The Hindi word ‘Sankalp’ means ‘resolve or resolution’ which signifies a pledge or a deep vow to achieve something. The same is the very essence of the Sankalp programme which honours its commitment of providing access to quality, holistic education for the marginalized children in India. It aims to address learning achievement gaps of the marginalized children with active participation of the community.
SANKALP: A NEED OF THE HOUR
Years of research has well established the link between quality education and future development in children. While rigorous implementation of educational programmes at the national level has certainly seen an improvement in enrolment rates, significant challenges still remain in terms of quality of education. The survey on Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) undertaken by NGO Pratham found that only 72.2% of grade-3 children could read 2-digits while only 50.8% of them could read grade-1 level text (ASER, 2019).
This learning gap makes it increasingly difficult to meet demands of higher grades which eventually may lead children to dropping out of schools. What compounds the problem further is the complex interplay of social factors like gender, regional and caste-class disparities, lack of awareness, together with problems of inadequate school infrastructure, poorly functioning schools, teacher absenteeism, the large number of teacher vacancies, poor quality of education, medium of instruction and inadequate funds.
Aligned with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, Sankalp as a model and programme, by the Jesuit Collective in India, emphasises the need to ensure inclusive and equitable, quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all. It is located within the context of the socio-cultural, political and economic empowerment of the marginalised communities through a community-based education accompaniment program for all children, especially from age 6 and above.
“Human Capital with democratic values and scientific outlook for transformation”
“Engage in inclusive, quality, and equitable educational interventions for marginalized communities”
COMPONENTS OF SANKALP PROGRAMME
Sankalp model and programmes facilitate quality learning through innovative teaching – learning methods and pedagogy, while also providing opportunities for holistic development of children and youth through life skills education, extra-curricular activities and overall personality development.
Self – dignity, Self – esteem, Self confidence, Positive outlook, Interpersonal relationship
Subject knowledge, Comprehension, Analytical skills, Articulation
Educating about rights, Inculcating values, Social consciousness
OUR FOCUS GROUPS
Supplementary Education Centers (SECs)
Target Group: 1st –5th std. children
Non-school going or children already enrolled in Government schools are engaged in holistic learning activities for 2-3 hours outside of regular school hours by teachers/animators.
Short-term Residential Training
Target Group: 3rd -9th std. children
For a period of 15 days at a stretch and for about 2-3 times annually, children are brought together to provide rigorous academic support as well as inputs on essential life skills towards self-esteem and personality enhancement.
Children’s Resource Centres (CRCs)
Target Group: 6th -8th std. children
Children from 3-4 villages are brought together at a cluster level center, outside school hours, to engage them in academic and non-academic learning for 2-3 hours a day
Long-term Residential Training
Target Group: Up to 2 yrs; for children in 9th – 10th or 11th – 12th std.
To support children through extremely challenging demands of higher education, promising children are provided rigorous academic and non-academic support for up to 2 yrs to help transition aforementioned milestones
Note: We ensure that the children are enrolled into regular schooling system from the very beginning. The gap in learning is complimented by specially designed programmes following the school and supplementary curriculum. We also ensure that our interventions do not duplicate or interfere with the regular school system but rather complements it.
Youth Resource Centres
Target Group: Adolescents
These aim to guide students of senior secondary or tertiary education at the Panchayat/Block level towards academic excellence, leadership skills and personality development by engaging them in a multitude of carefully designed activities/initiatives through the year.
Kishori Groups (for females)
Target Group: Adolescents
Aiming to empower girls by giving them access to information about their rights (including their sexual and reproductive health) and equipping them with life skills that increase their self-confidence and enable them to speak out for themselves and their issues, these clubs are encouraged to meet at least once a month to plan and discuss matters of importance under careful and loving guidance of a mentor.
Target Group: Mothers of children enrolled in learning centres
Mata Samitis members act as agents for community and resource mobilisation towards the programme as well as ensuring regularity of quality inputs for all children.
Additionally, they become the voice for promotion of inclusive and quality education in Government schools as well as ensuring social equity and access to entitlements by becoming active within local governance.
SOME INNOVATIVE INTERVENTIONS
As a means to support and add impetus to Sankalp interventions in their respective operational areas, some partner organizations are implementing additional programmes namely:
Pre-Primary/ Preschool Education
With an understanding that early childhood care and age-appropriate developmental inputs are crucial to all future learning and growth, centres engage children aged 3-5 years in a plethora of activities for a duration of about 3 hours daily, with mother tongue as medium of instruction. This is also seen as an additional means of achieving school readiness and a motivation to learn, which may prevent future school drop-outs and child labour. This programme is operational in association with Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) of the Government of India which attempts to actualize the same vision through its own set of activities.
Adolescent Girls who drop out from schools receive a nine months’ residential training which includes academic learning in morning hours and vocational skill trainings in the afternoon where they learn the skills of tailoring, garment making, cooking, soap making, candle making, beautician etc. This program also focuses on life skill education and prevention of girl child marriages.
Ambedkar Prerna Dal (APD)/ Ambedkar Prerna Yuva Dal (APYD)
This village level group is designed to promote quality learning, group study, collective actions, awareness of rights and inculcating leadership qualities among children by means of multiple activities in bi-monthly meetings.
SANKALP COLLABORATION WITH GOVERNMENT
Linkages with Government education machinery are maintained on a regular basis at the cluster, block and district level with a common goal of improving access and quality of schooling system. This would also include engagement with Village Education Committees (VECs), Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as School Management Committees (SMCs) within Government schools. Other than education, there is liaison with departments responsible for protection and development of children.
Regular dialogues are maintained through the year by organising interface and advocacy meetings, workshops and consultations, training and capacity building of teachers, curricular innovations, and joint visits to programme sites. Such activities allow exchange of learnings and a model that supports the other.
Many of our partners have developed their own set of customised and contextually suited study material/books, primers, pictorial charts, teachers’ handbooks, training modules, storybooks, CDs and audio-visual aids
READ practitioners and Government Education experts jointly developed Chirag series of books for teaching Hindi and Maths across varied grades. These books have been developed in both Hindi and Bhojpuri
PRABHAT, another Jesuit organization published Khilte Phul (a bi-lingual book
in Maithili and Hindi)
MANTHAN published Gyan Deep which is a language primer.
MPSM-CERRT has developed 60-educational charts to learn Marathi, English, Math, Science, Social Studies.
Sustained and progressive support through the Sankalp programme has led to significant changes over years. Enrolment rates, school retention and successful grade transitions have been reported in areas which have poor performance on these indicators earlier. This is true more for girl children who otherwise have been deprived of such opportunities since decades. Children on the programme have shown overall improvement in academic achievement and learning levels across all grades. Additionally, personality development trainings have enabled them to develop a positive self-image and dream of a chance at a bright future.
At community level, Sankalp interventions have seen an active participation towards ownership and sustainability of the programme. Social capital in the form of collective motivation, encouragement and leadership has been strengthened. Associated Government schools as well as decision makers at multiple levels at the state have also shown proactiveness towards social inclusion and academic achievement of these children who otherwise have always remained at the fringes.