Bridging the gap to formal schooling
Pathshala, the oldest programme of Literacy India, was conceived in 1996 to address the deeply felt need of imparting basic education to those children who were deprived of the access to formal schooling. The first batch comprised five out-of-school children who had migrated to Gurugram from Bihar during the boom in the construction industry. Over the years, Pathshala has evolved to initiate out-of-school children into the mainstream learning process, bridge gaps in learning, and encourage career-oriented skill development in youth through vocational and technology-centric courses.
As beneficiaries of this programme belong to various socio-economic groups and different age brackets, the programme prepares the children for school enrollment and mainstreaming through remedial bridge classes. Learning is stimulated in smart classrooms through the use of software and activity-based learning approaches. As an extension of the National Literacy Mission Model, Pathshala ensures that every beneficiary learns to read and write within a span of three months to a year. Students who cannot secure admission to formal schools can opt to complete schooling through the National Open School under the centre’s guidance.
Community engagement and creating awareness on the importance of education in poverty alleviation are integral to Pathshala’s objectives. Meals offered to the students by the programme act as a primary motivator during the initial phase, while visits to corporates like Dell, Accenture and SHL encourage these students to be ambitious and continue with their education. Literacy classes for adults have also been introduced as an extension of the programme to inspire change through the ripple effect of education in low-income families.
The primary objective of Pathshala is to help integrate non-school going children, drop-outs and those who cannot avail education, especially girls, into the mainstream educational system through timely and effective intervention.
- Beneficiaries are identified with the help of a community survey and enrolled in the community centre.
- The students are segregated into groups according to age and educational qualification.
- Remedial classes and academic guidance, modelled on mainstream schooling, are provided to students to meet individual needs.
- Digital learning is encouraged to familiarise students with technology.
- Activity-based learning is imparted through regular classes with the following benefits:
– improves academic performance of the students
– reduces the number of dropouts
– ensures that the students are involved in academic and other activities
– enables regular evaluation of academic progress
- Youth development and career counselling programmes, as well as extra-curricular activities, are offered.
- Vocational and educational programmes provide skill-based training and promote entrepreneurship among the students.
- Behavioural and social changes in economically underprivileged sections of the society are brought about through community engagement.
Highlights of 2019-20
- 1449 students were enrolled in 2020.
- 50 dropouts secured admission to regular schools.
- The average score of students in 2020 was between 60% and 75%.
- 50 students secured ranks in their respective classes.
- Students of Pathshala participated in the immensely popular dance reality show on Zee TV – Dance India Dance.
- ICT software like Gynatantra Udbhav were used regularly to conduct classes. Videos from YouTube were also used to explain difficult concepts or subjects.
- Students were taken on excursions to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium.
- Exposure visits to corporate houses like Dell, Accenture, SHL were organised.
- Families of Pathshala students were provided with ration kits and masks during the lockdown.
- Books were supplied to the library to encourage reading habits among children.
- Blankets, stationery items and snacks were distributed to students.
- More focus and participation have been observed in students with a teacher-student ratio of 1:12.
- Students were coached in essential life skills like anger management, handling peer pressure and gender sensitisation.