At the world Education Forum (Dakar, 2000), 164 governments pledged to achieve ‘Education for All’ and identified it as one of the six goals to be met by 2015. This movement is a UNESCO initiated global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults
Albeit, sadly, in India, the reality is a far cry from this. The Private sector and institution has very little to offer in terms of reaching the United Nations’ millennium development goal of “Education for All”. Especially in Metro Cities and urban India, education is very unaffordable and inaccessible for migrant and underserved community. On the other hand, are Government Schools which have insufficiency of even basic amenities like toilets, drinking water, proper classrooms, teachers and enabling environment for education?Quality of education in Government schools is yet another issue. Most of the students still struggle to even read, write or do basic maths.
Vidyapeeth is the core program at Literacy India (LI) which bridges this gap, and aims at making quality education available and affordable to the underprivileged lot. This initiative of LI runs classes up to high school like any other school.Vidyapeeth is being run out of a school building at Village Bajghera, New Palam Vihar, Gurgaon. Children appear for their Board Exams through National Open School.
The beneficiaries of Vidyapeeth come from the lowest economic and social strata of the society, and many of them are first generation learners. These children are otherwise likely to be engaged in child labour or other menial labour at a very early age and can never expect to go to a school due to poverty and traditional attitudes. Volunteers from Literacy India approach parents,talk to them and counsel them to let their children attend school. The curriculum is designed in a way so as to generate and sustain children’s interest in education and their keenness to continue to attend school. This is superimposed with extra-curricular programs, and an experimental educational approach which together span a wider socio-cultural horizon, to capture the interest of these children. Through classroom contacts, excursions, and inspirational interaction with well-known personalities, the programis a learning process in itself. The idea is to enhance the process of overall growth of these children by building character, enabling them to be self reliant and most of all providing an opportunity to live a childhood that every child deserves.
Literacy India is of an inclusive approach to education, embedded in the larger social economic context of where these children come from. Class room learning is but a small part of this school. The idea is to offer as much as one can on one platter. Inputs extend beyond the regular curriculum and the staff works relentlessly with children and parents to support and enrich their daily lives with opportunity, value and meaning in work. Vidyapeeth academicians hugely believe in “Learning by Doing” – project based learning in an all-encompassing way which typically the school follows.
Need for Literacy India Vidyapeeth:
- Vidyapeeth aims at encouraging children for non-formal preparatory education. It makes affordable and quality education accessible for children of economically weaker section.
- The essence of the curriculum is to generate and sustain children’s interest in education and their keenness to continue to attend school.
- Literacy India uses an experimental educational approach to capture the interest of these children through classroom contacts, excursions, and inspirational interaction with well-known personalities, an exposure which is otherwise limited only to expensive private schools.
- Lack of financial backup, illiteracy and lack of awareness about education prevented parents to send their children to formal school. In most of the cases, these children are first generation learners. Vidyapeeth truly adds value to the children’s lives by instilling in them skills and competencies needed for emerging, evolving India.
- It provides opportunities to children of migrant parents all-round the year
- It provides a platform to children and others in the society, who otherwise lack opportunities for studying in school.
- It increases exposure and availability of regular ICT education, online and multimedia educational content to ensure fast learning and receptivity in case of older children and also to keep up with the emerging times.
- It inculcates value education; develops interpersonal skills, behavioural hygiene and life skills towards better opportunity.
- It provides age appropriate learning to students and enrols them to the right grade.
- It identifies extraordinary students for further schooling in government and private schools.
- Since focus is on education through project based learning as opposed to only textbook learning, this program captures interest of many.
Important facts & features about the Literacy India Vidyapeeth.
- Open door policy in the school, no student is refused admission all-round the year
- The School works & runs throughout the year
- Working towards Holistic development of Students
- Literacy India has accreditation of OBE (Open Basic Education) of NOIS, under which children appear for Class III, V & VIII Board exams. Class X th students appear through NOIS.
- The Vidyapeeth has special class of Mixed age groups – for over aged students or mid addmission, with the help of Literacy India’s software ”Gyantantra Digital Dost” have mainstreamed to regular classes.
- School has two computer labs, Two Smart Digi classrooms, very active Science Lab & library
- Literacy India also has NIELT accreditation which allows Class Xth – pass outs to enrol for CCC course while completing their Class XI & XIIth.
- Value Education, Every Day Science, Separate English Medium and Learning Constitution by doing real projects had been the highlight for Vidyapeeth Students last couple of years and its gaining momentum.
- Six monthly examination are held two times a year
- Children of Vidyapeeth have their own Science Blog too updated with their latest science experiments.
- Daily nutritious Midday Meal is provided to all students
- A dedicated sports coaches is provided for Martial Arts and Football training
- A dedicated Physical Trainer for daily exercise for all students across the school
- Vidyapeeth has football team which has girls in large numbers and winning trophies every odd month.
- Vidyapeeth has Martial Arts team winning Gold, Silver & Bronze from State to National level.
