India is a country of “Young Age”. The demographics of India are remarkably diverse. India is the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.18 billion people (estimate for April, 2010), more than a sixth of the world’s population. Already containing 17.31% of the world’s population, India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, its population exceeding 1.6 billion people by 2050. However, India has an astonishing demographic dividend where more than 50% of its population is below the age of 25 and more than 65% hovers below the age of 35. It is expected that, in 2020, the average age of an Indian will be 29 years, compared to 37 for China and 48 for Japan; and, by 2030, India’s dependency ratio should be just over 0.4.
We strongly believe that we need to invest most in children and youths by inculcating Right Knowledge, Right Skill and Right Attitude to make our beloved country leading to humanity.
India is a developing country; it’s yet to pave its way through many adversities. However it is an unfortunate fact that despite having enough infrastructures for its schooling system it is lagging way behind on the international standard of education. The expenditure by the Government of India on school education in recent years comes to around 3% of the Gross Domestic Production, which is recognized to be very low. This has given impetus to private and so called international schools; but this vulgar commercialization of education is not only jeopardizing the Indian schooling system, but also putting the majority of Indian children, i.e. children of deprived communities, out of schooling as its corollary. This hits hard to communities residing in slums as they are on the lowest rung of the economic structure. They work hard round the clock and yet struggle to make ends meet; in a state where survival gnaws at them, how can education be of priority? Neither is it a choice as they can’t afford private schools while government schools fail to provide even basic literacy skills. There cannot be equality and justice so long as we have two education systems one for the rich and other for the poor. It is a known fact that a large number of students enrolled in upper primary government schools (standard 5+) are unable to read, write and count!
Jeevantirth has recognized these hurdles and has been working amidst the largest slum of Ahmedabad, Ramapir no Tekro and nearby slums since 2009. Our most valuable assets are our staff members: the BalMitras (children buddies); it is their volition to teach and learn that has helped us grow Bal Sanskar Kendras. Many of our staff members are residents of the slums itself; they know the people and their issues as their own. In six years we have been able to open 15 BSKs in different slum communities to cater the educational needs of 500 children. The timings are set in accordance with children’s school timings. The morning batch is for children attending school in the afternoon while the evening batch is for children attending school during mornings.
We hold regular weekly meeting for Reporting, Reviewing, Planning, Training and Material Development with the BalMitras. As per the recognized needs of children, parents and society, we come up with curriculums that help develop the students academically and socially. Extra emphasis is laid upon reading, writing and counting skills as these are the basic necessities for a person to survive the current economy. We run a module called VaGaLe which is an acronym for Vanchan, Ganan and Lekhan i.e. reading, counting and writing. Apart from that arts and crafts, music, dance and interactive learning activities are integral part of our curriculum. There has been an increase in the number of students attending BSKs regularly. Each year we review the experiences of past year and improve the curriculum of the upcoming year. We also take help of other organizations to train our BalMitras on regular bases. This has helped us improve our education standard significantly. Having established fifteen centers that teach around 500 children as of today, it is now our motive to focus on improving quality of education rather than increasing the number of centers. In regard to this our BalMitras attend regular training sessions and learn new methods of teaching.