Shikshana Gangothri

Project Brief: Kolar District is one of the backward Districts of Karnataka. There is a need to address education especially in the rural areas of this district. Shikshana Gangothri is an Integrated Education model focused at all 3 levels-Preschools, Schools, Adult
Project Type: Working with the Government (description)
Primary Focus: dropouts (description)

Secondary Focus: to go to formal school

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Dallas
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Rajesh Shetty
Project Partner(s): Dr. Sudarshan
Other Contacts: Ashok Srikantappa
Project Address: , # 377, 8th Cross, Jayanagar,1st Block,,Bangalore,
KARNATAKA  560 011
Tel: +91 080 26564460
Stewarding Chapter: Dallas
Apr 2009DallasUSD 3750
Jul 2008DallasUSD 5000
Dec 2006FlintUSD 4000

Total = $12750

Project Geography:
Shikshana Gangothri project is based out of Kolar District, one of the backward Districts of Karnataka. The project covers the following 2 geographical areas within the Kolar District:
- A part of the Kolar taluka namely the Hollur, having a population of 16,360. Kolar Taluka is in Kolar District in the western part of Karnataka.
- A part of the Gowribidanur Taluka namely Idagur, having a population of 26,755. Gowribidanur Taluka is in Kolar District in the western part of Karnataka.
Kolar District as whole, is a dry land with an average rainfall. There is no river in the district and people live on agriculture. The cultivation mainly depends on rainwater. There is a good number of SC/ST population who have taken to agriculture by profession. The problems are plenty and are mostly due to lack of education.



Problem Definition:
Karuna Trust (our NGO Partner) based out of Bangalore, India, has worked for the last 2 decades and a half on development programs for the rural poor. Having begun with a program on leprosy control in Yelandur taluk, the trust progressed to other health issues, education and livelihoods in response to the needs that became evident to them as the years progressed. In the course of their work, they realized that the one factor that hampered real progress was the lack of convergence between the various departments of the government, even within specific areas such as health and education. These various departments since they were working as “line” departments confined their work to limited and narrow mandates and were therefore able to only achieve limited impact. It is this gap that Karuan Trust wanted to address. It was identified that a large section of adults in Kolar district who were illiterate had been at some point, victims of this lack of convergence. Their education had not been addressed holistically and had pre-primary, primary and high school education been working in synergy, these individuals might not have dropped out and might have been able to achieve at least a minimum level of literacy. It was also evident that the government could not address all development needs. There were some very good schemes and programs that were available, but it was in the implementation that there were gaps.



Solution Identification:
It was clear that what was really required is the coming together of multi-stakeholders, who can work in partnership with the government to enable progress. For this, Karuna Trust saw public-private partnerships as viable and effective means to the end. Karuna Trust has attempted to facilitate just such a partnership in the Shikshana Gangothri project – an integrated approach to education. The solution called for innovative methods that would address each section separately, and yet enable convergence of all the initiatives at some point. The project was begun with the high-level objectives of:
- Eliminating residual illiteracy in the productive age group of 15-21 years and above.
- Ensuring that all the children in the age group of 0-3, 3-6 years are in the anganwadi system and accessing nutrition-based, cognitive development and ensuring 100 percent coverage in future.
- Ensuring that all the children in the age group of 6-9 and 10-14 years are in school and ensuring zero drop-out rate.
- Developing a model of integrated education cum literacy approach for sustainable development.

The solution pointed out to a need for involving the entire community in the education process. It was evident that merely getting children back into the school would address only part of the problem. Unless the entire community was sensitized to the importance of education and began to believe the education was a vital requirement for their children the problem of drop-outs would continue. If the community had to appreciate the value of education there had to be a minimum level of literacy among them. This led to the inclusion of adult literacy within the project. Addressing the pre-school and anganwadis came from the understanding that this was the most important phase in a child’s life.



The approach:
In order to help sustain the child’s interest in school, it is important for Karuna Trust to work in partnership with teachers, SDMC (School Development Management Committees) members and other stakeholders in the education process to improve the overall quality of education. It envisaged utilizing the following:
- The existing infrastructure (material and personnel) of Karuna Trust (6 dedicated staff) in Karuna Trust
- The resource strength of State Resource Center – Karnataka in adult literacy programs
- The district government machinery – adult education (Zilla Sakshara Samithi), primary education (department of education and Sarva Shiksha Abiyana), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and Balvikas Samithis which runs the anganwadi centers
- The Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs)
- The community as a whole
- Other resource groups and interest groups such as Asha
Last but not the least, the value of this program lies in the fact that it is easily replicable and Karuna Trust hopes that the other agencies/state could pick up the concept and enable ‘education for all’ in the same manner as ‘Shikshana Gangothri’.




Summary: Shikshana Gangothri in a snap-shot
Project Objectives:
- Create an integrated model of education, health care and livelihood for under-privileged
- Work through Public/Private Partnership with Public Schools/Government organizations
- Focus at 3 levels of education – Pre-schools, Primary & Adult
- Replicate the ‘Samgara Shikshana’ Project (Integrated Education) implemented in Yelandur Taluk (eg: BR Hills School)


Project Highlights:
- Dr. Sudarshan (Padma Sri receiver) as overall coordinator of Karuna Trust
- 5 year implementation plan (Project in 3rd yr.)
- 33 schools, 133 teachers, 3128 students (1601 males, 1527 females, travel avg. 2 to 4 kms) plus 25 anganwadis with the objective to enroll all new-born, 0-6 year kids.
- Asha’s financial support is approx. $10,000/yr
- Supports 6 volunteers, teacher/skill training, capacity building, School restructuring, materials for children
- Directly affecting one of the backward and drought prone districts, that has high SC and ST population


Key Issues Monitored for Solutions:
- Child Attendance: Work with Teachers/Parents
- Teacher Absenteeism: Identify cause/help as Substitute Teachers
- Monthly Review Meetings/Solutions: School Principals, Gram Panchayat, Teachers, Parents
- Meals: Monitor Food Quality/Kitchen hygiene
- Toilets/Water Tanks: Monitor Cleanliness
- Anganwadis: Supplements, Post Natal Nutrition, Check for weak children, take necessary actions


Return on Investment Calculation/Metrics Tracking:
- Annual Cost per student (2009-2010)
= $10,000 (Dollar Amount) Divided by 3128 (Number of Students)
= $3.20 per Child = Rs. 170 per Child
- Plan to Define Metrics/Quarterly Measurements
- Reduction in Dropout Rate
- Increase in New School Admissions
- Teacher Absenteeism Reduction
- Student Attendance Improvement
- Improvement in number of Toilets per School
- Reduction in number of Sick Students
- Objective Feedback from School Principals/Teachers



References:
Books -
Dr. Bharathi Ghanshyam (2008). Convergence in Education

Conversations –
Dr. H Sudarshan, Hon. Secretary & Founder, Karuna Trust, Right Livelihood Award and Padma Shri Recipient
Mr. Govind Madhav, Dr. Prashanth, Mr. Manjunath – Karuna Trust