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Institute for Socially Disadvantaged Groups'
Educational Improvement

Location

Kolhapur, Maharashtra

Objectives

To provide educational facilities through balwadis, non-formal education centres, primary school and adult education to children and women of the deprived communities.

Project Report : April to Sept 1998

During the first half activities, the regular program of the institute contiued to run on a regular basis.

Education

The unit (Balwadi) in Rajendra Nagar slum has 50 children, out of which 30 are in higher K.G. and 20 in lower K.G. This unit run by ISDGEI is recognized by the govt. of Maharashtra and therefore has to follow their rules regards the number of children. The nutrition component of theis taken care of by individual donors and clubs.

In the first two years, children are taught basic concepts, general knowledge, arithmetic (counting, identifying shapes etc.), environmental studies and language skills. Some emphasis is given on reading and writing skills. Two girls have been admitted to the primary school (first standard).

Primary School

The primary school has about 320 children in various classes from 1st to 7th standard. The emphasis is on enrollment of female children. A regular follow-up is maintained of children who remain absent from school to reduce the number of children dropping out of school. During this visit, half yearly exams were being conducted. Of the entire strength of school children, only two were absent for this exam.

The primary school exam papers are provided by government run school since ISDGEI is recognized by the state government. The quality of teaching at this ISDGEI school has maintained its high standard, as is evident by the level of learning achieved by the students. An independent evaluation of the ISDGEI school and teaching methodology was conducted this year. The evaluation team has recognized ISDGEI as one of the best school, vis-a-vis the teaching quality, in the region.

Open School

From the last year's batch of the open school, two girls have been admitted to a formal school. Currently there are a total of seventeen children in the open school, of which twelve are in standards first through fourth, three in the sixth standard and two in the seventh standard.

The girl students attending the open school (NFE class) are employed and cannot give up their work due to family constraints. Older girls who were involved in rag picking prior to joining the open school, now work only on holidays. This year ISDGEI has discontinued the upper primary classes in the open school, due to a lesser number of students. The parents of these girls expected the organization to provide the benefits of the government scheme for education of girls, which provides 3 kg of rice and a Rs. 300 stipend (per child) for attending school upto standard tenth. Efforts were made to enroll as many girls into school as possible through the open school exams in the forth through seventh standards.

Vocational Training Unit

The vocational training course was conducted from April to May. the participants were girls above fourteen years of age and some interested women from the community. This involved tailoring (27 participant, 12 girls and 15 women) and rexin bag making (13 participants). Both the courses were well accepted and the participants achieved varied levels of proficiency. The tailoring course was better accepted, as it was easier to practice. Immediately after the training, a number of girls and women started earning by stitching clothes for other women and children from the community.

The course on rexin bag making could not be put into use by the participants individually after the training, since the machines required for this are expensive and ISDGEI has just one machine, which permits only one person to operate it at a time. ISDGEI has been getting small orders to provide this product to other organizations, but they have not been able to complete these orders, since these dates clashed with the school schedule.

Community Program

The community outreach program is slowly establilshing itself, with the ISDGEI appointing two new trained staff. This program currently caters to a population of about 4000. This number has increased since two new satellite slums have been added. A detailed survey of the project area was undertaken in the first half. This data is yet to be collated. This program has focused on awareness regards family planning and girl child education. About 28-30 Galli meetings have been organized to keep regular contact with the parents and the community. During discussions with a group of women, it was understood that the women were looking out for alternative sources of income in order to support their families. Many of them felt strongly about the education of their children, and were concerned about the lack of facilities for secondary education for girls in the vicinity.

Accounts Review

An accounts review was undertaken. The observations made are as given.

o ISDGEI presently maintains two cash books, one for FCRA and one for FC and non-FC (Gen. F). o The accounts are all linked except for cash balances. o Vouchers were not serially numbered from April '98. The serial numbers of vouchers were continued from last year. o All vouchers had CRY funds stamp. o Two voucher files were maintained - one for CRY and another for a general cash book. o The receipt side of the cash books were found to be blank. However the payment/expenditure postings are regularly maintained. We were informed that the receipt side is filled in at the end of every month. o Receipt books are serially numbered o ISDGEI has received a grant from Rotary Club for nutrition. o It was observed that ISDGEI has a regular inflow of donations in certain round figures, on certain dates, every month.

Plans for the next half year

o ISDGEI plans to conduct the second batch of vocations training course in the diwali vacations. o ISDGEI has approached the district collector for a piece of land near the community, and plans to shift the school premises there. The organization is finding it difficult to operate from rented rooms. o Continue the ongoing educational program o Analysis and interpretation of the data collected

Review

With the help of CRY support the two balwadis functioned smoothly with the coverage of 63 students. The organisation has also stressed upon the importance of health and hygeine and has conducted awareness programmes for the parents.

In the Primary school the average attendance has been about 97% - 98% and the drop out rate in the past 6 monhts was almost zero which is a notable achievement. There has been no child marriage of any school student which has been a major achievement. Most of the topics are taught by the teachers through the method of role play. The teachers have all been trained.

In the open school conducted by ISDGEI there is a 100% attendance rate. They are focussing on developing the language and communication skills of the children and encouraging them to participate in role plays. Sex education has also been imparted as part of the curriculum.

ISDGEI has begun active work with the local community and two communicty organisers have joined the institute. Rapport building with the youth groups in the community has been initiated. The CRY materials Bank has also disbursed educational material for the children at a nominal cost. This is being accepted by the community.

The project has committed teaching staff and they have established a good relationship with the children. However, there are space constraints for conducting the classes and non-availability of trained specialized teachers. Vocational training also needs to be strengthened.

ISDGEI plans to conduct a Baseline Data Survey to study the area better. A training programme on accounts has also been planned through CRY support.

Rs. 2,79,950/- was disbursed to ISDGEI for the period April'97 to September'97.

Detailed Project Report