Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA)

Project Theme

Education

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Dec 2015 - 31 Dec 2016

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Introduction

APSA is a rights-based, child-centred, community development organization with over three decades’ experience in working with urban poor communities in Bangalore and Hyderabad cities. APSA's long-standing work and field experiences have been born from observation that children are the most vulnerable of groups, figuring on the lowest rung of the hierarchy of distress that faces the urban poor. Hobbled by the triple handicaps of poverty, lack of systemic and structural support systems, and the lack of power or voice as children, they are usually unable to access the agency which would secure for them the rights that are their due, including the right to life and protection. One such right of children from urban poor communities which is seriously compromised is the ‘Right to Education’.  As such, education has always been a priority for the organisation.  APSA is doing in-depth work on the RTE by taking experiences from the field and feeding them into the framing of child-friendly policies and laws at state and national levels.

 

About the Project: 

This project is the continuation of the last project cycle. 

APSA has evolved individualised education support systems for children in crisis who come to APSA’s crisis-cum-residential centre from backgrounds of child labour, the street, or other abusive situations.  APSA’s Dream School provides support for such children, assisting them with short-term educational support until they go back home, through bridge courses which enable them to enter mainstream education, or through the Karnataka Open School system to secure an educational qualification. APSA also sourced external support for fees, books, schoolbags, etc. for children in need. Through APSA’s participation in the Campaign against Child Labour, APSA has been able to work together with the Department of Labour on strategies to reach education to working children.  As a key member of the People’s Alliance for Right to Education (PAFRE), APSA is doing in-depth work on the RTE by taking experiences from the field and feeding them into the framing of child-friendly policies and laws at state and national levels. More recently, APSA was part of a pressure group operating on the Committee of Experts responsible for framing the rules to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act in Karnataka.

APSA has also carried out annual door-to-door ‘Back to School’ and ‘100 Percent Enrolment’ campaigns in the communities of its working areas with support from staff and children’s collectives such as the Child Rights Club, Meena Thanda and Hasiru Sangha (collectives of former child labourers who are now in school or vocational training), CBOs and SDMC members. Involvement with government initiatives through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has ensured increase in enrolment of children in schools. Most importantly, initiatives by children themselves through the Radio Active program, child-friendly ward meetings and community performances – including a street play titled ‘Shikshanave Shakti’ (Education is Strength) written, directed and performed by former child labourers and the Meena Thanda and shown at various forums – have gone a long way in ensuring that the message of child rights and child protection is reached to a wider audience through children.

Although there has been a significant increase in the enrolment of children in the project area since passing the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, enrolment does not automatically spell retention. Cultural and social situations coupled with lack of importance of education especially for girl children leads to irregular attendance, lower academic achievement and school dropouts. The rules which were framed by the Government of Karnataka in 2011 under the RTE provide for education as a fundamental right of children aged 6 and 14 years. It provides space for monitoring of the school system through empowerment of the School Management Committees and increasing the community’s role and empowering it to improve education, regulate norms on many issues like minimum infrastructure, pupil-teacher ratio, etc. which will require monitoring for compliance.

Thus, the project seeks to empower such groups in order to de-centralize monitoring systems and strengthen community participation in ensuring the systematic functioning, quality of education and improvement in infrastructure in government schools.

 

The main objective of the project is:

  • Ensure effective implementation, monitoring and budget tracking of Right to Education in 4 assembly constituencies of Bangalore Urban
  • Improve access to education through enrolment and retention of girl children in 4 assembly constituencies of Bangalore Urban
  • Building capacities to the CBOs, SDMCS and Child Rights Club members on RTE

 

Results to be Achieved / Impact: 

  • Improvement in the functioning of 4 government schools coming under APSA working areas including access for children to free and quality education, improved teaching methodology, following the curriculum set down by the Department of Education and timely completion of syllabi, additional support to children who are slow learners or require additional support.
  • Continue to build capacities of children’s collectives to analyze issues related to RTE arising in schools and partner with local community groups in addressing these issues.
  • Increase community involvement in monitoring school functioning and improving quality educational services to children and empower them into collectivize action on issues.
  • Training for RTE project staff, schools and concerned faculty (staff and heads of schools), SDMC members, parents and children on Child Protection Policy (CPP) and support the schools under the project to implement CPPs in their institutions.

 

Prior Achievements:

  • SDMC is functional in 7 schools & formation of Bangalore SDMC City level Forum 
  • Workshop for Ward committee members on RTE entitlements & 74th ammendments
  • Learning centers created a platform for children to express their in-built skills
  • Hasiru Sangha (Children’s organization) Children conducted a deaddiction campaign in 10 areas and closed 3 liquor shop in Coxtown, Gandhipura and Jai Bhuvaneshwarinagar with help of Police and SHG members. Stopped child-marriage case in Treveninagar area
  • APSA had involved in preparing State level Child Protection Policy for educational institutions in support with UNICEF, the final draft is submitted to Women & Child Welfare Department.03 trainings on CPP was conducted for Education Department.
  • Lobbied with local leaders to include demands of children in political manifesto. Children from 4 constituencies have submitted their demands to the political parties and follow up was done during child friendly ward meetings in their respective areas were drinking water, street light facilities are available, in Jayanagar constituency BBMP workers clean the garbage every day and mosquito problems are reduced.
  • Exposure Visits: With financial support of rupees 310000/- from APSA 9 school children had been for an exposure visit to Nehru Planetarium, National park, Mysore Palace & Zoo, Somanathpura (historical place) and were excited & enjoyed the trip ,they expressed their happiness and shared that the trip was very useful for them were they got a live experience & understand their subject in a easy manner very well than what it could be and scored good marks

