Background

SHIKSHA CHETANA PROJECT

AboutSHG / SMC / Child club members and during preparation of Village level Education plan.

Shiksha Chetana is a new livelihood based educational program by the EdukansFoundation of Netherlands. It is designed to be implemented in closer involvement with the formal schooling system and community.Presently, it is implemented in cluster approach in Keonjhar and Sundargarh district. From June 1, 2008, SEWAK as a partner of the network is implementing the program in 11large revenue villages of Meghadega& Gambharidihi Gram Panchayat of Tangarpali Block covering a total population of 7817 living in 1822 households.

Gambharidihi & Meghdega are two contiguous Gram Panchayats of Tangarpali Block. Of the 1822 households inhabiting the two GPs, 1218 are ST & 160 are SC families. The combined total population of the two GPs is 7187. The 11 villages are made up of 63 scattered hamlets. The distance maintained by the hamlets from each other render regular interaction among communities inconvenient and keep them nearly aloof from one another. There are only 19 schools, seven having opened lately, to offer schooling to the children of all 63 hamlets. The literacy rate for the ST population stands at 37.34 percent only.

The project aims to avail and ensure relevant and quality education for the under privileged children between the age group of 6 to 14 years, and to mainstream the drop outs and non-enrolled youngsters between the age group of 15 to 18 years.

Thematic Areas Of The Project

There are three thematic areas of the program:

  • Education and Work:Increasing the relevance of education by expanding its content to include expertise, skills, and attitudes that are supportive of generating an income
  • Education for Marginalized Peoples:Promoting and supporting the right to relevant and good-quality education for politically, economically and culturally marginalised peoples, and
  • Local Solutions:Increasing access to relevant vocation training for the youngsters by means of feasible, affordable and sustainable local solutions

The first phase of the program would come to an end by July, 2011 and soon be followed by another 3 year term focusing entirely on lobby and advocacy.

Project Strategies And Implementation Process
Direct Poverty Alleviation:

Under ‘Earn while you learn’ activities, children acquire knowledge on different income generating skills which helps them to increase their confidence level for earning a livelihood in future. In 2008-09, the Village Education Committee shortlisted the two trades of floriculture and mushroom growing to train the 06-14 year old children. That year, 125 school drop-out students, in the age group of 15-19 received training in the trades like, carpentry, tailoring, bi-cycle repairing, mushroom cultivation, and fast-food making. In 2009-10, twenty-three (23) livelihood based skill trainings were conducted in 11 different categories for both school going and non-going students.

SHG training Students, SMC members in a rally of
Enrollment drive.
SHG training Children between the age group of 15-18 during a training programme of Mushroom cultivation.
Vocational’ & ‘Earn While You Learn’ Trainings in 2009-2010
Training Frequency 6 Fast food preparation 3
1 Vermin Compost 1 7 Floriculture 2
2 Carpentry 1 8 Grafting (Plant-based) 1
3 Tailoring 2 9 Kitchen Garden 4
4 Bi-cycle Repairing 1 10 Lac Cultivation 2
5 Mushroom Cultivation 5 11 Poultry Rearing 1
Strengthening Civil Society

ShikshaChetana puts emphasis on the Civil Society Organizations like; SHG/VEC/PTA/MTA/ EWG and PRI by guiding them through different orientation, training, exposure and interfaces, so that, with common purpose & combined strength, they will be able to pressure government for qualitative input to educational sector. During the previous year the volunteers prepared 13 Village Educational Plans at community meetings, oriented 628 members of 60 VECs, MTAs and PTAs, and involved 1152 WSHGs members in enrollment drives.

Lobby & Advocacy

Very often, the policies and program drawn out by the government do not get implemented properly at the ground level. While monitoring the process at the ground level the Community and Civil Society Organizations, may take recourse to lobby & advocacy to change the course of events in desired directions.

SEWAK organized rallies, community-government interfaces, and press conference to air community demands

Another component of the program is the ‘child club’ where the children interact with peers in a formal environment and develop his outlook on various subjects. With the cooperation from school and community the project staffs have constituted 19 Child Clubs in the area. The child clubs meet at regular interval and organize educative and cultural events. Some child clubs in the program areas have started gather money to help poor and needy students.

Sewak Institute For Computer Application
SHG training
SHG training

In recent times, computers have come to occupy an important place in every sphere of life making the knowledge of computer application an essential prerequisite for many jobs in the public and private sector. It is also a great aid for students preparing for examination, and for professionals pursing a significant career in life. However, due to rising course fees and absence of training institutes, students from rural and tribal area fail to enroll for a computer course and deprive themselves of many enjoyable opportunities. In 2007, SEWAK with a view to come to the aid of such students entered into a franchise agreement with IPHL and started a low-cost DCA level computer-training program at SEWAK head office complex. In a short time it became immensely popular among College Students of the area. However there was a need to expand the facility and reach out to students in more remote quarters of the district.

Prior to the end of agreement with IPHL in 2010, SEWAK had itself applied for an ISO Certificate and following verifications by the certifying authoritiesan ISOcertification (ISO 9001:2008 (E)) was awarded to it for Quality Management System. The certification guaranteed to be a major prop to its efforts of empowering excluded rural and tribal youths of the district with knowledge of IT sector.

Presently, SEWAK Institute for Computer Application, or SiCa, runs from two centers; one at the SEWAK head office complex and the other at Lephripara. The two centers together enroll 182 students in DCA, PGDCA and Tally course. One reason for the popularity of the program is low charges imposed on the student towards salary of the instructors and computer maintenance. The course fee charged from each students currently stands at Rs 900/- and Rs 2,400/- for DCA and PGDCA level courses respectively, in comparison to Rs 4,500/- and Rs 8,500/- charged by other eligible institutes in Sundargarh & other towns. Further, the course fee is payable in easy installments and there is more discount on fees for girls and ST students.