It is not easy to convey the world of positive change that we try to bring about in the lives of thousands of children every day. We keep experimenting and adopting innovative approaches to bring about a positive change on ground which is not permanent but sustainable too. This is the story of an innovative approach adopted by CRY supported
project Jammu and Kashmir Asosociation of Social Workers (JKASW) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which has been instrumental in ensuring education for children who were out of school.
The overall literacy rate in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is about 68% while female literacy rate is only 58%. The constant warring atmosphere and fear of attacks from across the border has impacted the prospects of education in the state. In the intervention areas, the awareness level of communities on importance of education is low and engaging children in family enterprises at very young age is a common practice which is impacting school enrollments. Poor infrastructure of existing schools coupled with access issues in the context of difficult terrain is also a contributing factor for low enrollments and drop outs.
JKASW, after much experimentation from 2010-12 evolved a system of a bridge course for such children who were leaving education mid-way. But it was soon realized that this wasn’t enough as only few children could be mainstreamed. In the period of 2012-14 JKASW started imparting SSA’s formulated Non Residential Bridge Course (NRBC) syllabus. This served two main goals – one, it became easier to utilize a universal curriculum across all centers and secondly, the certification could be authenticated by educational authorities as they recognized this syllabus. This step helped in increasing the enrollment and mainstreaming the number of children in school. The organisation also improvised the way of teaching the SSA syllabus and sought joyful methods of learning. They added a few more reference books and teaching tools for enhancing the concept clarity while teaching the SSA module. By the year 2015, with the support of our corporate partner PNB Metlife, CRY and JKASW extended the number of Child Activity Centres (CAC) to 28 catering to 100 habitations across the districts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Baramullah and Bandipora. The CACs soon started imparting not just bridge course to drop outs but also education to never been to school children, remedial education to mainstreamed school drop outs for enhancing retention CACs were now reaching out to children and helping them bring out their voices & making them aware of their rights.
To make the CACs holistic, now the plan is to start accelerated learning classes for school enrolled first generation & slow learners to prevent drop outs. At present the 28 CACs are directly impacting 3500 children in the CRY supported intervention areas. The CACs also have a positive indirect impact on all the children in the community. The intervention has been instrumental in bringing 1565 children back to school. The innovation cell at the Directorate of School Education, Kashmir has invited JKASW to orient the NRBC-in-charges of Kashmir Division about the NRBC component prescribed under Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) which is planned in April-May 2016. Our corporate partners PNB Metlife and J&K Bank have played a pivotal role in bringing about this change. Their support has helped us in expanding our reach across the various districts and also increasing the strength of the CACs.
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