Education Programmes in India and response in emergencies
A Discussion Paper
Megh ranjani Rai
The present educational system of India is an implantation of British rulers. Wood's Dispatch of
1854 laid the foundation of present system of education in India. Before the advent of British in
India, the education system was private one. With the introduction of Wood's Dispatch known
as Magna Carta of Indian education, the whole scenario changed. The main purpose of it was to
prepare Indian clerks for running the local administration. Under it the means of school
educations were the vernacular languages while the higher education was granted in English
only. The British government started giving funds to indigenous schools in need of help and
thus slowly some of the schools became government-aided.
Contemplating on the new system which was introduced Mahatma Gandhi expressed his
anguish in following the words,
"I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate
than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators,
when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out.
They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the
beautiful tree perished. The village schools were not good enough for the British administrator,
so he came out with his program. Every school must have so much paraphernalia, building, and
so forth. Well, there were no such schools at all. There are statistics left by a British
administrator which show that, in places where they have carried out a survey, ancient schools
have gone by the board, because there was no recognition for these schools, and the schools
established after the European pattern were too expensive for the people, and therefore they
could not possibly overtake the thing. I defy anybody to fulfill a program of compulsory primary
education of these masses inside of a century. This very poor country of mine is ill able to sustain
such an expensive method of education. Our state would revive the old village schoolmaster and
dot every village with a school both for boys and girls.”
So have we reached the Universal Education for All? These are questions being attempted to
be answered and programmed. We are trying our best to see that every child has the ability to
educate him or herself. We have programmes for the girl child, the physically challenged, the
“marginalized” and so on. Categories that we have decided based upon statistical and analytical
data. Truly Education is the right of every child. However it cannot be achieved unless we
provide access to quality learning, an enabling environment and a secure place for the child to
nurture itself. In normal circumstances it is assumed that if investment is made in school
infrastructure, teaching learning initiatives, pedagogy , training of teachers , setting up school
learning systems, accelerated learning processes, incentives, especially for school enrollment
of girls, addressing needs of minorities and community participation we will have attempted to
meet our goals .Nevertheless we have seen that disasters human and manmade have had a
debilitating impact on the lives of children , schools and communities . Compounded to this the
hazards faced in urban settings that are another dimension of intervention itself.
Therefore What is education in emergencies?
Education is a fundamental human right for all people. Education is especially critical for the
tens of millions of children and youth affected by conflict and disasters, and yet it is often
significantly disrupted in emergency situations, denying learners the transformative effects of
quality education .Education in emergencies comprises learning opportunities for all ages that
can sustain and save lives .Education in emergencies ensures dignity and sustains life by offering
safe spaces for learning, where children and youth who need other assistance can be identified
and supported. Quality education saves lives by providing physical protection from the dangers
and exploitation of a crisis environment. When a learner is in a safe learning environment, he or
she is less likely to be sexually or economically exploited or exposed to other risks”1
Providing quality education is the responsibility of the State; however during emergencies,
other agencies like INGOs, The United Nations, N GOs and community based organizations also
take up the role of providing education initiatives, e.g. Child Protection activities. It is therefore
imperative that these emergency triggered activities are regularized during recovery and
merged within the system to provide a continuum for effected children.
In this light the present discussion paper attempts to present an overview of the types of
education programmes initiated by Government, INGOs, NGOs, the corporate sector,
community led initiatives It is based upon a study conducted under SPHERE INDIA, Education in
Emergencies Program .It is not a systems analysis, but a cross section of the typology of
education programmes being activated to provide education for all. The paper then looks at
the issues, concerns, and gaps to participation of children in emergency situations and suggests
ways forward for taking up activities for policy advocacy with concerned stakeholders. This
paper looks at some of the disaster triggered emergency responses to education , and at gaps
that would need to be addressed to make education more accessible, however it recommends
that working on education in conflict scenarios is another area that needs further , recognition
and understanding within the stakeholder discussions .
2. Overview of Education Programs in India
The following programmes present an overview of education initiatives from a country wide
perspective to micro level community actions that are all working to cater to the education
needs of children in different settings and from different communities.
Introduction to the Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness , Response , Recovery.
Table 1... Programmes covered government, INGOS, NGOs and community initiatives
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan National flagship programme
Janshala, Parthian Urban education
UNICEF Right To education Campaign
Action Aid Disaster Risk Reduction through schools and right based approach
Laya Tribal Education in Andhra Pradesh
Madrassas Formal schooling facilities in centers of religious instruction
2.1. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a comprehensive and integrated flagship programme of the
Government of India (GoI), to attain Universal Elementary Education (UEE) in the country.
Launched in partnership with the State Governments, SSA aims to provide quality education to
all children in the age group of 6-14 years. Target Population 192million children, 1.2 million
habitations. Stakeholders : Panchyati Raj Institutions, SMTs, Village and Urban Slum dwellers
Tribal Autonomous Councils , Grass root level CBOs. Education of girls, especially those
belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, is the primary focus in Sarva Shiksha
Abhiyan. The selection criteria take into account the low female literacy among the scheduled
caste and scheduled tribe women
The four SSA Goals are
i. Enrolment of all children in school, Education Guarantee Centre, Alternate school, ‘Back-to-
School’ camp by 2005.
ii. Retention of all children till the upper primary stage by 2010.
iii. Bridging of gender and social category gaps in enrolment, retention and learning.
iv. Ensuring that there is significant enhancement in the learning achievement levels of
children at the primary and upper primary stages
2.1. A. Lessons from past programmes
The conduct of various previous programmes in the field of elementary education, like DPEP
and Lok Jumbish, have thrown up interesting and successful lessons on gender intervention for
improvement in access, enrolment, retention and achievement of girls. Some of these, which
adopted by the states in SSA, are as follows:
Access and Enrolment
Regular enrolment drives conducted.
