COLOUR MY SCHOOL

An old adage states: “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”

There are 193 million Children in the age group 6 to 14 years, and out of that 8.1 million children are out of school . There are many reasons which spark out such differences, but the one which comes closest to my mind; first is in their standard of living and secondly it is how the society discriminates them on the basis of circumstances that are not within their control.

To quote Jean Dreze , “Educational disparities, which contribute a great deal to the persistence of massive inequalities in Indian society, also largely derive from more fundamental inequalities such as those of class, caste and gender.”

Even though the differences deter the growth, the one thing that they all share in common is the desire to go to school. A School where they can learn lessons which are relevant to their lives, a school that helps them to become who they dream to be.

“Destiny of India is being shaped in the classrooms”

Classroom is considered the place where child spends most formative period of their life. But if the children from the village schools are not provided with the right kind of academic environment and opportunity how they can bridge the gap of intellectual divide and compete with the competitive world. The need of the hour is to break the conventional myth of urban-rural education, so that these children can become the future facilitators of our nation.

Learning is a never ending process and has many dimensions. And it all depends on how an individual identifies the different modes to attain the self learning process. School is one such institution which initially imbibes the learning developments in our younger children. But learning in schools shouldn’t be just confined to teaching in class with the Chalk & Board.

A stark reality of our primary schools in rural areas is that they lack the basic facility which a school should have the most i.e. the INFRASTRUCTURE. The recent Public Report on Basic Education (PROBE) report reflects that physical infrastructure of rural schools is far behind the satisfactory-level- 82% OF THE SCHOOLS IS IN NEED OF RENOVATION

 

 

There are many issues in formal education in rural areas which are way behind the brighter development, but school learning environment is primarily the most important and is often neglected where these children study and grow, also the place they call it their second home.

Two years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into force, more than 95% of schools across India still don’t comply with RTE standards for infrastructure, a study suggests. The report, however, shows that one in 10 schools lack drinking water facilities, 40% lack a functional common toilet while another 40% lack a separate toilet for girls, 60% of schools are not electrified and only one in every five schools has a computer. Also, 40 % of primary schools have a student classroom ratio higher than 1:30, stipulated by the act.

Education is free for children who can attend, as the school is state owned and teachers fees are paid by the government. But premises are unfortunately very basic. The schools with very few class rooms accommodate hundreds of children, with or without desks and chairs and tube lights. Hygiene is very poor too, with only one or two toilets, which is broken, unhygienic or not usable.  Also, not to miss out the schools usually don’t even get regular electricity.
As per the provisions of the RTE act, each school should have a playground, a fence or a boundary wall, library and drinking water facilities. Some of the mandatory school infrastructure developments that a school should comply to are: • Building and classrooms in proper condition • Functioning toilets • Drainage system • Food facility • Clean and safe dormitory • Electricity and lightening • Qualified teachers who can teach English • Desks and chairs.

 

A study was conducted by a professor from Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata to identify the attitude of school children towards school infrastructure in primary schools and its relation with school effectiveness. Results revealed that attitude determines one’s motivation to use infrastructure. Only 67% of students were motivated to attend the school. It suggested that students like infrastructures that can be controlled easily, are safe and exploring. Their willingness to participate in different school programs motivated them to attend school. Basic infrastructures like mid-day meal, textbooks and teaching predicted changes in school attendance motivation. Among supportive infrastructures, friendship, health check up and toilet facilities acted as important motivating factors to attend school. The findings revealed that students wanted to come to school in order to explore and to apply their potentialities. Favorable attitude towards school infrastructure leads to school attendance motivation that again improves literacy rates.

Studies have proven that physical conditions of schools may have a significant effect on student’s performance and can contribute significantly to the reduction of the learning gap that is associated with social inequality. The better facilities and utilities in schools could create teaching environments that are much more ideal to achieve better learning. Many studies have shown that environmental topics such as lighting, color and indoor air quality positively correlate with increase academic performance. Student attendance can often be impacted by various components of school facilities like infrastructure, comfortable table and chair, blackboards, colorful class with charts and interactive posters, students participate in designing and decorating the classrooms.

Fostering safe, caring, and supportive learning environments for students, such environments which can build strong attachment and likeness towards school and motivation to learn and progress academically.

Ref:

[1] Excerpt available at :  http://www.education.nic.in/

[2] Information on Jean Dreze : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Dr%C3%A8ze

[3] School Infrastructure data available on: http://www.firstpost.com/india/no-water-no-toilet-95-schools-in-india-lack-rte-infrastructure-269363.html

[4] Dutta, D., Roy, article ‘School Infrastructure’, available at: http://schoolinfrastructure.blogspot.in/

Through her work, Arunima has discovered the stark reality of the state of education system in government schools in rural areas. Her field work, survey, research and study about the education system has made her more inclined and motivated to work towards this cause.



Previously, Arunima designed and drafted a 'Training of Trainers' (ToT) Manual for a rural School Management Committee, in which she compiled different learning materials for the role of community and trainer's in ensuring access to quality education. Her future plans are to study further and research on the primary education system in India, so that she can contribute to provide a platform for those millions of children who are not going to school. Her interest is towards creativity, designing activities, reading, research and documentation.

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2 thoughts on “COLOUR MY SCHOOL

  1. Very important observations. Ted and I have done some work on this issue, and we’ve seen reports of schools that lack basic infrastructure, even toilets. Hopefully you can make this better!

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