Special Training For Our Kids Under Right To Education

A few days back, we were invited by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to attend a meeting and make a presentation about our work and how we intended to work with the State Administration towards the special training program for out of school children under the Right to Education Act.OK I think I should give a little more background. A few weeks back, we called and fixed appointments with the top bureaucrats in the Education Department here to propose moving our programs at Street Smart and Bindal to government school premises in the vicinity of the projects, so that there is a better environment for the children to study in, and more space for us to function under.Now under the Right to Education Act, there is provision for Section 3 and 4 for Special Training for out of school children and drop-outs. This provision caters to creating six months, one year and two year programs for the most vulnerable categories of children, including slum children, street children, children working as labourers, children with special needs, children with addiction and so forth. The Act also states that NGOs should be roped in as one of the agencies through which the special training programs can be conducted. The program will conclude for a child only after s/he is deemed fit to enter “age-appropriate”, mainstream education.

So the meetings turned out to be very encouraging and we were elated on receiving the invitation a few weeks later to give the aforesaid presentation. They asked us to talk about our work and also discuss our plans for working on the Special Training Program. So we prepared our proposal, put together a PowerPoint slide show with our beautiful pictures and great music in the background that we were sure would make the officers go “awwwww”.

Turns out, the real purpose of the meeting was to take inputs from NGOs like ours that are working with marginalized children, towards the state rules that have to be formulated to apply the provisions of Right to Education. So while we hastily stowed away our laptop, and jotted out our points for the specific state rules for the Special Training Program, we were also very happy at this initiative by the Education Department at including field workers into a meeting about policy-making.

Our inputs about using government school premises in the afternoons after regular school hours to run the Special Training programs were well received. We also learnt of other ideas, both from the administrators’ side and from other NGOs. We talked to members from SCERT who are developing the curriculum for the Special Training program and in all, we are all charged to take this Public-Private Partnership forward from next week onwards.

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