Education Resource Centers (ERC) in Delhi
ERC is a free space for children and adolescent girls and boys from socially excluded communities to come regularly and excel in education meaningfully, explore their talent,learn and enjoy through special playful activities. ERC also gradually engages with children’s families on problems children face in schools as well as at home and create a positive dialogue. ERC gradually also builds community confidence in education. CSEI initiated its first ERC centre in July 2013 at Vijay Vihar, Rohini of West Delhi district and the second centre was initiated in August 2014. IN ERCs children are mainly from poor families. Economic challenges and gaps in government school systems hamper their growth. Most of the children are continuing their studies. Families are deprived of building mechanisms helpful for children in their educational and overall personality growth.
- Children excel in education meaningfully
- Create positive experiences for children through educational engagement and extracurricular activities
- Bringing awareness in the families and larger communities on ‘equitable quality education with social inclusion’.
- Creative learning environment: These centres need to provide creative learning environment for children that gives them fairly decent space to gather, collectively and individually learn and study, adequate materials to enhance their interest and learning.
- Academic support to children: The academic support to children in these centres includes regular facilitators in the centre. The facilitators need periodic support to equip themselves on how they can support and facilitate children.
- Co/extra-curricular support to children: The children having little access to technology, or additional reading materials, the centres also need to provide such opportunities to them.
- Non-academic support: The centre also provides an opportunity to expose these children to other learning opportunities, leadership and personality development, values and life skills.
1. Education Resource Centre (ERC), Vijay Vihar (Rohini)
Vijay Vihar is located in Rohini in West Delhi which accommodates approximately six lakh population out of which above 50 per cent belongs to Dalit community. A good number of the Dalits are migrants from UP, Bihar and other states. Most men are engaged in industrial labour, vegetable selling, sewage work and sweeping etc and a small segment do necklace/garland making work as well. Almost all mothers work as domestic help. All these works generate meagre income.
There are no government schools in Vijay Vihar. There is one in the nearby habitation and many more in Rohini. Around 25 private primary schools and around 15 private middle schools are run by dominant communities here. There are no high or senior secondary school; neither private nor government school. Many parents send their children to the private schools when they are small and the costs are affordable. However, as they progress, many drop out both for economic and academic reasons. In this context CSEI initiated ERC in Vijay Vihar with the support of Centre for Social Dignity, led by Mr. Vineet Jingala and Ms. Kalpana Bahot, activists from Dalit community.
2. Kusumpur Pahadi (Vasant Vihar)
Kusumpur Pahadi is an unorganised colony in Vasant Vihar, of South Delhi. At least 6000 families mainly from Dalit communities live here. Family’s bread earners are mainly engaged in building construction work, road construction work, cleaning work, plants selling etc. The whole KPP is deprived of water supply and sewerage system. These challenges give a tough time to the habitants. Most of the children study in government schools and face lots of challenges.
In Kusumpur Pahadi CSEI initiated the second ERC with the support of Bachpan Bachao Badhna Baatcheet, an organization led by Ms. Sunita Chauhan, a Dalit woman activist, in August 2014.
3. Janata Majdoor Colony (Seelampur)
Janata Majdoor Colony is like an ‘ocean in a bucket’. Within a very constrained space of living and commuting. 15 to 20 children come every day. Initially started only for girls, Farheen and Asif have been able to convince parents to also send boys to the centre. For a conservative poor Muslim locality, this is revolution in a tea cup.
Functioning of ERC
In both the ERCs children come in two batches from 10 to 12.30 am and 2 to 4.30 as the schools in the locality run in shifts. Majority of boys come in the morning and girls in the afternoon. Children from classes 3 to 10 attend the centre. In Vijay Vihar Mr.Vineet , Ms. Kalpana and Ms. Rahnuma are managing the centre whereas in Kusumpur Pahadi, Ms. Sunita Chouhan is the one who is managing ERC.
Activities Undertaken in 2014-15
1. Teaching Text Books through Experiential Education: Through a special methodology of Experiential Education, children are linked with their textbooks where they can relate content and lessons with their own life and thus learn. CSEI with the team of experts have been building modules for the children which have brought very good results. It also brings Critical Thinking among children.
2. Overall Personality Development: Through Khel Se Mel activities, in which children learn values while playing, is an important activity. Through this method children learn the meaning of inclusion, equity, equality, affinity and become sensitive towards each other. Children explore and polish their talent and perform on various programs organised within the centre and larger world.
3. Celebration of Role Models and Important Days: Children learn about their role models come from their own communities and get inspired. They celebrate them on the particular days. Children also learn the values behind the important days for example Republic Day, Human Rights Day, Labours Day etc.
4. Exposure Visits: Children are encouraged to be part in national and international campaigns linked with Education e.g. Right to Education, UpforSchool, Zero Discrimination, Action 2015. Children are also given exposure to places like Ambedkar National Memorial, Prerna Sthal etc where they explore their roots and affinity.
