Improving Quality of Elementary Education Project (IQEEP)

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CUTS is working on child issues for more than a decade: both its Centres. CUTS CHD and CUTS CART) have worked extensively on child empowerment and child poverty issues in Chittorgarh, Bhilwara and Jaipur districts of Rajasthan. With grant support from Save the Children, UK, the organisation has worked hard on child rights through its Rural Girl Empowerment Programme (RGEP), and has been able to achieve very good results in five blocks of Chittorgarh (e.g. Kapasan, Chittorgarh, Nimbahera, Gangrar and Bhadesar) and one block (e.g. Baneda) of Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan. Under the programme, child forums were formed in all project villages called Bal Panchayats (Children Parliament) to address various child problems in the project area.

The IQEE was developed by CUTS CHD through ongoing field visits and consultations with target communities over a six-month period. After selecting villages, participatory rural appraisal method was adopted to gather village-specific information. There was also a site visit by relevant CUTS CHD officers. Throughout the whole period, Centre has conducted research and took networking initiatives with existing institutions in the project area. The girls are at the receiving end in all project villages and get hardly any support either from their family members or from the society. The school environment is also not appropriate to encourage girls for attending classes.

Location

Under the project, 25 villages of 6 Gram Panchayats (Chiksi, Devari, Semliya, Sehanwa, Ochari and Jalampura) of block Chittoor under Chittorgarh district would be covered as given below.

Gram Panchayats Villages
Chiksi Chiksi, Rajunathpura, Jitawal, Banasti
Devari Haapawas, Parliya, Devari ,Thukrawa, Gagsa, Rithola
Semaliya Semaliya, Jafarkhera Chothpura, Bilola
Sehanwa Sehanwa, Bojunda, Pachtoli
Ochari Ochari, Lalji Ka Khera, Barada
Jalampura Jalampura, Meeno Ka Kanthariya, Khor, Oradi Biloda

Principal Objective

The principal objective is to improve the quality of government elementary education system in Rajasthan, so that it becomes more relevant and responsive to the needs of children.

Operation-specific Objective

Quality of education in 27 government schools of 25 villages of Chittorgarh district in Rajasthan is improved, by increased stakeholders’ participation, inclusive of children from excluded groups in education planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Focus Areas

  • Increase the involvement of children and communities in educational planning and school management;
  • Improve the quality of education, by involving children in developing common minimum quality standards for schools; and
  • Ensure government policies and programmes relating to elementary education are effectively implemented.

Target Group

    Direct

  • About 5,000 children of 27 schools in the age group of 6-18 year from 25 villages in seven panchayats of Chittorgarh district;
  • 35 teachers of formal schools;
  • School Development Management Committee members of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA);
  • Staff and partners in the District Institute of Educational Training (DIET); and
  • Relevant duty bearers, i.e. policy makers, officials of education department, etc.
  • Indirect

  • 50,000 school-going children residing in the project districts;
  • Members of the Self Help Groups (SHGs)/Mahila Mandals and local Community-based Organisations (CBOs)
  • Anganbadi workers
  • Animators
  • Members of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)
  • Education, Social Welfare and Labour Departments at the district level
  • State Institute of Educational Technology (SIET)

Advocacy/Influencing Targets

  • DIET and SIET,
  • Relevant officials, e.g. policy makers, functionaries of education department, etc.
  • Community and religious leaders;
  • Donors, institutions and NGOs working on varied issues within the project area;
  • CUTS network and other such networks in the division;
  • MLAs, Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti at the local level; and
  • Representatives of the Judiciary, Police Department and Advocates.

Research Targets (research proposals only)

  • Children from the project area; and
  • DIET and SIET.

Expected Benefits

    Quantitative

  • School Development Plans in 25 schools;
  • Village level child-led minimum standards and action plan defined in 25 villages;
  • Village level education status report is generated at the village level in 25 villages; and
  • Initiation of the process of developing child-defined minimum standards of quality education for elementary classes in the Government schools in Rajasthan.
  • Qualitative

  • Orientation of faculty members of DIET in child-centred and inclusive teaching methodologies;
  • Relevant officials, e.g. policy makers, functionaries of education department, etc., are sensitised to bring about positive changes in the educational policy/programme and equipped with effective implementation of Government policies and programme; and
  • Increased children’s participation, through life skill education.

Girls in the age groups of 0-18 years belonging to the 25 villages in the district would be benefited from the project. All children of the age group of 0-18 from project area will be benefited from the changes in the social environment. There will be additional participants in the process of change, like women and youth from these villages. The district administration is also keen on learning from the programme and making the issues addressed in these forums a part of their programme.

Sustainability of the Project

Firstly, the project will be financially viable. A key tenet of the project is negotiation with the Government to fulfill its obligation towards education for all, which it is required to do under the Indian Constitution. The involvement of the Village Education Committee and the local people in the planning and execution of various project activities is the key component in determining the success of the project. Local involvement and leadership in the project increases its sustainability by maintaining the community’s commitment to the project and by providing a means of accountability with the stakeholders. Sensitisation programme for the panchayat members and school teachers will be organised, so that they are able to take up the responsibility of realising the rights of the children belonging to their village/school.

Sustainability is an important outcome of this project whereby it seeks to improve the communities’ self-worth, understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, and creation/re-establishment of strong networks. By cultivating relationships with relevant government representatives and locally active NGOs, CUTS CHD and Save the Children, UK will be creating a source of ongoing support. This includes technical advice, funding assistance and monitoring and evaluation. The members of the child forum will be oriented on a wide range of issues related to child rights and child participation, through capacity building workshops and exposure visits.

Books

  
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