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries 

  • Shaziya, Gandhipura SDMC member: “I am a housewife. I have only completed 7th std and my husband is a vegetable vendor. My 3 children are studying in Gandhipura school. I’m proud to send my children to a Government School as most facilities there are available to children free of cost. After attending several training programs on SDMCs and gender rights, I have gained confidence to speak on various issues in public. I have also motivated other friends to join the SDMC and advocate for our children’s rights”.
  • Shivanna, Benniganahalli Ward Committee member: “This session was quite interesting and very informative. I gained knowledge on the 74th amendment & RTEA. Although I am a Ward committee member, I was not aware of my roles & responsibilities and Ward Committee meetings did not take place regularly in my Ward. After this session I am more aware of my role and will address any issues related to children & women that comes to my knowledge. I am also interested in attending further such training programs and will see that I make the time to do so”.  

 

Case Studies/Human stories

Anu( name is changed) is a girl from poor family who has lot of ambition in her eyes but left her education due to problem at home. Father is a poojari, mother a domestic maid. She was also accompanying her mother in work before going to school. Our field activist who works there recognized her potential and brought her to APSA center. She has under gone Life skills session in our learning center 

She expressed how life skill helps and helping her- in her own words:

I am a student of APSA’s learning centre. I am attending life skills classes. I really found many changes in me after attending this class; my confidence level has increased. I can even lead groups which I did with hasiru sangha / meena group. The major change that I can see in me is tolerance. After attending life skills classes I started listen to others able to understand and respect others opinion. It made me feel good and recognized me as good friend in my friend circle, good daughter for my parents. I am happy that I can mange my emotions. 

The life skills classes helped me to build my problem solving skills and also helped me to build a positive attitude in life. My ambition is to become a dancer and a teacher and I am confident of fulfilling these ambitions now as I have attended the life skills classes. 

The lessons which I liked the most are the Emotion management , responsibility, respecting self and others, “Project of life”, “Goal setting,” “Positive attitude” and “Problem solving” because these lessons helped me to build my personality

I am also taking more responsibilities now for e.g. if any person has not come I help him cope up with his studies. I am giving respect to elders like my sir and madam. I stopped fighting with friends. If under any circumstances I get angry I have learnt to come out from the situation. I attended the class on “Hygiene and dress” and “Making a positive first impression”.I learnt this from life skills classes. Now I don’t tease my classmates. My aim in life is to become a good person.

 

2.  NAME OF THE SCHOOL:  Devasandra Government Higher Primary School, Achari Bande

PREVIOUS CONDITION & PROBLEMS EXISTED IN THE SCHOOL: 

Devasandra Government Urdu Higher Primary School is located in K.R.Puram Constituency. The total strength of the students is 170. School is affiliated only upto standard 7. The school teachers were not punctual, did not take classes regularly, corporal punishment existed, the school HM was not respectful of parents and toilets were closed. Due to this 40% of girl children were irregular to school. SDMC, CRC meeting were not functional, MDMs were of low quality & the children complained of worms & stones in the meal as a result of which they used to bring food from home. Children who were unable to afford this ended up starving, which became a serious issue among the parents.

 

STEPS TAKEN:

  • APSA has taken steps to strengthen the problems existed in the school through the following strategies:
  • Organized meetings with CBOs and local moque leaders regarding the bad functioning of the school
  • Conducted parents & children meeting regarding the weakness of SDMC in school and gave awareness on the importance of SDMC and the roles & responsibility of the members toward the development of the school.
  • Conducted meeting for the children regarding mid- day meals whether the children are satisfied or dissatisfied with the meals that is been provided for them.
  • Conducted meeting with the Hasiru Sangha children regarding the water facilities, infrastructural facility in the school and the environmental problems in area.
  • Motivated the local community members, SHG, youth to submit letter to BEO about poor functioning & irresponsibility of school management & teachers.
  • In this meeting the members wrote letter to the respected department:
  • The members wrote letter to BBMP regarding lack of drinking water facility in the school.
  • Approached the B.E.O regarding poor functioning of the school system
  • The CRC & Hasiru Sangha children wrote a letter to the area counselor regarding lack of toilet facility and shortage of class in their school.
  • Community members and children submitted letter to BEO to establish 8th standard as more than 45 children have discontinued their higher studies due to distance of Urdu school-were most of the children are ideal 

 

PRESENT CONDITION IN THE SCHOOL:

  • BEO and given surprise visit to the school, gave written test for children on each subject and found that except children who attended APSA learning Center remaining children did not know their basics and general knowledge therefore the BEO warned the school HM & teachers 
  • SDMC is formed were majority of the members are in APSA SHGs
  • After attending several training on SDMC organized by APSA the members are actively participating towards the development of the school.
  • At present drinking water facility is been available in the school premises.
  • The B.E.O had granted permission to change the contract and now Mohsin Shariff is providing mid-day meals to the school, the children are now satisfied, even the teachers to have the mid-day meal along with children.
  • Drinking water and toilet facilities are accessible to all the children.