Conducting special camps and bridge courses for girls to mainstream them.
Setting up special models of Alternate Schools exclusively for girls.
Providing formal schooling facilities in centers of religious instruction viz., Mantas and
Working in close collaboration with the community in identified pockets.
Involving women's groups (both formed under the programme and those already
existing VECs, MTA, to follow up issues for girls' education.
Monitoring attendance has been high on the agenda in all states where micro
initiatives for girl’s education have been taken up.
Follow up of drop out girls to bring them back to school either through camps or
Organizing retention drives to put regular pressure on parents and the school system
Retention of girls. These are not one time drives but are organized at regular intervals
to sustain the pressure and take up corrective measures as may be necessary.
In pockets identified for intensive activities, attendance of each child is monitored to
It is proposed to publically felicitate the children with good attendance records at local
level functions. This has not only encouraged the children further, but has also
instilled a sense of commitment and responsibility among parents and guardians.
Provisions for girls' and education of SC/ST children:
Interventions for Early Childhood Care and Education School/EGS like alternative
facility to be set up within one kilometer of all habitations.
Up-gradation of EGS to regular schools
Special mainstreaming camps for out-of-school girls/ SC/ST children under the
Alternative and Innovative Education component.
Provision of context specific innovative intervention for girls' education and education
of SC/ST children - up to Rs. 15 lakh per intervention per year and up to Rs. 50 lakh in a
district in a particular year.
Free textbooks to all girls/SC/ST children up to Class-VIII.
Adequate Teaching Learning Equipment for all Primary and Upper Primary schools.
At least 50 % of the teachers to be appointed have to be women.
Schools constructed under SSA . Efforts will be made to improve the school environment and
provide child friendly learning environment.2
The quality of design of school buildings, including the design of rooms, open spaces and
the material used for windows continues to be a matter of concern from a pedagogic
perspective, especially in the context of an inclusive policy of education. KGBV building
designs need to be reviewed and completion of building works should be speeded up.
Building rural Primary schools. ED Cil , Construction manuals, Lok Jumbish Project
School repairs need to be perceived as a necessary routine for sustaining a positive
school environment .( JRM Report 2010)
Schools that have been constructed still have only one toilet. This is generally kept
locked and for purposes of staff use.
In urban areas, schools are in crowded places, exposed to water logging, exposed
wiring and have only one entrance that would be hazard in case of evacuation.
Context specific interventions, especially to encourage retention of children in schools
could be developed more proactively, provided communities are aware of these
Some scope for designing and constructing schools in disaster prone zones (earthquake
zones) are suggested in the manuals, however communities in involved in the
construction of these schools are unaware.
Communities are also unaware that SSA provides support to the rehabilitation and
construction of schools built or proposed after SSA was introduced. This has created a
high level of expectation from the communities towards SSA fulfilling the community
demands. Rehab and reconstruction of schools are still pending due to land disputes or
slow release of funds, even after two years since the last disaster `was experienced.
2.2. Interventions for children with special needs
SSA will ensure that every child with special needs, irrespective of the kind, category and
degree of disability, is provided education in an appropriate environment. SSA encourages
research in all areas of education of children with special needs including research for
designing and developing new assistive devices, teaching aids, special teaching material and
other items necessary to give a child with disability equal opportunities in education
The community is reluctant to disclose the presence of children with disabilities. They
do not see the need.
Priority is given to educate the able bodied children as well as the boys over girl’s
preference are still evident.
Scant information is available on the number of children with special needs.
2.3. Early childhood care and development
Realizing the crucial importance of rapid physical and mental growth during early childhood,
a number of programmes of ECCE were started particularly after the National Policy for
Children (1974). The existing ECCE programmes include:
Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
Assistance to voluntary organizations for conducting Early Childhood Education
ECEs and day-care centers run by voluntary agencies with Government's assistance.
Pre-primary schools run by the State Governments, Municipal Corporations and
other governmental and non-government agencies.
The National Policy of Education (NPE) has given great deal of importance to Early Childhood
Care and Education (ECCE). It views ECCE as a crucial input in the strategy of human resource
development, as a feeder and support programme for primary education and as a support
service for working women of the disadvantaged sections of society. Since the age span
covered under ECCE is from conception to 6 years, emphasis has been given to a child-
centered approach, play-way and activity-based learning in place of formal methods of
teaching and early introduction of the three R's. The importance of community involvement
has also been highlighted. Emphasis has been given to establishing linkages between
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and other ECCE programmes.
These seem to the most “popular” of the interventions where communities perceive
the setting up of Aganwadis/balwadis as a place for their children to be occupied,
while the mothers are involved is day labor. However there needs to be a more
concentrated linkage between the school and the centers to develop avenues for
enrollment. The question is? Can there be a process whereby these children have
better chances of enrollment in the nearest school.
Children who come to these centers, especially in urban areas, are mostly children of
urban migrants; therefore continuity of these children staying in these centers is on a
fluctuating basis. In the same way in the rural areas of Bihar (flood affected areas,
where relief operations have been distributing food, there has been an influx of
people returning back to their villages. This has shown a “temporary” upsurge in
student enrollment in schools and more children in the aganwadis/balwadis.
Child friendly spaces and learning centers set up by NGOs and humanitarian relief
organizations were immediate response initiatives, however there needs to be a
continuum strategy that will feed in these efforts to State government activities.
