Pratham Open School
Dropouts get a chance to return to education
Completing secondary schooling is still a problem in India because of poor elementary schooling combined with lack of access to secondary schools. Plus, in many communities, girls after a certain age are not allowed to receive education or for that matter to even step out of the house. Pratham Open School gives dropout students a chance to complete their education and acquire skills for employment. In exchange, they are also expected to teach a group of school aged children. These dropout trainees are likely to be more dedicated and effective than other volunteers since they themselves are in a yearlong intensive program to learn and train. These trainees can work with primary school children or pre-school children on a daily basis.
The Pratham Open School (POS) will be the centre of education for these drop-out girls. In a month each of these girls will spend 5 days at POS. Centre-based faculty will teach them during this time period. During the remaining 25 days of the month, a tutor, who will be based in a cluster of 20 villages, will teach them. There will be one tutor for each cluster.
The selection of these 20 secondary school drop-out girls will be done very meticulously. At the beginning of the session a larger group of 40-50 girls will be chosen from each cluster. Classes will be conducted for about 2-3 months post which a screening test will be conducted and 20 girls chosen based on their performance and keenness for the course.
Objectives of the program:
Changing socio-economic beliefs: By teaching children at higher levels of the schooling system, there is a certain system of belief that we instill in society. From being used to seeing girl children dropping out of the school system, they will now start seeing girl children clearing the secondary schooling system. This will lay the foundation to equality of various kinds – gender being an important one.
Increased capacity of girls: The concepts that will be taught to them will be beneficial not just for the secondary school examination but will also help them further their education and employability post std. X.
Increased coverage: In States like UP and Bihar where the number of children in a village is high and where the learning level of children is low, such an additional force of volunteers will be highly beneficial to the program. The coverage will increase greatly.
Increased sustainability: Pratham wants to provide more grounded holistic support – create an environment which is sort of self-supporting. By creating a structure where older children are taught who in-turn teaches younger children, there is a support system created. This makes the program more sustainable. It is a two-way approach working from both ends thus substantially increasing the learning level across the village.