Educating Out-of-School Children

Our Residential Learning Camps offer education for children who have missed out on schooling as a result of poverty. A considerable number of children still lack any access to education: some of them need to help support their family by doing agricultural work at home or in neighbouring areas or states or by grazing animals at home, while others have no opportunity to learn as there are no government or private education facilities nearby. The poor quality of education in rural government schools, when they are accessible, is a further disincentive for families to send children to school.

The Residential Learning Camps are run three times a year, for 60 days each, and teach students basic literacy and numeracy skills in small classes (with a pupil-teacher ratio of approximately 10:1). Teachers are all trained

by Seva Mandir and, as they themselves come from the same rural areas, they understand their pupils’ needs. Once they have attended three camps, children have the opportunity to enrol in government schools.

Seva Mandir’s community education representatives, along with the Community Institutions (see Sustainable Development, identify children in the villages who have never been to school or have dropped out, and speak to the families about the benefits of sending children to the Residential Learning Camp. As well as improving children’s literacy and numeracy skills, the camps offer tuition in English, computers, hygiene, science and sport as well as cultural activities. Apart from an academic education, the camps aim to develop the children’s confidence and faith in education and schooling, so that they return to school and continue their studies after the camp.

Pupils are provided with on-site accommodation, clothing, hygiene kits (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap), education tools (books, pens, equipment) and nutritious meals. A doctor visits weekly to make sure children are healthy.


Impact

Since 2002, nearly 5,000 children from rural and tribal villages in southern Rajasthan have attended the Residential Learning Camps. Children who attend three camps show a significant increase in literacy and educational levels, with many achieving the highest grade during their final camp. Despite their lack of education before the camp, the majority of pupils go on to enrol in government schools.

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