District and State level rosters of staff training in ECCD and Child Friendly
methodologies need to be kept at the District and Panchayat level to be mobilized in
case of future disasters, and also as supplementary teachers in schools.
2.4. Strategies for out of school children
The Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education scheme is a part
of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan framework. Guidelines issued separately under the EGS & AIE
shall apply. The management structure for implementation of EGS & AIE incorporated in the
management structure of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
The new scheme makes provision for diversified strategies and has flexible financial
parameters. It has provided a range of options, such as EGS, Residential bridge camps, etc.
There are four broad focus areas:
Full time community schools for small unserved habitations
Mainstreaming of children through bridge courses of different duration
Specific strategies for special groups like child labor, street children, adolescent girls,
girls belonging to certain backward communities, children of migrating families, etc
According to MHRD’s latest report on the number of out of school children (2.8 million),
slightly less than 50% of these children were never enrolled in school and slightly more
than 50% are dropouts. Boys and girls are equally represented among this group of
OOSC. 25% of these OOSC are Scheduled Caste children (although they make up 20% of
the overall child population 6-14), and this represents 1.7% of all SC children aged 6-14.
20% are Scheduled Tribe children (although they make up 10% of the child population);
they account for 2.6% of ST children aged 6-14. 23% are Muslim (although they make up
13% of the population aged 6-14), which represents 2.4% of all Muslim children aged 6-
14. It is clear that these social groups continue to need special focus to reduce their
disproportionately high representation among OOSC. Indeed, the Mission notes that in
2008-09 there has been targeted provisioning of school infrastructure, teachers and
overall financial outlays in those districts with high concentrations of SC, ST and Muslim
children, which is encouraging.
Reasons for drop out post disasters
Displacement of families, migration to other areas,
safety of girls in temporary schools, increased
adolescent sexual behavior, illness due to
contamination from water borne diseases.
In Bihar , while speaking to parents and community
members , sending children to work as domestic
servants was a necessity to overcome food insecurity
after the Kosi floods. Many parents said that for the
time that they were in camps, or living with relatives ,
they preferred to send their children to work , so that at least feeding that particular child
could be taken care of . One mouth less to feed meant that the family could survive another
Children’s mobility mapping dist: Pratapgunj, Bihar , June 2010
JRM(2010) does not mention any statistical differences that may have been illustrated
due to student drop out and retention because of the impact of disasters in areas like
Bihar , Andhra , West Bengal and other disaster effected States .
Post Disaster assessments were difficult to coordinate with each department doing their
own . This damage assessment information is difficult to benchmark against existing
school information .
Coordination between the District Disaster Management Authority and the Education
department needs strengthening ( To Note that there is no representations of the
Education Ministry in the Standard operating Procedures for responding to Natural
Disasters 2010 , GOI )
Schools do not have mechanisms to address Out of School children who have displaced
by disasters. The funds allocated for out of school children are meant to encourage
participation of children in normal circumstances, however as those displaced by
emergencies are still on the roster of enrolled children they cannot participate in school
facilities despite their crisis induced out of school status .
2.5. Urban deprived children
There is a need to focus on the educational needs of deprived children in urban areas. On
account of different administrative arrangements for the management of schools in the urban
areas, often a number of initiatives for UEE do not reach the urban area schools. Some
significant efforts have been made by NGOs like Pratham in Mumbai in partnership with the
Municipal Corporation and the City Level Plan of Action in Calcutta. And the Janshala program
in Andhra Pradesh . Some address the needs of urban children as part of their corporate social
However children are exposed to risks like Fire from exposed electric lines, faulty and illegal
wiring has been the greatest hazard in Delhi .( This has also led to electrocution ) , some
schools with thatched roof resulting in student deaths. The entry to schools are mostly through
crowded areas , which do not allow escape routes or speedy evacuation in case of fire .Water
logging and exposure to water borne diseases, especially in the monsoons are only some of
the risks that one can see .
2.5.1Working with the urban poor – Action Aid
Action Aid undertakes a right based approach by linking government accountability to the
communities. It facilitates dialogue between government and poor communities in building
awareness among the caregivers on their children’s right to education . Every child has the right
schooling therefore facilitating enrollment of the child to the nearest school is one of the
initiatives in its work with the urban poor .
There is no interface between disaster preparedness and school safety programs E.g. Fire
hazards, cramped spaces with little room for escape routes exposed electric wires, water
logging in the streets etc
The parents have to both go to work to support the family , therefore girls have to stay behind
to look after their siblings and home. In some cases where there are no daughters , boys do
take on these housekeeping roles .
The school environment is not conducive to girls, as they may be subjected to sexual
harassment from their class mates , and on the way to school and during shift changes .
Inadequate sanitation facilities like no water in the schools, no toilets hamper their
Attitude of school management inhibits children from being enrolled . Schools do not want an
intake of these poor students as they feel that it will affect school results and impact on the
performance of schools . .
Overcrowded classrooms , do not promote a learning environment
Many of the students from the poor families are first learners , they find it difficult to adjust in a
school environment , do not understand what is’ being taught and therefore sometimes
withdraw or lose interest .
2.5.11. Janshala Innovative Approaches
Adaptation in Teaching Learning Materials
Role of language in teaching children face difficulties in understanding if the medium of
instruction is not in a language they understand. What is taught in school is incomprehensible
to the learner . There needs to be an opportunity to practice the second language . Children
spoken too , said that they wanted their lessons in the local dialect to be continued till class 4 .
