The Right to Education Act passed in the year 2009 seeks to provide free and compulsory education to children in the age group of 6-14 years, as it is education that is a child’s greatest hope of breaking out of poverty. Yet the school dropout rate is high. Poverty is the most predominant social evil that keeps children away from attending schools. Apart from economic constraints of the parents, whether in urban or rural communities, high teacher-student ratio in primary schools, lack of education among adult members of families, and lack of proper infrastructure are other major deterrents to continuation of education amongst the children from vulnerable communities.
As the ultimate goal of the Children International is for children to graduate from the program with the skills necessary to find decent jobs so they can support themselves and their families and bring change to their communities. So ensuring access to a good education is a top priority of our programs.
All children and youth who attend school, from pre-school to alternative education programs, to vocational training and tertiary-level programs are provided with a core benefit of two of the following: school fees, school supplies, uniforms, textbooks, or transportation fees. These benefits are intended to eliminate some of the costs of school participation for families and therefore increase school completion rates among sponsored children and youth.
In Delhi this has been the most prominent program implemented by Children International in Bawana with 5 pre-schools catering to the children aged between 3 to 5 years with the primary focus being on school readiness through addressing social, cognitive and physical needs of the children.To ensure an early start to education, Early Childhood Care and Education has been started in 2013 for 150 children across three Community Centers of Narkeldanga, Jorasanko and Hazra with the aim of increasing the incidence of school enrolment amongst pre-primary aged children between the ages of 3 – 5 years.
Children are also encouraged to visit our community center libraries, where they have access to resources such as computers, books and reference materials. There are libraries available at all our Service Area Centers which are safe, stimulating environments for the children where they can learn and grow. The most recent is the library at the Tilden – Keller Community Centre which currently has 1000 books and educational toys. The services are availed by children, their siblings and volunteers. Sessions are divided into reading sessions and activity sessions where apart from book reading, participants get to build their presentation skills, confidence etc. through role plays, story-telling etc.
Computers, although not a rare sight in the communities where Children International works, whether it be Bawana or Kolkata, remain expensive for the children and youth to access. Children International through its computer training makes these easily accessible. Children/youth, their siblings, as well as volunteers learn and practice their computing skills, and the youth look at these courses as stepping stone to careers in computers.
To further ensure school retention Group Tutoring Program has also been introduced to make the academic base of children stronger so that they can cope better in high school and HOPE Scholarship provides the youth the resources to continue their education in either a college or a trade school setting, thus bridging the gaps that may prevent the children/youth from receiving complete education and becoming self-reliant adults
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