Life Skill Education Training for Bal Sabha Members
The life skill education training for children of IQEEP villages were organized in two phases. The purpose of the training was to teach children about the characteristics of life skill and method of saying no to wrong things. The first training was organized on March 16 & 17 and was held at CHD. Seventy Five children from twelve villages attended the training programme. The second training held on March 21 & 22 at CHD. Seventy Five children from thirteen IQEEP villages attended the programme. Children attended were the members of the Bal Panchayat and Bal Sabhas. The training was residential.
Multi-stakeholder Public meeting
The Jan Sammelan (public meeting) under the IQEEP was held at CHD on March 16. Narmada Bhambi – Additional District Education Officer (Primary), Chandra Kanta Tripathi Additional District Education Officer (Secondary), Suresh Sharma, Additional District Education Officer (Sarwa Sikhsha Abhiyan), Abha Mehta – Professor – DIET, Kumar Bikram- District Convergence Officer, UN Agency and officers from District Education Office attended the programme and expressed their views on quality education. The meeting was attended by stakeholders of IQEEP project specially members of School Development & Monitoring Committee (SDMC).
The purpose of the meeting was to bring stakeholders, policy makers and government officials on the same platform to discuss the problems of the quality education and encourage them for the coordinated effort for addressing the problems. Amit Chowdhary, Center Coordinator CHD presented the finding of the survey carried out in the IQEEP villages on quality education. Stakeholders spoke out their problems and assured to help CHD and district administration in promoting quality education in schools. District officials promised to help community in promoting quality education. Amit requested stakeholders to own assets of schools and protect from being damaged. Two hundred and twenty-five participants attended the meeting.
CUTS- Centre for Human Development organized one day Jan Sammelan on March 16, 2009, at Center for Human Development (CHD), Chittorgarh, under the IQEEP with the financial support from Save the children – Bal Raksha Bharat under Improving Quality Elementary Education Project (IQEEP).
The objectives of organizing Jan Sammelan were as follows:
- Reviewing and planning for improving status of education at village level
- Ensuring community participation for improving quality education
- Sharing of knowledge and experiences
- Updating stakeholders on efforts taken by CUTS for improving quality education
- Briefing about the status of education in project area gleaned on the basis of the survey carried out by CUTS
Total 250 participants including community members & leaders, PRI members, Government officials and representatives from NGOS attended the function. Abha Mehta, Lecturer-DIET; Narbada Bhambi, Additional District Education Officer (Elementary); Chandrakant Tripathi, Additional District Education Officer (Secondary); Mr Suresh Sharma, Additional District Coordinator (SSA) and Mr Kumar Bikram UN-District Convergence Officer addressed participants during the function. Amit Chowdhury – Center Coordinator CHD, Madan Giri Goswami, Madan Lal Keer, Sanjay Moud, Nitu Joshi and Vandana Chauhan from CUTS-CHD were present during the function.
AC welcomed all participants by giving bouquet and briefed the purpose of the Jan Sammelan. The procedure was as follows;
1. Presentation on updates of the IQEEP
2. Presentation on findings of the survey carried out by CUTS in project villages
3. Session on role of SDMC members
4. Open Discussion
1) Presentation on updates of the IQEEP
- Madan Lal Keer presented brief introduction of Improving Quality Elementary Education project (IQEEP). Madan informed that the project is covering 27 Government schools in 25 villages of Six Gram Panchayats of the Chittorgarh district. He shared the progress of the project & its impact. In this connection he shared information which is as under:-
- 25 Bal Panchayats & Bal Sabha shave been formed in all 25 identified villages & regular meetings with them are being conducted to strengthen them.
- Regular meetings with community leaders are being conducted and Village Development Plan has been finalized in 25 villages with their active participation.
- Awareness is being generated among the members of Bal Sabha and Bal Panchayats on issues like health, education, sanitation, life-skills, etc.
- Leadership skills among children are being enhanced through various activities and discussions.
- Development of positive environment in community.
- Parents have been aware towards education for their children & they have started visiting schools for taking information about progress of their children’s education.
- Community and teachers are actively cooperating in effective implementation of the project.
- Awareness among SDMC member is being created about their roles and responsibilities for betterment of schools.
2) The status of Elementary Education
Amit Chowdhury, Center Coordinator CHD, appreciated the cooperation & coordination of the parents & community in furthering the efforts being made by CUTS. He also briefed the findings of the survey conducted by CUTS for knowing the present status of elementary education, which are as follows:-
- Most schools having toilets are remain locked. Only 7 percent children are using them.
- 70 percent members of the SDMC do not know that they are members of the SDMC.
- Teacher-student ratio and teacher-classroom ratio are inadequate.
