As per the worldatlas.com, the literacy rates in India is 69% overall of which 86% youths, 69% adults and 41% elders are literates, as compared to developed nations like USA (86% overall literacy), Singapore (96% Overall literacy), United Kingdom (99% Overall Literacy), Russia (99% Overall Literacy) & Ukraine & Uzbekistan (100% Overall Literacy).
Although it is not impossible for India to reach 100% literacy. But still, there is a long way to go yet. And increasing population, unemployment of family elders and poor economic factors are some challenges that hinder the education progress of India’s children.
There are children in our nation who wish to go to school but either can’t afford it financially or their family doesn’t support them. To enable such children to reach the milestone of primary education, “Plan International’s” India Chapter has tied up with “Door Step School” (an NGO) to make education reach on the door for street children and pavement dwellers.
“School on Wheels” is an educational programme launched by “Plan India” for rendering education to underprivileged children up to the age of 14. As the name suggests, the main element of the project is a bus which is modified to convert it into a mobile classroom. The buses will be equipped with blackboards, study tables, ceiling fans, TV screens, drinking water and fire extinguishers.
The project has been implemented in South Mumbai Slums. As their website suggests, the project has reached 5000 children of 3-18 year age group since its inception in 2008. Apart from this their community based educational programme has reached 524 children. They have a class structure of 20 students per lecture, conducting 4 classes per day. Up till now, 77% of students have been regular with an average daily attendance of 55%. From all the students they have taught, 99% of students started formal education through schools and did not drop out. They are making efforts at their end to enrol children in school in the coming year. In addition to this, 756 children who attended their computer classes have been benefited. The programme reaches around 800 students every year.
A similar programme was launched by Gujrat CM, Vijay Rupani in July 2018 which focused on providing education to children of Salt Pan Workers. The children would have to stay near salt pans with their family for a whopping time period of 6-8 months. Because of this, they could not go to schools. The programme goes by the same name and is focused to run 30 such modified buses to reach 1200 children of 6-14 years ago. It primarily runs in Kutch, Surendranagar, Banaskantha, Patan, Amreli, Bhavnagar and Bharuch districts where salt pan workers dwell near sea coasts.
This is an innovative and praiseworthy step taken by Plan India as well as Gujrat CM to impart primary education to underprivileged children. In a world where education has become a business for school and colleges, people like these have risen to make education easily approachable. However, there are yet many young minds that are untouched by education. Shiksha News praises the work of Plan India and requests everyone to help such kids around them to get in touch with education by any means possible.