UDYAM is a public charitable Trust registered under Income Tax Act 1961. A not for profit initiative rendering grass root services in the field of health, education and economic development to underprivileged communities in around small villages in Odisha. In the year 2013-2014 Sackhumvit Trust continued to finance Udyam's two night schoolsin Kalikuda and Pitakhalia villages of Erasamma Block in Odisha. The program focuses on dropout students and ensures opportunity to at least 50 young children to train and qualify them to enter formal primary schools. The objective of Sackhumvit trust partnering with Udyam is to re enforce a vision where faith in oneself and opportunities provide platform for ones entire being to grow and bloom.
The principal source of occupation in the villages of Orissa is agriculture. Like most villages in other parts of India, a majority of the rural population in Orissa is dependent on agriculture to earn their livelihoods. The children too need to work in the fields or look after their siblings hence not enjoying the privilege of education. Keeping the circumstances in view ST partnering with UDYAM started night schools as an intervention to provide basic learning and writing skills. Two villages were ear marked and involving the community as a whole and some educated volunteers in particular the night schools were established.
- In the last one year of project, community members have realized the importance of education and performed their role to make the two learning hubs to be established in their villages.
- Community members are regularly monitoring the learning hubs and discussing the growth of their children in the parent teacher meeting once in every month.
- In the two learning hubs of Jagatsinghpur 52 children were studying in their respective classes. After 6 month of the project period it was found that they are attending the learning hub regularly where as some of them are still irregular in Goverrnment primary school. One of the reasons was may the simple teaching methodology and commitment of the volunteers in the learning hubs verses the government primary schools.
- Out of the total students more than 80% children showed remarkable progress and now able to read Odia and 50% can read English. The same trends of improvement are also seen in writing skills of the student. children now are able to read their Odia text books as well as Odia news paper also. Some of the elder students are able to read English text books also. The impact of the intervention was clearly visible.
Outcome and Action
An initial baseline feasibility study of the night school learning study was conducted among the students of the two villages. The data analysis of the checklists and the results obtained through continuous monitoring were first shared with the local women followed by a group discussion. A public hearing was then organized and the results discussed with the local volunteers few senior members and community at large. The analysis showed that though the children were attending government school they were irregular and not interested. Further study was done among students to measure the progress made while attending government school and the night hub school started in collaboration with Sackhumvit Trust. It was noted that in the new learning hubs of Rayagada District most of the students who were earlier unable to read evenOdialanguageweremakingprogress. Most of them were unable to write Odia were able to write basic alphabets. Clearly the night school was helping the children. Regular attendance and encouragement resulted in children reading and writing their mother-tongue and English alphabets and sentences as well.
- Two ongoing night schools in Erasama Block of Jagatsinghpur District are continuing from 1st April 2013 with strength of total 52 students. Community members have decided to monitor the learning hub regularly and send their children to learning hub every day. 2 women teachers are conducting the night schools. The timing of learning hub in morning is 7 AM to 10 AM and in afternoon 4 PM to 6 PM. Children are taking keen interest in attending the school. Attendance registers are kept in the school and teacher keeps the record of attendance of the students on a daily basis.
- Teachers are selected from same community to avoid communication barrier and ensure healthy relation building with students.
An interesting fact to note is the learning hubs are not confinedenly to the lessons of the book. Students are learning alphabets, abacus, Odia, English and different topics on the environment surrounded by aspects of their daily life like soil, plant, river, sun, moon etc. Teachers are ensuring practical and joyful method of teaching by taking students outside of the class room. Students have learnt on soil by doing practical exercise. Students learned on how soil forms, soil erosion the role of soil in plants life and human life, which is fertile soil and which is non-fertile soil and how to recognize fertile soil etc. This has a direct benefit to students whose parents are predominantly farmers.
Monitoring of the learning hubs
In each village there is an education committee selected by community members to monitor the functioning of learning hubs. Education committee is responsible for ensuring total attendance in the learning hubs as well as attendance and timing of teacher. Community members including education committee meat once in a month and discuss on functioning of school and progress of students. Based on this discussion education committee monitors the learning hubs. Through this process community members feel ownership of the learning hubs and take responsibility at the front. This ensures the sustenance of the learning hubs.