Village Backs Mohalla Classes

Village Backs Mohalla Classes

As all Mohalla Classes, the one in Bhaisani village too started with the sole aim to bridge the learning gap and to ensure that children, who lost two precious years of school, can be mainstreamed into formal schooling. Bhaisani, in Purkazi block in Muzaffarnagar district, with a population of 1300 and a large number of Dalit families, has one government primary and one upper primary school.

While the Dalits mostly go the government schools, the OBCs and those from the general community send their children to private schools around 5 kms from the village. During the two years of school closure, the Dalit children had no options for regular classes, those going to private school, on the other hand, were either taking online classes or tuitions. So when our community mobiliser Sachin Kumar met the parents of children of government school, they said that while they realised that the education of their children was getting hampered, they were unable to send their children for tuitions. An interaction with children also showed distressing learning gap.                 

First a meeting was held with the villagers to discuss the concept of mohalla classes. The parents, PRI members, and community at large were very excited about these classes. It was in one of these meetings that we found a teacher for the mohalla classes. Monika, an 18 year old graduation student, volunteered to teach. Monika, a Dalit herself, has aspirations of becoming a teacher. She took up the responsibility of teaching the mohalla class in her village.

The Gram Pradhan offered one room in his house to run the classes; he also provided some mats for the children to sit on during classes. When the classes started, a few were still hesitant to send their children. Reena, the Anganwadi worker played a crucial role in bringing the children to the classes. She mobilised parents and convinced them to send their wards to these classes.

Thirty children have been coming to the Mohalla Classes for the last two months. Of the 30, 19 are girls and 11 are boys. Eight children—five girls and three boys—are school drop outs. The classes are being carefully monitored by the parents who are tracking the progress of their children. In fact there were occasions when mothers themselves used to come and take a story telling session for the children. Some parents have contributed to provide stationery items for the children. The Siksha Mitra of the primary school, Sachin, provided a blackboard for the mohalla classes and provided technical support to Monika. While Monika takes these classes regularly, she is often helped by younger girls.

Apart from regular classes, children were engaged in cultural activities like art competitions to mark special occasions such Republic Day and National Girl Child Day. The parents and community members have been very encouraging and very enthusiastic to celebrate with the children.

As schools have reopened, 22 out of 30 children have started going to schools. The remaining eight will be enrolled in a school in the new session. The parents have expressed their desire to continue with the Mohalla Classes and so now the classes have shifted to after school hours. The parents re thrilled and they have decided to hold regular monthly meetings to share the progress of their children.

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