Low morale among staff
Kids are disinterested in attending school
Community indifferent to the conditions in the school

After four years of Sikshana we find the following:

Total strength goes up to 320 - Grade VII to 35
All kids pass VII Grade open exams, highest score reaching 85
First reverse migration from private schools on merit
High morale among staff; willingly work beyond hours
Kids throng the gate before the start bell; a positive trend
First kids with scholarship reach professional courses holding out hope for the rest ; Alumni concept being seeded
Image enhancement to a level where private high schools in the area 'scout' for kids from the school
Significant increase in community participation marked by an attendance of 800 on the School Day

Nammooru Shaale, Chikkakallasandra

The lower primary school in Chikkakallasandra has 200 students studying in Grades 1 to 5. Prior to Sikshana, it had just three rooms and a corridor to accommodate all these kids, leading to a highly cramped situation in all the classes. It did not have any facility for water supply or power. Things changed drastically during 2003-05, during which we added a large hall over the existing building, thanks to CAF India and British Airways. We also provided running water supply with an over head tank and good drainage facilities and a toilet block for the staff and the kids.

The children in the school were also provided with a hot mid-day meal for two years, till the Government stepped in with the Akshara Dasoha program in June 2005.
Even now, it has no play ground; neither does it have any area for the kids to assemble for morning prayers. Sadly, this has to take place in the public road in front. In a school which has otherwise an excellent record for learning levels among others in the State sector, this lack of space has been a major inhibiting factor for further advancement. The school is presently located in two places; if only some one can step in and fund construction of a new block in one of these, it can really grow to achieve its true potential.

It had four teachers for the five grades; the fifth slot has since been filled up under Sikshana, enabling each class to have a dedicated teacher.

The school proudly claims that the children in Third grade can read and write non-text book Kannada fluently; and they would like to take this further to Second Grade. English is started on a voluntary basis as an additional subject from the second Grade itself! Sikshana provides them with the necessary text and books. The Library and Dictation hours are a great success in this school. As a result, the need for books and paper has been steadily growing. And they have a Computer too! It has been used, not only by the kids, but also by the teachers to set up question papers for the semester examinations.

Children from this school have participated in various activities such as the Delhi Trip, the visit to Indo-American Seeds farm and the rock climbing trek.

Govt Lower Primary School, Ittimadu

The school in Ittimadu has a total student strength of 220 in Grades 1 to 5 and four teachers. It is operating in two sheds which barely accommodates 120 children. On a normal day, the remaining 100 kids have to make with the open space adjacent to the school. However the land belonging to the school is adequate to build 2/3 more class rooms, with some space left for the kids to assemble for prayers etc,.

Under Sikshana, we have been able to mobilize funds for the construction of these class rooms, and we are about to commence work at the site. The school is expected to operate in a near normal environment effective from Oct 02. We have also lined up arrangements for mid-day meals to the children, which should hopefully commence as soon as the building is ready. Intensive efforts to improve learning levels are scheduled during the second half of the academic year.

Plan of Action for the Year:

- Take up and complete building of class rooms.- Provide drinking water and toilet facilities.- Provide mid-day meals.- Provide improved teaching aids.- Post a mentor for monitoring and improving learning levels.- 100% compliance for Kannada lingual skills at Grade 4.- 100% compliance for numerical skills at Grade 4.- Advance teaching of English by one year.- Reward system for good performance at all Grades.- An ongoing library movement.

Govt Lower Primary School, Kariasandra

The school in Kariasandra has a total of 250 children in Grades 1 to 5 and four teachers. It is operating in two locations with adequate room for accommodating the present strength. The demand for admission into this school from the adjacent areas is so heavy that it is forced to redirect many of the prospective entrants to the neighborhood schools. The school has nearly 2 acres of land associated with it, which is presently facing a threat of unauthorized trespass and loss of control. The situation also involves a certain degree of threat to the safety to the kids due to vandalism and intimidatory activities. The matter has been taken up with the Government agencies concerned, with a view to initiating corrective action and ensuring the integrity of the premises. A proposal has also been put up to the Government of Karnataka to examine the feasibility of setting up a high school in the premises, which can cater to the Upper Primary Schools of the South 1 zone.

Plan of Action for the Year:

- Follow up with the Government steps for ensuring the integrity of the premises.- Follow up with the Government the proposal for setting up a high school in the premises.- Upgrade the present Lower Primary to an Upper Primary School.- Provide safe drinking water supply and toilet facilities.- Post an additional teacher.- Provide improved teaching aids / post a mentor for upgrading teaching skills.- Target 100% compliance for Kannada lingual skills at Grade 4.- Target 100% compliance for numerical skills at Grade 4.- Advance initiation into English by one year.- Reward system for good performance at all Grades.- An ongoing library movement.- Start PC based education

Sikshana and its Approach


Sikshana is a unique effort at improving learning levels in the public education system at the primary level

Sikshana's Core Focus

Provide mid-day meals
Provide additional class rooms where space is critical
Improve the environment in the existing class rooms
Ensure power, water supply and sanitation
Post additional teachers wherever required
Supply teaching aids, notebooks etc,
Provide incentives for kids to excel through prizes and scholarships
Re-orient and re-train the staff
Set quantified targets and measure performance at each stage and in each school
Organize a strong library movement
Provide PC’s and multimedia content


What is Sikshana all about?

