How can we make sure children attend school?

Posted by Stuti Parekh on 29 May, 2018

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Make Learning more Enjoyable and more Connected to Real Life and Growth!

Posted by Puneet Goyal on 14 Nov, 2018

There are different perspective to the problem since in some cases it is the parent who chooses to engage the child in labor/household chores specially in underserved communities, and in some cases the child falls out of the learning cycle.

From a decision makers/parents perspective, Prachi has very aptly shared the reasons for all of us to explore best solutions. This share is from a child’s perspective and more so from underserved communities which largely face this issue of dropping out of schools or very low attendance.

We, all adults, if look inwards, how and why do we learn anything at all? Any skill, habit, lifestyle or art that we learn, why do we really do that? Largely two reasons:

  1. We enjoy learning & experiencing the learning process and
  2. We see our growth and aspirations being fulfilled with the learning.

Now let’s look at the question from a child’s perspective:
Do the schools of today, the affordable private schools & govt schools for the underserved kids give them any such experience?
Does a child really happily and proactive enjoy the learning process that is being followed in the schools? and...
Can he clearly connect the learning to his/her growth and aspirations practically not theoretically… That’s the gap we all need to fulfil.

Enjoyable Learning
There can be various ways in which we as the adult community serving them have to try:

  1. Game based Learning
  2. Storytelling
  3. Role Plays
  4. Digital learning
  5. Activities and Community Service Involvement for Kids at School
  6. Music as a way to learn
  7. Art/Drawing/Painting on the subjects/topics as a way to learn
  8. Dance as a part of learning

Lots of conscious educators have been doing amazing experiments with enjoyable learning and we need to bring them into mainstream school education with access for everyone.

Connect Schools to Life Skills & Growth
Connecting school education to real life skills and growth is another very important need of the hour and can be initiated via industry connect, inspirational books, biographies, leadership sessions and activity based experiential learning.

Achievers in every sphere of life can be connected to school kids via short messages, brief sessions, digital connect or any way, in order to bring practical inspiration to them in which ever field their energies go.

Various other ways would have been tried by best of educators somewhere in some regions, but they are just dependent on some conscious educators and mentors. We need to democratize access to such ways of learning for everyone.

To sum up for now, we need to solve these two gaps, in order to ensure that the children happily attend school regularly, seeing it as their source of happiness and future growth.

P.S.: We, at iDream Education, are trying to do a bit towards this, via facilitating access to enjoyable digital learning in their own language to underserved rural learners. Connect with our work at www.idreameducation.org

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Targeting the decision makers

Posted by Prachi Kishore on 29 May, 2018

Suppose you are a parent in rural India, or parts of Africa, or China. You are poor. School is available for your children. But you may have to pay school fees, and you must buy uniforms and books. The nearest school is in the next village – a dangerous walk for a young girl.

Besides, you need your daughter at home to fetch water and take care of her younger siblings. You know that education is important – but it is your sons who will support you when you are old, while your daughters will become part of their husbands’ families. Your decision is easy – the boys, and only the boys, go to school.

The central paradox in girls’ education is that going to school is good for girls. Educated girls make more money. They are more productive farmers and have smaller, healthier, better-educated families of their own. They are even less likely to catch the AIDS virus. Educating girls is also great policy for a nation. Closing the educational gender gap boosts economic growth.

But educating girls is not necessarily good for parents – and they make the decisions. Most poor people in the world live in societies in which the girl marries into her husband’s family. Educating a daughter, these cultures say, is like watering a neighbor’s garden. Parents will send their girls to school only if the costs are very low.

That’s one reason why far fewer girls than boys go to school. Of children in primary school today, 150 million will drop out before they finish – two thirds of them girls. In Africa, the majority of girls do not finish primary school.

School is often very expensive. School fees in some countries, such as the Congo, are more than the national per capita income. When Tanzania abolished school fees in January, 2002, school attendance doubled overnight – and most of the new students were girls. There are other costs. Parents must buy books and uniforms. When Kenya tried abolishing fees for uniforms, books and school construction in some places, students stayed in school 15 percent longer.

The other cost to parents is the lost value of the girls’ work at home. To solve this problem, many countries now pay families to send children, especially girls, to school. Bangladesh's government provides 15 to 20 kilograms of grain, mainly wheat, per month to families of poor boys and girls if they maintain 85 percent attendance in primary school. The government also pays a stipend to all girls in rural areas in grades 6 through 10, covering the cost of tuition, exams, books, supplies, uniforms, transportation and even kerosene for lamps to study by. The girls must keep up minimum grades, attend classes and not get married until out of school. This program has boosted girls’ enrollment from 27 percent to 60 percent.

Bangladesh is also home to the schools run by BRAC, the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee. BRAC's community schools have doubled the completion rates of government schools by overcoming the hidden obstacles to educating girls. BRAC runs more than 30,000 schools for poor students, many in places where the nearest government school is far away. Teachers are women – often local high school graduates given training by BRAC. These features reassure parents that their daughters will be safe on the way to school and while in class. School schedules work around harvests and allow girls to be home during peak chore times. BRAC schools are run in close consultation with parents and do everything possible to help parents give their daughters the gift of learning.

Originally posted on The New York Times by Tina Rosenberg (https://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/16/opinion/15talkingpoints.html)

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An app for easy enrolment to schools

Posted by Prachi Kishore on 29 May, 2018

Enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million children remain out of school.

In many rural places in developing countries, it is hard for parents to enrol their children into schools due to many reasons like: they don’t how to go about it, the school authorities test them too much by complicating the documentation procedures, being illiterate themselves they get intimidated by the process, the enrolment in many small government schools doesn’t get carried over each year and the repetitive process stops parents from putting in efforts. Infrastructure and staffing are problems beyond the direct control of regular citizens. However, enrolment is something they are directly involved in. Making it easier through an application or a single button registration method will help overcome this hurdle. An application that can manage the database of a child would make it easy to carryover the admission to the next year and also to maintain a tab on any irregular activity like whereabouts of the child in the next school year if his/her admission has not been carried over to the next grade. In small, technologically challenged schools too, this can be made possible by making the application available on one smartphone, possibly the headmaster’s.

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