The Right to Education law in India guarantees free and compulsory schooling to all children up to Grade 8. However, for a variety of reasons (such as distance, cost, access, socio-economic constraints and cultural barriers) many students drop out of school or discontinue their education. This phenomenon is even more pronounced for girls and young women especially in rural areas.
The challenges of re-entering the education system and accessing further learning opportunities are huge, especially for young people who did not finish elementary or secondary school. While India has open schooling opportunities, there is lack of awareness and adequate motivation and support for a student to use open schooling as a way of continuing their education.
Pratham's Second Chance program focuses on providing school drop-outs, especially women, another chance at education. Second Chance aims to support those who could not complete their secondary education. The program focuses on completion of Grade 10, in the hope that this academic certificate would prove useful for the learners and further their opportunities for educational growth and employability. The Second Chance program uses innovative teaching methods, to provide accessible and affordable learning opportunities very close to where the students live. Some of the Second Chance programs are residential and others are non-residential.
Currently, Pratham has Second Chance centres in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana.
The Second Chance program prepares and supports students to take the Grade 10 - Secondary Board/Open School examinations. The program runs in two phases. The first phase is called the Foundation Course (FC). When the students first enrol in the program, they go through a Foundation Course as a part of the preparation for the Secondary School exam curriculum. The Foundation course lasts for 3-4 months. It addresses the need to catch up with fundamentals, to enable the student to cope with the syllabus for Grade 10 exams. Subjects like English, Mathematics, Language (State specific), Science/Home Science and Life skills are covered. Assessment in form of a Pre-test, at the onset of FC and Post-test, at the end of FC are conducted to track the learnings levels of the students and their growth during the Course.
After the Foundation course, students move to the Main Course, where they study in an interactive environment that includes discussions, debates and presentations through group learning and peer learning activities.
As part of an effort to improve employability skills, exposure to personal development concepts is provided through vocational courses with modules such as health and hygiene, child care, development and nutrition and digital learning (in selected centres).
Over the years, over 18,000 (27000) students have benefited from Pratham’s Second Chance program. The number of students who appeared for the Board examinations till now are 1,134. 17134 Overall, the pass percentage of students is 75%.