Gram Sathi works with the S.C& S.T, mushar community based in Bihar which are considered to the poorest of the poor and socially disadvantaged communities of the region. address the factors that come in the way of children not being able to access their right to education. We work on solutions together with the communities. The approach on the ground includes:
Access to equitable and quality preschool, primary and secondary education in our intervention areas
Mobilizing and empowering parents and communities to act towards children's right to education
Transition of children from pre-school to primary education
Making stakeholders understand the importance of education
Ensuring that in intervention areas, schools are compliant with the Right to Education Act and have functioning School Monitoring Committees
Awareness amongst parents on the importance of education and the consequences of child marriage
Access to secondary schools and developing readiness for secondary education
Protection and security of girls within the community, their safe access to schools, and retention in schools
Lobby for schools where they are not available and advocate for better monitoring of schools at various levels
Education is one of the most effective agents of change in society. When a child is able to go to school today, he or she sets off a cycle of positive change. But, thousands of children in India lack access to education and can’t even write their own names. Moreover, underprivileged children between the ages of 11 to 14 years are hugely vulnerable to dropping out of schools. An educated child stays away from an early marriage and is empowered to stand up against exploitation. As children grow, they are able to make better choices for themselves and influence the communities they live in. This transforms their present life and ensures a secure future for them.
But even today, one of the major problems is rampant illiteracy in India. The literacy rate in the country stands at 74.04% (according to the National Census, 2011). When it comes to children, the effects of illiteracy are manifold.
While the goal of universal elementary education is a long way from being achieved, and affects the condition of education for children, even adult illiteracy has effects on them. Statistics have shown that children of uneducated mothers are more prone to problems like malnutrition and anemia. Illiterate adults are also less likely to send their children to school. Education is, in all probability, the most influential tool required to break the vicious intergenerational cycle of abuse, malnutrition, poverty and oppression. Literacy thus requires a lot of attention.
In addition to this, about 35% children in India with disabilities remain out of Elementary school (District Information System for Education – DISE, 2011-12) and the National Dropout Rate at the Elementary Level is over 40% (DISE, 2011-12).
Despite the Right to Education (RTE) Act coming into force in 2010, access to education for every child remains a huge concern in the country. The following are statistics that portray the seriousness of the situation:
‘Advocacy for implementation of the National Policy on Early Childhood Care and Education Policy
Facilitating evidence and knowledge building towards a comprehensive legislation for the rights of children in the age group of 0- 6 years
The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act amended to incorporate critical parameters of quality, equity and monitoring
Specific Policy Provisions for the most marginalized population to ensure increase in transition and retention rates
Advocacy and Research focused on effective measures of prevention and redressed of child marriage and child labor through legal and policy interventions
Advocacy and Research in areas of universalisation of secondary education
Analysis and advocacy for adequate provisioning of Budgets in Primary and Secondary Education
11% of the schools in our country don't have toilets. 2,80,775 schools do not have toilets for girls. In 34% of the schools, the toilets are either in unusable or extremely bad conditions
49% of the schools don't have hand-wash facilities near the toilets
Around 3.2% of the schools don't have access to safe drinking water. And almost 12% have their drinking water source (tap/hand pump) outside the school premises
94% of the schools don't have a School Management Committee (SMC)
55% of the schools reported that their SMCs were not involved in the school development plans. And in 53% of the schools, it was reported that SMCs were also not involved in monitoring the utilization of financial grants
The Pupil-Teacher Ratio (PTR) for schools (primary and upper primary) was calculated as 1:30 for primary schools and 1:35 for upper primary schools
Non-availability of head teachers was reported at 49.8% and 51.3% for primary schools that have an enrollment of more than 150 children and for upper primary schools that have an enrollment of more than 100 children respectively
Only 24% of the schools have electricity and computer facilities
‘Right to Education’ & Education for All’ is an important theme of working of Gram Sathi since long. In 2015-16, it continued with same intensity. Regular workshops were organized by Gram Sathi in Upar Chakmadhia, Jaipur and Katiyari villages of Katoria block in Banka district in Bihar which promoted a good impact on improving education among children in the villages. It is worthy to mention here that Middle School of Upar Chakmadhia village was lying closed for want of teachers. To solve the problem, contacts were made by the members of Gram Sathi with the representatives of the education department, gram panchayats and local communities of the area. After proper planning, 5 teachers were selected and the school got re-started. Gram Sathi was given the responsibility to manage this school by the concerned authorities and local community. At present, 729 children (Boys-462 and Girls- 267) are studying in this school successfully.