- Vidyapeeth provide basic uniform, shoes, sweaters, text books, stationary for free or at a basic cost to bring about parent involvement.
Parent or Community Involvement
- Three quarterly parent meetings are held each academic year. These meetings discuss student progress with parents. The exam papers are shown to the parents.
- For irregular students home visits are held and parents are met with
VIDYAPEETH: IMPACTING LIVES AT GREAT SPEED!
Aditya ( Child with high IQ)
Aditya has a flair for history and historical figures. He likes the historical figures who really believe in themselves and never give up. In a recent written English assessment, he named MaharanaPratap as one of his favourite historic figures, admiring him for his fearless nature, and the way he protected people. Aditya was recently featured in the local newspapers for his above average IQ. He has been selected, along with two other classmates from Literacy India, by Indian Mensa to receive academic mentoring. This will ensure he’s given the opportunity to meet his full potential, pursuing his passion for History, English and Chess.
His family is immensely proud of his latest achievement and have great hope for him in the future. Originally from Basti in Uttar Pradesh, his father moved with the family to Gurgaon, with the hope of creating a better future. He now works long hours in a factory making sim cards for mobile phones. He is on a low wage and has to support himself, his wife and their two children, Aditya and his younger sister who is in class 6 at Literacy India.
Aditya’s mother, who fractured her leg as a child and has had difficulty walking has struggled to find work in the past. But thanks to Literacy India, she is now also able to contribute to the family’s earnings. She has become a part of the team in the craft centre. This also fits into family life so she can still take care of her children.
Ritu (A case of Inclusive Education)
RituKumari joined Literacy India 2 months ago. At a tender age of 11, she has had a difficult start to life. Ritu’s father was killed whilst he was at work at his tea stall. For days together she saw her father lying in the hospital bed and later succumbed to the injury. She now lives with her mother at Dharam Colony (a huge urban slum in Gurgaon adjoining Sheetla colony). Her mother had left her elder sibling with the grand parents in the village to study. Her mother now supports Ritu and her brother, working long hours completing embroidery and textiles work. But the money is not enough to support Ritu’s needs.
Ritu has learning difficulties and from early childhood has found it hard to make friends and fit in anywhere. She has only one friend at school, because she is aggressive and violent towards the other children in her class. She frequently hits people, or tears up the work of others causing disruptions in the classroom, making it all the more difficult for her to be accepted by others, alienating her and increasing her low self esteem.
Ritu enjoys school and expresses a love of English and Hindi, but as doctors have diagnosed her with only 54% functioning memory it is hard for her to make progress in these and her other subjects. Therapy and medical attention would help her to start getting over the trouble she has experienced giving her greater opportunity to do well at school. Her teacher makes sure she is sitting on her own, explains work to her clearly and has the opportunity to work out any disagreements with others, but these strategies alone have not been very successful, and she needs more therapy, or may be better suited to a school that help children with special needs.
Judo (Student of Sports academy)
Annu Mandal joined LI in the year 2011 in class 2nd. A bright child, she cleared her class 2nd with good marks. She showed interest in judo and joined judo classes in 2014. When she joined the classes, she felt that it was difficult for her to perform judo. She had no confidence for it either.But Annu was not one to give it up! After practicing judo consistently, her confidence increased, she realized she loved this game and ended up winning many accolades. In judo tournaments, she has participated 8 times on ground level and won 7 gold medals for it. In September 2015, she played a State Level tournament and won a gold medal and certificate too.Annu attends Judo classes 4 days a week and she is incredibly passionate about it. She feels if she lags behind in studies she will make a career in Judo in the future. Her parents also encourage her for both studies as well as Judo classes. Her younger brother and 2 younger sisters are also studying here in LI. Annu comes from an extremely poor family. Her father is a laborer and earns Rs 8000 per month and her mother is domestic help, earns Rs 1200 per month. The family lives in an accommodation provided free of cost without any provision of electricity and water. Her mother often keeps ill-health. Her father is a tee-totaller and supports the family.
Annu is thankful to LI for their support and for giving her the opportunity to learn this form of art which hopefully will open new avenues for her.
Theatre (Student of theatre group Shiksharth)
Sahil’sfather is a driver and earns RS.7000. He has studied till 6th std. Mother is a housewife and is illiterate. The family lives in a rented house. His siblings study in a Government school.Sahil joined Literacy India in L.K.G.He has always been a good student. His hobbies are to act, dance, play cricket and read hindi story books. He’s a good child and helps his mom run various errands at home. He also teaches his 2 younger sisters whenever he gets time. Sahil has great zeal for acting. He constantly dreams of a life as an actor. He imagines more and more about performing and also helping others through his profession through charity. Sahil has participated in many plays-Ali baba challis chor,Narishaskaktikaran,Gulerbanauagachidiyamarunga,bhrathashri. He also has acted in an award winning film,BhaagMilkhaBhaag. He acted with Farhan Aktar as his little friend. This unique experience taught him how to behave with elders and how to interact with everybody. He gained immense confidence and got out of his shyness.