Sikshana is all about improving the Quality of education in the State- run schools so as to provide an opportunity for children from the lower strata of the society to raise their living standards. In the process, we expect to make a dent on the negative image of the Public school system. The exercise is also aimed at developing a sustainable model which lends itself to replication at higher levels

Who are the people behind the program?

We are a set of individuals committed to the cause of primary education in the Public Schools of the State of Karnataka. Our Program is being managed by Sivasri Foundation, a Trust formed for this purpose which raises the necessary resources through networking among like -minded persons and Organizations. It is being implemented in close co-ordination with the State Government and its agencies

What is its field of operation now?

Presently Sikshana is concentrating on schools in the Bangalore South zone, mainly in the Jayanagar/ Banshankari area and beyond. We have plans to expand the area of operations to other parts of Karnataka during next year.

What are the unique features of Sikshana?

Our program is built around a few core concepts, which distinguishes it from various other attempts in the field. Our attempt is just not towards improving the state of a few schools or a few children studying therein. Rather it is aimed at evolving a sustainable model, which will lend itself to replication on a larger scale. The program is run on a "zero overheads" basis. It focuses on the child as the sole beneficiary of all efforts; in cases where its interests clash with those of others around it, the former prevails. We believe that the interest of the child can and should be served even if the Community and / or the parents are not adequately motivated towards this objective. Mobilization and deployment of resources under our program is solely for the enhancement of the learning levels of the children. All proposals for expenditure are strictly judged against this criterion.

How can individuals participate in Sikshana?

If you happen to live in Bangalore City, you can visit one of our schools for a few hours in a week end
- Assist in regular teaching / Conduct special classes - Help in the development /deployment of advanced teaching aids
- Assist teachers in developing teaching skills
- Organize / assist in PC based education - Have counseling sessions with children and parents - Assist in improvement of the environment in schools
- Motivate kids, parents and teachers
- Organize co-curricular activities and extra-curricular events
- Involve in community efforts to improve the school
- Assist Sikshana in promoting specific causes and programs

If you have more to time to spare for the cause and would like to take up a challenging responsibility, you can even adopt a school under this program on your own in your neighborhood; Sikshana will lend all support to your efforts and help it grow.

How can corporates help the program?

Corporate Organizations can donate funds to go to the various schemes in general under Sikshana. They can donate funds for specific causes such as - to support a meritorious child - to sponsor prizes and scholarships for good performance - to sponsor c-curricular and extra-curricular events - to buy PC's and Multimedia content - to build class rooms or to improve infrastructure - to provide learning materials and teaching aids and - to support appointment of teachers.

[In such cases, Sikshana has built-in mechanisms to ensure that the funds are used only for the purposes for which they are intended] A corporate entity can also help us in our efforts to promote specific public causes and programs. A typical instance is the development of suitable multimedia content in Kannada for use with the PC's being deployed in the Public School System.

Methodologies: Concepts and Approach

Sikshana is built around a few core concepts, which distinguishes it from various other attempts in the field.

Our attempt is just not towards improving the state of a few schools or a few children studying therein. Rather it is aimed at evolving a sustainable model, which will lend itself to replication on a larger scale.

It focuses on the child as the sole beneficiary of all efforts; in cases where its interests clash with those of others around it, the former prevails. We believe that the interest of the child can and should be served even if the Community and / or the parents are not adequately motivated towards this objective.

Mobilization and deployment of resources under our program is solely for the enhancement of the learning levels of the children. All proposals for expenditure are strictly judged against this criterion. The program is run on a “zero overheads” basis.

A well run nutritional program is a must for the success of any effort to improve the academic performance of the children. Hence we ensure that in all our schools, an adequate mid-day meal is provided to each child. According to our studies, the child needs two other vital resources for its advancement: adequate space – physical and notional – around it to be able to concentrate on the inputs and a ‘dedicated’ teacher exclusively available for the benefit of the group, to which it belongs. As a first step, the Trust is taking up with the Govt of Karnataka the issue of allotting and registering sufficient land for each primary school, initially at our Block and then at the State levels. Regarding the latter, additional teachers are being deployed, wherever required, by the Trust to augment the existing staff.

We believe that most of the management concepts that are applicable to other sectors such as Industry are equally valid for the educational sector as well. It should be possible to set quantifiable and measurable targets and deploy resources commensurate with them. Accordingly the use of the “return on investment” index is encouraged.

Enhancement of performance is often related to non-fiscal/ quasi-fiscal measures such as motivation, training and low cost environmental upgrades. Co-curricular activities such as library sessions, fine arts meets, educational tours, etc., are encouraged, as they are considered to be significant factors in enhancing the receptivity of the children to academic inputs.