“I used to read in newspapers and hear that Maoists often loot EVMs from polling booths which either led to no voting or the people go for re-poll endangering the lives of our teachers. I believe that at such places EVMs can have a software which would directly send voting data to the control room.”
The above idea from Roshan Sodi, an Adivasi class VI student left everyone amazed and inspired. Roshan used to graze cattle for his family and did not have access to school. After receiving the prestigious Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award from the Hon’ble President of India, Roshan finally managed to enrol himself in the nearest residential school and started his transformation journey.
Sukma in Chhattisgarh has seen many such transformational journeys of children and their families who were disconnected from the mainstream, deprived of basic education facilities and caught in the conflict between the Government and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) of Maoists, till the Comprehensive Education Development Plan (CEDP) was launched.
Under CEDP, target groups were identified in collaboration with security forces, government agencies and community level influencers using a participatory approach. For children belonging to habitations with extreme LWE activities, educational facilities were relocated to District headquarters, as this would cut off the resource for furthering the cadre of Maoist activities who have been known to recruit school kids in their cadre. Making teachers a resource for CEDP in inaccessible locations and with appropriate help from the Government Schemes and CSR funds, Education City and Education Hubs were set up.
Gyanodaya is first of its kind to support out of school children by engaging in an in-house holistic development through a bridge course programme that makes them school ready in 3-4 months. Primary and secondary residential schools were set up with special coaching for deserving students. Individual Subject Labs based on multi-lingual and contextual pedagogy were judiciously paired with free residential set ups for children with a special rehabilitation programme. In addition to high schools with State Board and CBSE Board, courses are also designed to educate students in four specific disciplines viz., science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Along with the above mentioned Integration Learning Center, Education City also offers several innovative services like Science Park and Planetarium, Science Centre to explain various scientific concepts through multiple models. Combined with vocational training, polytechnics, and professional level training, the CEDP has indeed been a remarkable success.
Till 31st December 2016, approximately 1000 out-of-school children from interior villages were enrolled after three months in the Back to School Programme in Gyanodaya. Four persons from Nayi Disha programme have been selected for Government jobs, and eight are waiting for Public Service Commission mains result. Teachers from 936 schools have been trained for Model School Concept through Vidyalaya Darpan. Under Aarohan, two have qualified for Joint Engineering Excellence Advanced exams, and eleven have qualified in PET/AIEEE. The CBSE Board Model School has had 100% result in Class X. Almost 1300 youth have been trained for many courses like accounting, BPO, masonry, DTP and publishing etc. The CEDP programme in remote Chhattisgarh has truly proven that pen is indeed mightier than the sword.