After that they said “ they could manage
Given the predominance of Urdu schools especially in Hyderabad city, a large amount of TLMs
has been prepared in Urdu by Janashala this has been introduced in the slums of Hyderabad
district. Urdu-speaking children use this material, which is based on the phonetic approach, to
Interventions in Tribal areas
The problems faced by children in the tribal areas are often different than that faced by
children belonging to Scheduled Castes.3
Textbooks and supportive learning aids should be developed in the local dialect for
children at the beginning of Primary education where they do not understand regional
language. This will encourage retention and participation in class room learning
Special training is needed for non-tribal teachers to work in tribal areas, including
knowledge of tribal dialect.
UNICEF Storybooks to help marginalized children bridge language barriers Attractively
illustrated and written in simple Assamese, the storybooks embody the flavor and culture of tea
communities and have been specially designed, keeping in mind the language needs of first-
time school goers in tea garden areas.
The path-breaking initiative is an outcome of the collaborative efforts of UNICEF and Aniweta, a
publication group in Assam.
“The objective is to make reading fun and easy for tea community children who find school
lessons difficult to cope with - the reason being, the difference in the language spoken at
school and at home,” informs Parish Malakar, President, Anwesha. For More details please` see
2.6. Improving access in unserved habitation
After initial survey and micro-planning, Janshala confronted the problem of access to schools in
the tribal mandals of East Godavari and in the slums of Hyderabad city. This was a major reason
for the large number of out-of-school children, most of who were working as child laborers. The
priority in these areas was to provide some kind of schooling facility in these unserved
habitations with the involvement and cooperation of local communities. The strategy for older
out-of-school children, who were either dropouts or had never enrolled, was to organize
courses to help them achieve age-specific competencies in a short period time so that they
could be mainstreamed in schools at appropriate levels. Since both the areas also had high
incidence of child labor, short-duration residential camps were considered a useful strategy to
mainstream them and keep them away from work. Such courses are called bridge courses. The
various alternative schools in programme areas are called Girijana Vidya , providing access for
alternative schools in habitations where there were no schools
2.7. Bridge Schools for tribal children in Andhra Pradesh
UNICEF Case Study Annex 2 Storybooks to address language barriers for children in the Tea tribal communities in Assam
These schools are known as Girijana Vidya Vikas Kendras (GVVKs).Usually, GVVKs only had class
I and II, after which children either went to a nearby primary or middle school, or were sent to
residential schools(Ashramshalas) run by the Tribal Welfare Department. However, it was found
That many GVVK children dropped out after class II due to the distance of the nearest primary
school and also due to reluctance of some parents to send their children to hostels. To address
this problem, ITDA and Janshala have expanded some of the GVVKs up to class IV.P
2. 8. Tribal Education : Andhra Pradesh Case Study : Laya Foundation
The population of tribal people in Andhra Pradesh is 4,199,481 (6.3%) of the State’s population.
The literacy rate for total population of the State as per the 1991 Census was 44% (male 55%
and female 33%) and these figures have gone up to 61% (male 71% and female 51%) in the
2001 Census, apparently due to the intensive literacy drives initiated by the State government.
The corresponding literacy rate among the tribal population was 17% (male 25% and female
9%) as per the 1991 Census and 22% in the 2001 Census. This reveals the gap between the
general population and the tribal communities.
Although the statistics show a vast change in literacy levels, the issue of literacy depends on
how it is defined and the extent to which it is enabling in qualitative terms.. standards I and II in
areas where ‘primitive tribal communities’ reside; mandal (sub-district) level elementary
schools; special residential schools called Ashram Schools mainly in tribal areas; the ‘Alternative
Schools’ etc., and monitoring systems such as the School Complex System. There have also
been some special programmes such as bridge courses and back to school initiatives for
dropouts. For adult literacy, the State has launched a special programme known as ‘Akshara
Sankranthi’ which is for ‘adults’ above 15 years of age. As far as elementary education is
concerned, the government has undertaken several measures to reach out to tribal
communities, such as the Girijana Vidya Vikas Kendras
All these attempts fall far short of the specific educational needs in tribal areas. Apart from
access to education is the issue of quality of the education process. Many of the existing
schools do not have adequate number of teachers. The quality of teaching leaves much to be
desired let alone the content, which does not take into account the tribal perspective.
TRIBAL EDUCATION What it means .
Case study from Laya
Mainstream educational institutions do not ‘educate’ because the curriculum does not give due
consideration to the rich traditional knowledge and value systems prevalent within tribal
societies These institutions do not create an opportunity to develop and learn skills which are
relevant to the needs, lifestyle and aspirations of tribal communities. It is important to invest in
the youth because it is they who are going to steer the future of tribal societies. Hence we have
been focusing on ‘alternative education
Alternative Education with Tribal Youth Dropouts: Yuva ParichayMy Journey as a Change
(Reflections by Arika Krishna Rao, member of the Savara tribal community, Thitukupai village,
Seethampeta Mandal, Srikakulam district, who was one of the trainees of the 1991 batch of
I learnt reading and writing in a night adult education centre run by a local NGO in 1983.
Subsequently we started a youth association in our village. Almost all the villagers in my village
belong to Savara Tribe. The exploitation of middlemen was very high in our areas. This
organization inspired us to develop and perform a role-play on this situation in the village.
Through this role-play and with the encouragement of the NGO, we got the idea to start an
association of youth. I was elected President. By the end of 1989 our work extended to 7
villages. We began by forming thrift groups with nearly 120 members. We succeed in thrift, but
we were not able to address issues related to land, water, forest etc.
