1081 Out Of School Children Enrolled

1081 Out Of School Children Enrolled

As of 30 May, we enrolled 1081 out of school children in 7 districts in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. First with the sustained efforts of the Mohalla Classes and later with a dogged enrolment drive in 7 districts—Raebareli, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Gumla and Lohardaga—these children now have a shot at a better future.

Read More: Back to School

The shift to digital education, left a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. Unable to access either smart phones, internet or electricity children simply dropped out of school. Since most of them are first generation school goers, they did not have the option of studying at home. Children, therefore, ended up either working in potato farms and in shops to earn money, or while away their time, or were left to take care of domestic chores and younger siblings.

The Mohalla classes the initiative to ensure that children do not end up dropping out of school. But once the schools reopened all efforts were put into making sure children are enrolled in schools. But as most of them are first generation learners, the need to continue with the classes was also felt. And this was for a simple reason that with the two years of school shut down they have much to catch up with. This is even convenient for the teachers who is confident that the mohalla classes will help children with their homework and practicing school work.

Watch: Discrimination-Free Education | Mohalla Classes in Uttar Pradesh

In Jharkhand, Mohalla classes are continuing within the school premises. “The teachers and community mobilisers have built a very good rapport in the last few months. So much so that they have started giving space for Mohalla classes after school hours,” informs Sapna Surin, programme coordinator, Jharkhand.

As the schools reopen, regular meetings with members of the School Management Committees are being held so that parents also begin to get involved in schools in the way they were before the lockdowns. In fact in one of the meetings one of the SMC members demanded the panchayat to build toilets for girls in the school. This was a clear sign that parents are keen to send their children to school with basic proper facilities. A very good sign indeed.

To ensure that children were enrolled several meetings were held with parents, teachers, SMC members, and even the students. Rallies with the village were take out by students themselves to encourage other children to join school.

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The Mohalla classes are proving to be extremely useful in creating awareness among children on various issues that go beyond just books. For instance, on one occasion the students prepared posters on road safety. Children are encouraged to understand and celebrate festivals together. Emphasis is laid on learning through art and craft which means that children are learning plenty of life and leadership skills as well. Not just Mohalla Classes, these activities are also being done in schools in the neighbourhood by the community mobilisers and volunteers.

The fact that children are excited about Mohalla Classes, SMC members are demanding facilities for their children, and schools are acknowledging the merit of Mohalla classes augurs well for those children who have missed out the most in the two years of pandemic and lockdowns.

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