Amit raised concern on the findings of the survey and requested participants to play active role in bringing quality in education. Amit also requested government officials to involve community in the planning process and promote the community ownership of the education system.
3) Sharing of experience by SMDC Members
- Members of SDMC & community leaders shared their experiences and concerns, which are as follows:-
- Madan Lal Vaishanav, SDMC member Thhukrawa village of Devri Panchayat said that it is his wish to provide better education to his children but the level of education in the school in his village is not satisfactory. Children waste a lot of time doing useless activities delegated by the teachers like cleaning, bringing water, etc. Another major problem is that there is no drinking water facility in school, which requires immediate action.
- Smt. Geeta Bai Rangaswami from Lalji Ka Kheda of Ochhari Panchayat said that children of their community beg on Saturday and Tuesday in name of the God to earn money. The children are afraid of going to school and there are about 100 children of her community who have never enrolled in school.
- Mr. Nana Lal Ahir, SDMC member, Jaferkheda appreciated the infrastructure developed by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) at Government Schools and said that the school in his village does not have a boundary due to which animals enter the school campus and destroy plantations. He also raised doubt whether the fund allocated for the construction of urinals and toilets have been used properly as their quality is not satisfactory.
- Community leader Mr. Mithhu Lal Jat from Khor village of Jalampura Panchayat said that education plays most important role in present scenario in social mobility. So every child must go to school. He also accepted that in his village there are some never enrolled children in his village and gave assurance to make efforts to get these children enrolled in school.
- Smt. Sajjan Kunwar, Anganwari Worker of village Pastoli of Sehnava Panchayat discussed the problem if drinking water in the shool.
4) Open Discussion Session
Following are the highlights of the interactive session:
- Highlighting the importance of the SDMC in betterment of the school education, Suresh Sharma said that role of the SDMC is most important for improving quality education. SDMC has the power to decide how they can work collectively to improve the school of their village. Only active community members should be chosen as SDMC members. He also gave information about Kasturba Gandhi Vidhyalaya & Bridge course run by SSA and said community should take advantage of this free services being provided by Government free of cost.
- Chandrakant Tripathi said that mother is the first teacher for her children. It is also her prime responsibility to come forward & make committed efforts for ensuring quality education to her children.
- Lauding the efforts made by CUTS Narbada Bhambi said that it is our responsibility to ensure the right kind of education to our children. In this process, the role of teachers is of utmost importance. The teachers should take their responsibility seriously as they are in a way participating in the process of nation building.
- Kumar Bikram said that Government is making serious efforts at all level for improving the standard of school education. We must realize that the fund being used is our own money. We must use it very judiciously and participate in betterment of education.
- Rameswar Sharma from Prayas NGO said that strong action should be taken against social evils prevalent in society like the child marriage by doing advocacy on one hand and community sensitization and awareness on the other.
The Sammelan concluded with the plan to expedite the effort in bringing quality in education. The SDMC members and parents gave word to participate in school management and take interest in their children’s’ education. The government officials assured to continue their good effort in education reform and strengthen community participation in the betterment of school management. All stakeholders thanked CUTS for its initiative for bringing various stakeholders on a common platform for discussing issue like betterment of education and requested to continue the noble effort for making the future of children. Madan Giri Goswami thanked all the participants for their participation and valuable contributions.
CUTS Celebrates International Consumer Day
A function was organized on the occasion of International Consumer Day at CHD on March 15, 2009. Samit Sharma, District Collector; Vimla Sethiya, Member, State Consumer Forum; Shayam Sunder Sharma, District Supply Officer; and BL Sishodiya, Senior Advocate graced the occasion. More than 100 participants, including district officials, teachers, members of consumer club, villagers, businessmen and non-governmental organization (NGO) workers were present in the event. Discussions were centered on consumer problems. Samit Sharma stressed on the need for generating awareness on generic medicines. Since two-three months, consumers of Chittorgarh have saved more than Rs 15 million by using generic medicines. Vimla Sethiya lauded CUTS’ effort in resolving consumer problems. She requested consumers to be cautious while purchasing goods.
Shayam Sunder Sharma briefed about the initiatives taken by the District Consumer Cell and CUTS in raising consumer awareness and resolving consumers problems. Amit Chowdhury spoke on junk and canned food and how it is affecting children’s health. He shared the findings of a sample survey, ‘The Junk Food Trap’ carried out by CUTS. Participants during the event raised concerns on the behavior of shopkeepers and stressed on the need to strengthen information dissemination process to educate consumers about their rights and responsibilities.
CUTS was requested to take the lead role in addressing consumer problems. Rallies were also organized in two blocks: Rashmi & Begu of Chittorgarh district. CHD consumer volunteers were given the responsibility for organizing rallies involving local school children. The purpose was to raise consumer awareness.