Multiple Action Research Group (MARG)

Project Theme

Education

Target Group

Children

Project Period

01 Apr 2014 - 31 Mar 2015

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Introduction

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE Act) came into force on April 1, 2010. The Act provides the right of children from 6 to 14 years of age to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighborhood school. This act puts the responsibility of ensuring enrollment, attendance and completion of education on the government and makes state and local bodies accountable for the implementation. MARG (www.ngo-marg.org) believes in justice through legal empowerment. It has chosen to work in Orissa due to its low education averages, which are below national averages at every level of education. Oxfam India plays the role as sole funder of this project. Oxfam supports advocacy and research initiatives.

Impact by partner
  • Increasing access to RTE in Cuttack, particularly among students from minority communities: Baseline survey was conducted in rural and urban Cuttack to map the access to and quality of education particularly among Muslim children. A cadre of RTE justice workers was created who made important interventions ranging from increased allocation for school infrastructure to appointment of teachers. Awareness programmes were also held for the Muslim communities. An RTE Mela was also held at the state level in Bhubaneshwar to highlight issues of education of Muslims and Tribals.
  • Strengthening the functioning of Orissa State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) and Strengthening the State Commissioner of Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) with reference to implementation of the RTE Act: The project Cuttack 2012-13 saw the joint training of RTE justice workers and the paralegal volunteers of the District Legal Services Authority in Cuttack. Networking meetings were held with the SCPCR as well as the NCPCR representative in Odisha.
  • Creating legal literacy materials to facilitate increased awareness on RTE Act among stakeholders: The RTE manual in English and Odia were finalised. Fliers and posters were also prepared.
  • Trainings were also conducted for SMC members to strengthen their functioning. Workshops were also held for lawyers and law students to spread awareness on RTE issues and examine redress avenues.

Case Study

Zarina Bibi is an inspiring RTE Justice Worker trained by Multiple Action Research Group (MARG) from Urban Cuttack, Odisha. She is 45 years old, married to a rickshaw puller and is a mother of six children. Zarina Bibi had attended one of the Awareness Meetings on Right to Education organised by MARG in collaboration with local NGO BIRD. Zarina was deeply motivated to learn about what the law says about the Right to Education for children between 6 to 14 years of age.

It was then she decided to come ahead and volunteer to get trained and work as a RTE Justice Worker.

In her own words she says, “I was a home-maker, but things changed after I participated in the training's provided by MARG and awareness workshops about Right to Education and how we as active citizens can access it. This gave me hope to do something worthwhile for our children. Receiving a training certificate after participating in MARG’s three day training was an honour as it gave me confidence to bring about some change in the community where I live.”

One of the significant achievements for her was that she went to a school to get the two Muslim children enrolled. The teachers at the school were a little rude and adamant about not letting her in. After a long argument with the school head master and teachers, Zarina Bibi showed her training certificate and spoke to the teachers about what the law said about free and compulsory education for children from the community. As a result she was successful in getting the two children enrolled in the school. She is happy to be able to bring some positive changes in the community and help children get education. Zarina Bibi continues to work as an ‘RTE Justice Worker’ with more confidence to get more children enrolled in schools.