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Although the literacy rate in Rajasthan is gradually rising, over half of girls here still miss out on even a basic education. Persistent gender discrimination in our society means that girls are the last to be enrolled in the schools and the first to be withdrawn when times get tough. The situation is worst in rural areas, where less than 40% of women are literate.

The negative impact that this low level of literacy has on the lives of Rajasthani women should not be underestimated. Numerous studies show that an illiterate woman has a shorter life expectancy, poor nutritional status, low earning potential, little control over her fertility, a lack of ability to protect herself against violence and little autonomy within the household. What's more, her lack of education also affects the health and well being of her children. A recent survey in India found that as the educational levels of mothers decreased, the likelihood of their children dying rose at a worrying rate.

To put pressure on the government to ensure all children aged 6 to 14 years receive the quality elementary education that is their right.
To implement a model of child-centered, gender-sensitive teaching in schools, thereby setting an example for government schools to replicate.
To generate a positive attitude towards girls' education among the community.
To encourage local communities to participate in the way schools function so that they foster a sense of ownership and responsibility.

1. Programme for Universal Elementary Education of Girls:

Workshops with local communities to promote the value of girls' education as having the potential to change poverty-stricken lives.
Monitoring of girls' attendance in schools and regular dialogue encouraged between teachers and the community (especially with the parents of school drop-outs).
Life skills workshops for grown-up and non-school-going girls, covering topics such as reproductive health, gender equality, legal rights and access to public services.
Facilitating local education committees made up of representatives from the villages.
The committees are responsible for decisions about how their local school is run. The presence of women representatives ensures that promoting girl's education remains a top priority.

2. Programme to improve the quality of education in schools:

Promoting creative, child-friendly and gender-sensitive teaching methods.
Improving facilities in schools such as safe drinking water and toilets (the absence of the latter being a major reason why girls don't attend school).
Training teachers to adapt the curriculum so that it deals with local problems regarding health and gender issues.
Promoting a lively environment in schools where children can express their own opinions, learn at their own pace, and be free from the fear of being punished.
Encouraging a positive attitude among teachers towards children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

3. Shiksha Mitra Schools

43 schools have been set up to provide primary education and basic health check-ups to marginalized children in areas with low school attendance. Approximately 1,300 pupils are studying in these schools. Among them are the children of the brick kiln workers in Bharatpur, who are a particularly deprived, poverty stricken social group.

4. Alternative learning centres for girls who have dropped out or have never attended school

These centres offer girls a basic education, life skills training, and the possibility of reaching an academic level where they can enter into mainstream schools. Learning materials are specially geared to the local context to help girls handle the challenges they face in their lives. Topics such as reproductive health, laws against domestic violence and gender equality are covered.

5. Aflatoun Social and Financial Education Programme

This programme is an innovation to ensure quality of education. The project focuses on inculcation of personal values among children at one end and enabling development of financial management skills among them on the other hand. Education of children on child rights and responsibilities is at the core of the project and it tries to provide model for such education through development of children’s institutions (called Aflatoun Clubs and Banks) at school level. The programme is being implemented in 300 government schools in Dhaulpur block of Dhaulpur district of Rajasthan since September 2008 and is also being implemented in 100 government schools in Cholapur and Chiraigaon block of Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh since July 2013. The programme is being supported by Meljol, Aflatoun International and Citi Foundation. The project envisages a balanced social and financial empowerment of children enabling them to break the cycle of poverty.

6. Bridge Course for the children

Residential Bridge course is implemented with the motive of ensuring universal elementary education to out of school children in the age group of 10- 14 years in order to mainstream them in the government schools.|
To prepare them for the age appropriate classes as well to retain their continuity.
The residential bridge courses will prepare the children for age specific classes and get them enrolled in formal schools.
In the bridge course the teachers would be adopting group teaching processes and child friendly teaching learning processes.
There will be a regular assessment of the learning level of these children to review the strategies time to time.
Children are also engaged in Recreation activities like singing, dancing, drawing, clay toy making etc to develop their personalities.

7. 'Prabhat' Initiative

Prabhat Initiative is implemented with the motive of ensuring universal quality education to out-of-school girls in the age- group of 9-13 years in 20 villages of Dag Panchayat Samiti of Jhalawar district and facilitating their mainstreaming in the government schools.

A ‘Prabhatshala’ (an alternate education center) was opened in each of the 20 habitations and a local educated energetic female was selected as teacher and provided training in joyful methods of learning and community mobilization.

The teacher imparts life skill education to girls as well. She tells them about the importance and means of maintaining their health and hygiene. She makes them aware of their rights and facilitates them in raising voice against social malpractices like dowry, child marriage, child labour, child trafficking, domestic violence and gender discrimination. She makes them aware of opportunities available to them for development like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. A separate meeting with adolescent girls is also organized to educate them about the changes that take place in body during the age, menstruation, ill effects of early pregnancy, contraception and family planning, anaemia and nutrition.

514 girls are enrolled in Prabhatshalas at present 77 % of whom belong to Other Backward Classes (mostly Sondhiya Rajput, Gurjar and Luhar communities) and 21 % belong to Scheduled Castes (Meghwal and Mehtar communities).




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