Monday, October 8, 2007

School Adoption Program, Vision, Mission, Its Concepts and FAQs

What is the vision of 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.

(Answers by Mr. Jacob Verghese, Lead Partner - Byrraju Foundation )

What is the concept of a model school?

Our mission is to make a model school out of an ordinary educational institution in our adopted villages. This is to be achieved through active collaboration with the government, the village community and other alliance partners.

The program covers the major government schools in our villages and they are supported in all aspects over a period of two to three years till they are transformed into model schools. The objective of the model school is ' easy access to high quality education for the underprivileged rural children'.

There are three components of the model school at the conceptual level. The first component consists of the brick and mortar factors like hard infrastructure facilities.
We aim to get the following for the children under this category-

One class room for every class
school furniture Separate rooms for computer lab, science lab ,library, staff room
Toilet facilities with water connection
Safe drinking water/ pipe connected water supply
Electrification/continuous power supply
Garbage disposal
mid-day meal shed
tree plantation
playground/ sports equipment
boundary wall

Soft infrastructure includes factors that facilitate teaching, learning and extracurricular activities. These are aimed at ameliorating the quality of education provided to the children. These include-

teaching learning materials
school library
maths / science lab equipment
computer lab
CD content for teachers and students
Audio -visual equipment
Technology aided tools
Teacher training
1:40 student teacher ratio
temporary teachers/ vidya volunteers
sports/ arts/ cultural activities
extra curricular courses
school health program/ nutrient support
pre-school programs

Collaborations with the government, ngos and community is an important part of the program as we can continue the process of improving and adding novelty to our programs on a long term basis. The various alliances that interest us are-

ongoing partnership with the govt
active involvement of teachers/ MEOs/ DEOs, PTA,SEC, Gram Vikas Samithi
regular community support to school in terms of resources
Alliances with like minded NGOs / educational agencies/ donor agencies etc.
City- village school partnership
Sharing and adoption of best practices
Develop the school as a community learning center

In concrete terms, what are the outcomes that you are aiming at?

We are aiming at an increase in enrolment, reduction in dropouts, and a higher percentage of the students passing the crucial 10th class exam with high marks. In concrete terms, we are aiming at -

An increase in enrolment by 5% every year
Less than 2% drop out rates
Greater than 90% pass percentage for 8th ad 10th class levels with more than 50% students getting above 70% marks
Highly motivated teachers and students with a decrease in absenteeism
Greater than 80% scores in hard infrastructure/ soft infrastructure/ collaboration indices.

Can you give me an overview of education in Andhra Pradesh? Why don't children attend schools? What are the various obstacles in the way of this end?

The percentage of children out of school is 24.1 %. The percentage of school dropouts is 60.2%. And the female literacy percentage stands at 51.11%. There are three categories of children who present a problem vis a vis school attendance. One category consists of those children who never come to school.

This could be due to various reasons- the school could be far away; parents don't want their children to attend school, they don't see any compelling reason for the child to come to school. They don't see a short-term benefit; they don't see the guarantee of a job after the child finishes his 10th standard. On the other hand the child is available for some casual work right from the age of 5 to 6 years. In this way they are able to get 20 to 30 rupees for the household which becomes more important than making the effort of sending child to the school without any job guarantee.

The economic compulsion becomes an important factor in parents' decision. The child can't complain in India, as the child's support system is his parents. The second category of children consists of those who come to school but later drop out. It's mostly due to same sort of economic compulsion that they drop out by the age of nine or ten.
Moreover they don't find the school a great place to come to. They find the quality of education to be low; the teachers punish them, they don't learn much, the peer pressure. The child also does not see any benefit after some time. Meals are a strong motivator for children to attend school. Many parents send the child just for the meals.
The third category is those who are brought back to the school. There are various bridge programs being run by the government, the NGOs, there are also hostels being provided by the government for this purpose. The problem with such cases is that parental influence stops them from returning to school. For this purpose hostels are provided.
Bridge programs are meant to fill the gap of academic knowledge that they had missed after having dropped out of school. Then they are put back into their age appropriate class.

What is Byrraju foundation doing to tackle such problems ?

We are following a pull strategy. We aim to make school an ideal place. Good education, good infrastructure, enthusiastic teachers, basically to make school a fun place to come to. In this way we want to maximize pulling factors and minimize pushing factors.
We want that both the parents and the child should get influenced. Secondly we are engaging in a community awareness program focussed on making people aware about the evils of child labor, the benefits of sending all the children to school.
This is backed up with a community involvement program.

(Interview with Mr. Jacob Verghese ends)

Other FAQs

What are the different steps involved in school adoption?

Shall be up soon….

What are the facilities that we can create by adopting a school?

The following is a suggestive list of priority actions that can be considered by potential donors under the ‘*School Adoption programme:

Provision of water and toilet facilities to the school separately for boys and girls.
Construction and renovation of existing building.
Provision for developing school garden, fencing or compound wall.
Provision of equipment and furniture.
Providing computers/funding for computer training of students.
Strengthening of Laboratory and Library.
Developing of play ground/provision of play materials
Training of teachers to improve quality of teaching
Training of students to develop various skills, leadership, etc.
Sponsoring students/ teachers for educational visits/sports meets.
Adopting girl children/SC-ST and minority children.
Sponsoring cultural, literary and scientific activities in the school
Giving scholarship to needy students.
Providing nutritional food as mid-day meals to children,
Adoption of slums near the school.
Encouraging vocational job oriented activities as part of co-curricular activities.
Adoption of orphans studying in the school.
Taking up at least one activity-scout and guides, sevadal, Junior Red Cross, NCC, Science Clubs, Environmental awareness camps, citizenship training camps, etc.
Running Balawadis for Pre-school children.
Taking up Remedial classes for first generation and economically and socially backward children.
Involving parents in development activities of the school.