From less than 20 per cent in academic year 2012-13, the Pratham Open School for Education (POSE) has in 2013-14 managed an over 90 per cent pass rate among school dropouts finishing education in Gujarat.
The initiative by Pratham, the non-governmental organisation that works toward provision of quality education to underprivileged children, was started in 2012-13 in seven states including Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan. While last year the organisation saw dropouts appearing for exams through the Gujarat State Open School (GSOS) board, this year the dropouts took the exams through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
"While conducting our annual survey in rural areas, we saw many girls who had not completed their Standard 10th education expressing general readiness to complete the same. This is how Pratham Open School for Education began wherein we identified 100 villages per block and worked towards educating and training school dropouts in re-appearing for Standard 10th exams and complete their education," said Renu Seth, Gujarat head of Pratham.
According to the organisation, the Gujarat state has witnessed one of the highest success rates in school dropouts finishing education. As against a pass percentage of 17.30 per cent under the GSOS board, the dropouts achieved a pass percentage of 92.31 per cent under the NIOS board.
"We go to villages and approach primary and secondary schools as well as homes and identify dropouts and convince them to enrol into POSE," said Seth.
Once enrolled, dropouts undergo a foundation course for the first 4-5 months, before being trained in subjects like Science or Home Science, Maths, Languages & Social Studies, and English for Standard 10th. According to Seth, students, especially girls, usually drop out in Standard 7th or 8th levels for economic and accessibility reasons.
"The idea is - the larger message of girls taking the second chance. We think it is a big step they take, in the social milieu and for the time they need to put in their study," Seth added.
In order to address these issues, POSE not only sets up 5-6 tutor centres per block, wherein each block covers around 100 villages, but also establishes clusters closer to villages. Moreover, there are 4-5 faculty members posted for each block by POSE. There are currently 30-31 blocks across seven states.
Meanwhile, last year, POSE reached out to 2838 school dropouts, while this year the initiative the numbers rise to 3372.