I participated in the Yuva Parichay training programme in 1991-92. This training helped me a
lot. Earlier I used to go to the forest and be involved in Podu (shifting cultivation). That was the
only thing I knew at that time. I had no opportunity to know what was going in the outside
world. After joining in Parichay I felt that I came into the world and into the light and I felt
proud. Now I can even read newspapers and write letters. After completion of my training I
thought very seriously about what to do next. After understanding the kind of problems faced by
the tribals and the nature of exploitation in the society, my mind did not allow me to go back
into the routine and pushed me forward. We started activities with other youth from our tribal
community. Some new villages also joined with us. I started going to the Court on local disputes
also which was something I had never known before. We started once again to concentrate on
Night Schools. In order to facilitate the functioning of the schools and to strengthen the thrift
groups we raised resources through collective labor work. Slowly we started work on health
issues. We also prepared the people to demand their due remuneration from the traders for
We further started some income generation programmes by taking loans from banks. This
created anger among the ‘sahukars’ (moneylenders) in our villages. They retaliated by
politicking with the thrift groups and created problems. We then developed specific strategies to
overcome these problems and therebystandardized the thrift activity. At the end of 1995 this
thrift activity was extended to 125 members.
There are 10 Yuva Parichay trainees in our area and except 3, the rest are working for the
development of the village. I am coordinating this team. Presently we are studying the
government initiated ‘joint forest management’ programme and its problems and are also
trying to bring all the groups involved on one common platform. We are also planning to use the
local agro-forest resources effectively by starting more income generation programmes with the
help of relevant NGOs.
I have got knowledge on health and herbal medicines, soil conservation and land and legal
related issues. Achieving identity for our local tribal communities at the district level and
bringing all the tribals of different districts on one platform is my objective.
This is a translated extract from Krishnarao’s contribution to a quarterly magazine, Mannem Lo
(October-December 1997). Mannem Lo, translated ‘In the Forest Habitat’ was initiated with the
idea of keeping all the young tribal activists who have been part of various training processes
abreast with the latestdevelopments.
Krishna Rao is at present the President of ‘ Andhra Pradesh Adivasi Sanghala Samakhya’, the
CBO Federation of which he is a founder member. He has participated in the Asian Social Forum
in January 2003 at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh as well as at the Climate Change workshop
during the time of the United Nations Conference of Parties held in New Delhi in October 2002.
He also now assumes roles in the capacity of a trainer and has initiated a district level network
with 25 CBOs. He maintains an excellent relationship with Panchayat members and plays a
crucial role in decision making in his own panchayat.
Source: Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE) Empowerment and Action:
Laya’s Work in Tribal Education
By Dr. (Ms.) Nafisa Goga D'Souza, Laya
2.8 . Inclusive learner friendly environment : Save the Children , Bal Rakshak Bharat
Education is not only a right in itself, but an “enabling right”- a critical instrument for bringing
about “social, economic and political inclusion and a durable integration of people, particularly
those excluded from the mainstream of any society. To address this challenge, Save the
children has adopted the strategy of facilitating the creation of ‘Inclusive Learner Friendly
Environments’ targeted children from 3-18 years within diverse educational settings to meet
the challenge of addressing the diverse and heterogeneous needs of children.
The focus of the approach is based on a three pronged strategy involving intervention in three
domains of the education system;
Organization of Schools
The plan is to develop 'model inclusive schools' across at least five States of India. This will be
implemented through developing a core group of master trainers consisting of education
personal as well as SCERT and DIET/SIET faculty, who in turn will train teachers in pre-schools
and schools. Selected schools/Anganwadi centers and pre-primary classes over the next five
years will be targeted to intervene in all the three dimensions to make them model Inclusive
Learner friendly Schools. The aim is that these models of ‘Inclusive’ pre- primary and primary
environments are able to demonstrate the efficacy addressing individual needs of children
belonging to most disadvantaged backgrounds through creation of ‘schools for all’, thereby
realizing the dream of achieving Education For All.
2.8.1. Working in Emergencies
Child Protection is the primary focus in ensuring that children have a safe and secure
environment “ ensuring their right to survival and development after an emergency”.
Save the Children strongly believes that in any emergency Children are the most vulnerable to
the events. The following examples are some of the responses carried out by Save the Children
in India to safeguard the rights of these children.
South India Floods 2009
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka were reeling from the worst floods in over a 100 years. Heavy
rainfall beginning on September 29th in the two states caused the Krishna and Tungabhadra
Rivers to breach their banks, flooding the many villages along the banks of the two rivers, and in
all affecting five districts in Andhra Pradesh and twelve districts in Karnataka. Save the Children
reached approximately 6,000 households including 18,000 children with Non Food Items
(Hygiene Kits and Household Utilities including mosquito nets and blankets), Education Kits to
more than 12,500 children, established Child Friendly Spaces in 30 villages and rehabilitated 30
hand pumps and restored agriculture as well as supported alternative livelihoods of the
Cyclone Aila, 2009
As of September 2009, Save the Children had provided hygiene kits to more than 6,000 families
and water to over 3,500 families, set up 21 Child-Friendly Spaces, provided over 47,000 hot
meals to children, lactating mothers and pregnant women and dry rations for a further 2,500
households, rehabilitated 45 tube wells and a communal pond, distributed clothes to 4,200
children, education materials to more than 2,500 children, and shelter materials to 2,000
households and provided restocking assistance for 514 Integrated Child Development Scheme
Kosi Floods, 2008 Save the Children reached 117,000 direct beneficiaries in Bihar and Orissa,
with food, nutrition, shelter, health, child protection and education support.
