Today we stand at the threshold of education, but do not find entrance. The children are in schools with 95% of them in government schools and getting little in terms of even literacy and numeracy as can be seen from the report on the tests conducted by us. It is very doubtful whether we can make a major change in the govt’s attitude to schooling as there is a lot of resistance from the teachers. The only answer then is to take on this task ourselves to the best of our ability. This is the only way we are able to see a some critical change taking place in the lives of these children in the immediate future. Therefore improving the quality of education will be the keystone of our intervention.
We are aware that in the final analysis quality in education will depend upon the extent to which the community is willing to exercise its authority. But this authority must also be tempered with knowledge. We have there decided on two approaches – one, through community empowerment and secondly, an institutional approach. These are not exclusive approaches as the institutional approach will be through the community and the community’s empowerment will be through the institutional inputs that are built in.
Village Education Workers : These persons have played an important role in ensuring enrolment and regularity of children and now they have moved into a new role of advocates of the children.
Area Education Committees : Every Area will have an Area Education committee consist of persons from the community who are knowledgeable about education and can review and suggest action.
Parent-Teacher Associations : Every School compulsorily has a parent-teacher associations but the committee members are usually hand-picked by the Head masters. This will have to be looked into and vocal members of the community be put on these committees.
If good education has to be imparted then good teachers need to be put in place. VBVT plans to train and put in place both at the village level and at the institutions young people who are committed to teaching. This is a long term programme and we plan to make a beginning now by setting up a training institution that can work on this on a full-time basis. In addition, we intend to have a residential institution for children at the High school level where they can get very good inputs that will qualify them for higher studies. This place will also serve as one where children can come for life skill inputs that will make a difference to their lives.