Investing in Infrastructure: Bringing children back to school

CRY‘s campaign “Right to School” to ensure 2,71,341 children across CRY-supported projects not only go to school but also complete their education.

Parents of children in Nagfena, a small village situated in the Bolangir distrisct in Odisha, India, had to pray for their children’s safety every time they attended the government primary school. The school, which had 65 students enrolled in classes I to V, had only 36 students regularly attending classes. Not wanting their children to study in classrooms with a damaged roof, many parents, in the constant fear of a possible mishap, resorted to the decision of not sending them to school at all. The dismal infrastructure with a long standing problem of damaged roof, posed a constant reason of worry which escalated during monsoons. Persistent complaints by the community to the head master yielded no results for two years. With the intervention of CRY supported project ADHAR, the matter was escalated at the block and the district level and complaint seeking immediate redressal was submitted.  After much effort, a new school building was allocated and the damaged building repaired as well. The attendance, of course became remarkably better with an increase of almost 45%.

This is just one of the many cases CRY has witnessed which highlights the strong linkage between student attendance and lack of proper infrastructure in schools, which impacts the quality of education overall. One cannot expect the students to stay in schools without basic infrastructure like safe classrooms, electricity, clean drinking water and functional toilets. Drop-out of students can be hugely attributed to these aspects.

While most of the schools have been able to address the issue of drinking water in school, separate toilet for girls and boys, proper boundary wall and availability of a playground, is still a problem faced by many states. About 2,80,775 elementary schools in India still do not have toilets for girls, over 5 lakh do not have boundary wall and 30% do not have a playground. Teacher availability and training is another core aspect in ensuring quality of education to the students. Even after five years of commencement of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009, there is a shortage of 9.4 lakh teachers in government schools in India. Among the existing teachers in government schools, about 20 percent are untrained and the proportion of trained qualified teachers has been almost stagnant since last five years.

CRY has launched the campaign “Right to School” to address these challenges that children face in accessing and completing education.  CRY works at the grass root level with supported projects across 23 states in India to address the factors that hinder children being able to access these basic provisions. It works with communities, mobilizes and empowers them, reaches out to the local authorities to enable solutions and implementation. It ensures that the Right to Education Act is implemented in its intervention areas, there is access to schools and basic necessities, school management committees are working, all stakeholders are aware of the importance of children’s education. The campaign is all about transforming schools into learning environments and will ensure that 2,71,341 students across CRY intervention areas go to school and complete their education. It is an established fact that appropriate learning environment plays an important role in improving learning outcomes and this campaign aims to do just that.

Your support to the CRY campaign, ‘Right to School’ will help ensure children are not deprived of basic infrastructure to access schools. Know more at .

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