- Continuous and consistent engagement with children is important to bring them out of conventional methods of leading life.
- Innovative methods are required to fill the gaps existing in their life because of societal and governmental negligence.
- Innovative methods are required to help them picking up text book content and through the final exams meaningfully.
- Giving positive experiences to children gradually inspires their parents to go extra mile in terms of children’s education and opportunities for them.
- Advocacy with the government and concerned departments to ensure quality education in all the schools regardless of its status, and make all the schools and supportive mechanism inclusive, equitable and conducive to all the children’s mental growth and sensitive to diversity.
Apart from continuous processes which are going on in ERCs it also plans for:
Family engagement: ERC in its journey has understood the requirement to support children in their home environment, talk to parents, and organize sessions with them on some of the problems children face at school and in the homes.
Community engagement: ERC also realized that the community needs to be encouraged and motivated to support the children to study and achieve. While there has been increased motivation to send children to school, there is growing frustration regarding the poor performance and poor quality of learning.
Community is also concerned about investing in education and children not accessing the skills to access better jobs. Hence the community confidence in education needs to be built.
Clay Learning Centres(CLC) in Bihar
CLAY (Community Leadership and Youth) is a rural community development project supported by NEG-Fire to promote Right to Education to Musahhar Children of Bihar. Currently CSEI has 6 CLAY centres in Patna district of Bihar.
During last year identification of 20 schools and their RtE compliance were mapped to understand the status of RtE implementation. Later we used NEG Fire tools to collect data from these 20 schools and data was uploaded towards tracking of children and RtE compliance. We organized one day training of SMC members from Musahar communities to understand the need and capacity of SMC members coming from Musahar habitations. We admitted new CLAY Fellows and created new CLAY centers in Mushahar tola such as Madhuban, Nima,Sangatpar,Chanaki and Simari in Massuadi Block, Patna. Its “Seventh” CLAY centers have been opened where two Fellows working together; and we have been working with “Fifteenth” Fellows till now. We enrolled children in schools and provided education to student in CLAY center run by CLAY Fellows. We have opened library in every CLAY center and CLAY Fellow used library for study in center and also practices learning of books through forming Street Play groups in different centers and issues of discrimination and inclusion. We have created “Cabinet” structure within 15 CLAY Fellows, functioning; accountability and implementation of ideology of CLAY are running through cabinet. And the fellows themselves initiated this initiative under this programme and they have created different Ministers in structure.
The CLAY Fellows have been played important roles to strengthened CLAY, the roles and responsibility are described below.
- Education Minister: Education Minister is a Fellow elected by a group of Fellows as a Minister and she/he is taking responsibility to check who is not studying in school and convince childrens’ parents to send them to school and CLAY center in case they are not going to school. They also call parents to center whenever children have any problem regarding parents and request parents to send their children to center. They also observe whether center is functioning well or not and handle the problems regarding education in Tolas.
- Water Minister: This Minister is responsible to make students aware on water quality and hygiene and also make them conscious to save water.
- Environmental and Cleanliness Minister: This Ministry ensures the Fellows and other students to maintain cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene in their house, school, and centre and in their surroundings.
- Sports Minister: This Minister has undertaken to organize various games for children in schools and at center. Twice in a week the children do Khel Se Mel with Ambedkar Student Forum.
- Information Minster: This Minister takes care of information dissemination on various activities like meetings, street plays etc and also communicate with ASF members on various information.
- Secretary: The Secretary work as watch dog of all Ministers and do follow-up of their activities.
- President: The President is heading all the meetings and responsible to solve problem of CLAY Fellows and other student of tolas.
- Chief Minister: The Chief Minister asks for the functioning of Cabinet as per the information from the Secretary.
- Prime Minister (CLAY fellow): After getting training from Vyaktitv Vikas Kendra , the Prime Minister give training to ASF students and all 15 CLAY fellow responsible for guiding VVK.
So far CLAY fellows who grow in their community and villages are only those who pursue education or higher education. In this process CLAY fellows along with children working to get enrolled children in schools; and also they teach students in village about life skill, computer education and also academic help to improve their learning level, it has impacted on school going children who now find school interesting and also participate in school based activities.
CLAY will be creating educational environment equitable for Dalit children of Manjhi sub community where every single child of the community will be pursuing her/his education from primary to higher education. it will create government school as one of the best model where no discrimination and dropouts in school ; and also quality education equal to private school will be given to children from all the communities. . It will also create social leaders who fight against the atrocities on manjhi children and advocating education related issues from village to block – district- state to centre level as a decentralized model. The learning models will be implemented for quality education in state which is created by this project. Teachers and education administrative officials will be well trained and sensitized on the issues on social equity and inclusion.