Kandhamal Violence, 2008 Some 50,000 people were forced to seek refuge in state run camps ,
against communal violence that flared up after a Hindu religious leader was killed .Save the
Children responded by providing supplementary feeding for 794 children aged 6-24 months and
setting up nineteen health camps and thirty child-friendly spaces
2.9. . Disaster Risk Reduction through Schools Project : Action Aid an approach to
building resilience in schools and communities and working towards the
implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action
Disaster Risk Reduction through Schools Project : This pilot project of Action aid is implemented
in 7 countries ( India, Nepal , Bangladesh , Kenya , Ghana , Malawi and Haiti ) , is its first and
largest intervention at promoting schools as the entry point for awareness raising among
communities and children on Disaster Preparedness . The five-year (2005 – 2010) project covers
and aims to make schools in high-risk disasters areas safer. This also helps to
make schools the focus of disaster risk reduction and institutionalize the implementation of the
Hyogo Framework for Action within education systems. It Is premised on the building of
capacities at district , national and international level. In India it works in two states Andhra
Pradesh and Assam
The Goal of the project was to reduce people’s vulnerability to disasters related to natural
hazards by contributing towards the implementation of the Hyogo framework. The purpose
was to make schools in high-risk disaster areas safer, enabling them to act as a locus for
disaster risk reduction, institutionalizing implementation of the Hyogo Framework within
education systems. The project worked in 7 countries, in selected districts at high-risk of diverse
natural disasters. The main outputs included schools in high-risk disaster areas that are safer
and communities that are organized around schools for disaster prevention, preparedness and
mitigation. More widely, an effective methodology was be developed that could be replicated
in other schools, influencing national level policy and practice in ways that can be easily
replicated in other countries and other sectors. A distinctive approach, adapting participatory
vulnerability analysis for use in schools was a defining feature of the project, helping to build
the awareness and analysis of children, parents, teachers, district officials and agency staff
around disaster risk reduction.
The project implementation was at three levels – Local (up to District), National and
International. At local level in high-risk disaster districts innovative work was done in specific
schools (and surrounding communities), undertaking participatory analysis (PVA) with children,
teachers, parents and the wider community. Awareness-raising was done within schools and
wider communities to build preparedness, enable local tracking of trends and support capital
investments and other actions to make schools safe. At district level district-wide action plans
will be developed and supported around disaster risk reduction through schools. Nationally
policy implications will be drawn out by broad coalitions / networks to promote national level
reforms - and work will be done to train and sensitize around the Hyogo Framework. The
experiences will be rigorously documented and shared internationally with all key
Malawi, Bangladesh, Nepal, Haiti, Ghana, India, Kenya
Orientation on the HFA needs more coverage , even among district and governments
agencies it requires a concentrated effort .
Communities who are the beneficiaries of projects ,are also those most affected by
disasters therefore advocacy interventions have to be really supported building on
peoples coping mechanisms and their search for livelihood options .
Unless community based DRM activities are not considered in National strategies, these
community actions die out once project phases out. Therefore it is very important that
School Dm action plans are integrated into the District D M plans.
D RR in curriculum requires being a national strategy to ensure that children , schools
and communities are made aware and future generations are trained and aware of the
benefits of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptations .
Humanitarian Agencies need to coordinate responses that would fall in line with district
disaster relief and recovery responses. The is no representation of the Education
department in the District disaster planning process
Post disaster response round very well fall in line in suggesting humanitarian response
to take into consideration5
look at ways to better embed sector governance assessment, methodology and tools
into country assistance programming and design;
focus on a smaller number of harmonized priority programmes;
look beyond the delivery of primary education, and prioritize skills development linked
to livelihood recovery and system/career pathways
consider providing early support for the payment of teacher salaries, whilst maintaining
short term community contributions and a longer-term perspective for a state paid
accord higher priority to developing 'teaching service development plans', and
development partners to work with governments to :
support NGOs and CBOs to help facilitate capacity building of externally oriented
information and communication systems and national education oversight
set up and support inclusive state/non-state actor coordination mechanisms to
formulate medium to longer-term plans;
look at ways to make school block grants more policy and results conditional, alongside
a well regulated school governance/management capacity development plan;
emphasize prioritization of sustainable education census and information systems
2.10 . Right to Education : UNICEF national campaign
The Right to Education Act
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or RTE, which was passed by the
Indian parliament on 4 August 2009, describes the modalities of the provision of free and
compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian
Constitution India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every
child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.
The Act makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 to 14 and
specifies minimum norms in government schools. It requires the reservation of 25% of places in
private schools for children from poor families, prohibits unrecognized schools from practice,
and makes provisions for no donation or capitation fees and no interview of the child or parent
for admission. The Act also provides that no child shall be held back, expelled, or required to
pass a board examination until the completion of elementary education. There is also a
provision for special training of school drop-outs to bring them up to par with students of the
same age. The Right to Education of persons with disabilities until 18 years of age has also been
made a fundamental right. The Act provides for the establishment of the National Commission
for Protection of Child Rights, and State Commissions for supervising proper implementation of
the act, looking after complaints and protection of Child Rights. Other provisions regarding
improvement of school infrastructure, teacher-student ratio and faculty are made in the Act.
