Reviving Bal Sansad

Reviving Bal Sansad

Having ensured that children from our Mohalla Classes are back in schools, we have started work on strengthening the schools as is laid out in the Right To Eduction Act of 2009. One of the aspects that we are working on is reviving or forming Bal Sansad or Child Collective.

The concept of Child Collective is imbibed in the Right to Education Act of 2009, which entails all-round development of every child by building child’s knowledge, human potential and talent. Child Collective under the RTE norms, is an important concept that aspires students to become a leader in all walks of life.

The Child Collective or Bal Sansad develops skills and capabilities of students to represent themselves and take responsible decision in real time. There has been a lot said and discussed about Bal Sansad, but when it comes to practice several reports about the quality and implementation of the same raises question on the functionality of the initiative.

We are working to revive the Child Collective or Bal Sansad initiative in government schools in Raebareli, Pratapgarh and Fatehpur. Attempts are being made to ensure that the Bal Sansads in these three districts are formed with the essence of equality and non-discriminative process to ensure each child participates and the democratic values through Bal Sansad and Meena Manch.

After running the Mohalla Classes since December to close the digital divide and  mainstream out of school children in schools, we have started working to revive /reinforce Child Collectives. Till date, Oxfam team had helped revive 26 Bal Sansads in schools— 10 Pratapgarh, 8 Fatehpur & 8 Raebareli.

The team has developed a strategy to work with Bal Sansadsone part of the plan ensures the process of formation and the second part emphasizes on the functioning of the formed collectives and what actions can be taken by the ministries formed in the Bal Sansad. The team will also work with the elected members of the Bal Sansad to ensure no child remains out of school or drops out; they will also help with the Mohalla Classes. Our plan is to revive the Child Collective in 90 schools in the three districts.

Our Community Mobiliser Priya from Fatehpur shared, “While initiating the process in her intervention schools, the teachers were very keen to initiate the idea in a democratic way which was missing earlier. The teachers took part in the process and made it very exciting for the students by replicating the parliamentary election with students filing nominations, campaigning, sloganeering, voting and counting of the votes. This was followed by an oath taking ceremony.” She added that the students felt encouraged, valued and responsible.

In Pratapgarh, the principal of Raniganj-1 Primary School, Shubham Tripathi took sessions along with Oxfam India and gave an orientation to her students on the concept of Bal Sansad; the children were super excited. “Bal Sansad is a strong platform to engage with children, we need to ensure a fair process of formation because there is a lot of learning involved for all of us,” she summed up.

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