A committee set up to study the funds requirement and funding estimated that Rs.1.71 trillion
(USD38.2 billion) would be required in the next five years to implement the Act, and the
government agreed to sharing the funding for implementing the law in the ratio of 65 to 35
between the Central Government and the states, and a ratio of 90 to 10 for the north-eastern
UNICEF India country has taken up lobby and support to the RTE implementations as a key
priority area. It intends to join hands with government and partners to roll out the RTE through
socially inclusive child friendly schools and systems through :-
Advocacy and social mobilization
Policy and programme design /implementation in ensuring quality and quantity
It will make RTE a reality through developing a road map through
Conducing state level consultations crucial for raising awareness
Stock taking of progress to date under SSA and its implications on the RTE
Rte advocacy through informational mass campaigns initiated .
Priority areas for focus in access together with quality and related resource /capacity gap
Partnerships inside and outside the education sector , data analysis to identify responsibilities ,
defining quality tools for monitoring and strengthening national and state level monitoring
However as organizations gear up to work towards the enforcing of the RTE act , there are
criticisms to the Act that will be under considerations for amendments . Society for Un-aided
Private Schools, Rajasthan petitioned the Supreme Court of India claiming the act violates the
constitutional right of private managements to run their institutions without governmental
interference. The Bill has been also been criticized for excluding children under six years of age.
Some early revisions that will be considered are
Section 13 of the RTE that not only bans screening but fixes a penalty of Rs. 25,000 on a
school for the first contravention and then 50,000 as later . this is in response to schools
, mainly private institutions protesting against automatic promotion for students
irrespective of their performance . In contrast parents is some rural locations are
protesting also as they feel that their children suffer when they reach the matriculation
level as they do not have the competencies to pass .6
Muslim groups argue for “ Madrassas to be brought under RTE “ as Act requires schools
to be recognized
Demands to give only advisory roles to school, management committees in aided
2.10. Madarsas education and removal of common stereotypes Sachar Report
It is the first of its kind report and it suggests adoption of suitable mechanisms to ensure equity
and equality of opportunity to Muslims in residential, work and educational spaces. According
to Sachar Committee report the status of Indian Muslims are below the conditions of Scheduled
Castes and Tribes.
Removal of common stereotypes
The Sachar committee helped in a big way to expose stereotypes that had been used by right
wing communal groups as part of their propaganda. Some of these important findings were
Only four per cent of Muslims students actually go to Madrassas primarily because
primary state schools do not exist for miles. Therefore, the idea that Muslims prefer
madras a education was found to be not true
In the field of literacy the Committee has found that the rate among Muslims is very
much below than the national average. The gap between Muslims and the general
average is greater in urban areas and women. 25 per cent of children of Muslim parents
in the 6-14 year age group have either never attended school or have dropped out.
For reasons of confidentiality the name and location of the respondent has not been mentioned.
Muslim parents are not averse to mainstream education or to send their children to
affordable Government schools. The access to government schools for children of
Muslim parents is limited.
The idea of providing certain incentives to a diversity index should be explored to
ensure equal opportunities in education, governance, private employment and housing.
A process of evaluating the content of the school textbooks needs to be initiated and
The UGC should evolve a system where part of the allocation to colleges and universities
is linked to the diversity in the student population.
Providing hostel facilities at reasonable costs for students from minorities must be taken
up on a priority basis.
The community should be represented on interview panels and Boards. The
underprivileged should be helped to utilize new opportunities in its high growth phase
through skill development and education.
Lately(HT Monday, July 12th
, 2010) as reported Muslim Clerics oppose Right to Education
They have apprehensions that the RTE Act will outlaw Madrassas .
“ The right to education law could be shaky on two grounds” said Faizan Mustafa , VC,
National Law University Cuttack . Firstly it is seen as violating the right to set up minority
institutions under Article 30 of the constitution . Secondly it stipulates that parents should
make up 70 percent of the schools administrators. This violates another constitutional
guarantee that gives minority institutions a virtually free hand in running their affairs.
2.12 Education in areas of civil strife
The question of linkages between education and conflict/fragility and the nuanced interfaces of
these relationships is being probed through macro-level and micro-level analysis aimed at
informing us about the qualitative and quantitative linkages between the two globally by
agencies involved in humanitarian response . However that considering that armed conflict is
an emerging scenario in states like Bihar and Jharkhand, and have been seen in states where
insurgency is a recognized reality , the impact is felt on children’s education and the fragility of
the environment has not been considered .
The INEE discussion paper “ Education in Conflict Situations “ outlines some of the problems
faced and considers education not only as a service to be delivered, but also specifically in
terms of the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘how’ and ‘why’ of that delivery. Though the case studies are from
Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cambodia and Liberia, some of the dimensions of the drivers of conflict
and conflict like scenarios can be seen in reflections in the present State disturbances in India .
The issue here is that there is no mention of education’s role in conflict and fragility,
recognizing the impacts of conflict and fragility on education service delivery as well as the
influences that education has on conflict and fragility has not been researched or addressed.
Some projects run education intervention in disturbed states (e.g. in Jammu and Kashmir for
children in special circumstances ) however there needs to be an effort by the State to take
into consideration the impact of civil strife on children’s education .
The EC Study on Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations7
trends reveal that, overall, there is a degree of correlation between the peaks and troughs of
security and political instability, and access to education services. In terms of resilience, sector
governance capacity was found in all the cases studied to be adaptive to its surrounding
environment through a diversification of providers, clients/learners and
organizational/management/financing arrangements. These adaptations were often found to
contribute to the 'resilience' and 'early recovery' of the education system especially if
addressed at an early stage. Some of these adaptive strategies could be looked at when
responding to situations of civil strife in States that are symptomatically nearing “ fragility “ .
3. SYNTHESIS OF ISSUES
Post Disaster initiatives to encourage : children retention in schools .
Addressing health problems that arose due to water contamination after the floods hit
the areas of Tribenigunj , Madan Bharti , a partner of Plan international , initiated a
dropout monitoring system to track children who were unable to attend schools to
recurrent health problems , could be replicated in other areas .
Child Friendly spaces set up in IDP camps by humanitarian organizations could work in
incorporating the principles of the ICDS schemes .
Protection monitoring systems and temporary classes utilized teachers in camps to
provide classes . Community offered available spaces where their children could gather
and classes were run by volunteers and youth to keep children occupied . These did not
follow any set curriculum , but touched “ general knowledge ‘ subjects. These were run
for period unto one to three months till communities returned back to their homes ,
once the flood waters receded. Protection guidelines could be developed/shared with
government and education personnel providing support to temporary school spaces .
The European Commission Study on Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations,
Understanding that there is a possibility of such disasters occurring , teachers and
students were of the view that schools should take up awareness of the hazards of
disasters and disaster preparedness subjects as part of the school teaching . Teachers
said that DRR should be a “ separate subject “ Children spoken said that the awareness
building g should start from the very junior classes as children as young as those
studying in class 2 were traumatized by the disaster
At the district and state level coordination to be set up to promote collective activity in
livelihood options for displaced families Also, education on alternatives, which
challenge the existing processes of development, is crucial from the perspective of
DEO office to set up mechanisms for joint assessment . Consolidation of all district data
into one EMIS for planning .
Relationship between capacity development initiatives as proposed in the SSA should
have interministerial coordination with National Disaster Management Authority .
There is no knowledge of school safety initiatives and programmes, except in areas were
NGOs have promoted DRR activities ( e.g. North Assam and East Godavari , Disaster
Risk Reduction through Schools Project , Action Aid )
School safety guidelines to be rolled out to States and more awareness among
government officials to be promoted
Interagency coordination in providing psychosocial support to avoid duplication of
methods and ensure larger coverage of effected children
More effort is needed to promote teaching in local language . The development of
general awareness of multiple stakeholders is crucial for perspective building on tribal
reality. More specifically, structured, systematic training initiatives for developing
change agents add lasting value on internalizing learning processes.
Hence as stated before, it is imperative that indigenous ‘education’ must be an integral
part of the empowerment process. For a lasting impact, youth must be the centre of
development activity. Therefore the need to invest in the education of young men and
women in tribal areas. Governance functions in the future will be played by today’s
Access and Learning Environment: standards in this domain focus on access to safe and
relevant learning opportunities. They highlight critical linkages with other sectors such
as health, water and sanitation, nutrition and shelter that help to enhance security,
safety and physical, cognitive and psychological well being . The internalizing of these
linkages needs to be made simplistic for School Management Committees involved in
school construction activities and camp management committees . In normal
circumstances , guidelines should be rolled out to schools in urban areas .
Schools to be encouraged to prepare disaster management plans
Recommend for inclusive activities in post disaster situations , addressing also the needs of
children with disabilities
Some interventions could be as follows:
engagement of community organizers from SC/ST communities with a focus on
schooling needs of children from specific households ,
State Relief codes to include CHILD Friendly Indicators
Special teaching support as per need in displaced communities
Increasing the pool of local community trainers from 8 to more dependent on
community coverage involving community leaders in school management in
developing School evacuation plans, School Disaster Risk Reduction plans, Mock Drills
Coordination of assessments done with State district authorities for better
coordinated programming .
Coordination of psychosocial support done in IDP camps and setting up Child Friendly
Setting up safety networks for Children and adolescents
An inter-agency coordination committee should be set up which coordinates the
education response, should have wide representation. The national education authority
should provide leadership, but local authorities should be appropriately represented in
district disaster management plans .
Education authorities who are responsible for fulfilling the right to education assume a
leadership role for education response, including convening and participating in
coordination mechanisms with other education stakeholders 8
An inter-agency coordination committee coordinates assessment, planning, information
management, resource mobilization, capacity development and advocacy
A range of levels and types of education are considered in coordination activities
Education authorities, donors, UN agencies, NGOs, communities and other stakeholders
use timely, transparent, equitable and coordinated financing structures to support
Transparent mechanisms for sharing information on the planning and coordination of
responses exist within the coordination committee and across coordination groups Joint
assessments are carried out to identify capacities and gaps in education response
All stakeholders adhere to the principles of equality, transparency, responsibility and
accountability to achieve results
INEE Minimum Standards Coordination
monitoring attendance and retention of children from weaker sections regularly
providing context specific intervention in the form of a hostel, an incentive or a
special facility as required.
School Infrastructure to incorporate the aspects of “ Build back Better “
Teachers to be relieved of contract management duties ( School building and Mid day
SMTs to manage mid Day Meal and School Construction
Incentives in the form of uniforms, text books could support children’s participation
and retention in schools
5. Education Policy initiation
Launch of INEE Minimum Standards
Adapt INEE Minimum Standards for Education as NDMA Guidelines for Education
Roll out of School safety guidelines to schools to be part of Teacher Training and
District Development plans
School DM plan to be included in District DM planning processes
LSAR training for Schools
Camp decommissioning of school infrastructure to be developed
Turning volunteerism as opportunity for teaching
Involving Youth In Education Programmes peace building and conflict resolution
School DM planning should be initiated along with community participation.
Mass mobilization on urban risk assessment and awareness campaign.
HFA orientation and involvement of Education personnel in HFA audits
DRR in curriculum to be advocated
Development of more TLMs in local languages for primary classes