Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha, attracts a large number of impoverished, homeless, and unemployed families who migrate from rural areas. 40% of its population resides in 436 slums.
With the Right to Education Act 2009 in force, children living in slums still do not have adequate access to government schools. The key barriers include physical distance of schools, over-crowded class rooms and uninteresting methodology. In addition the government schools do not appropriately plan to address their education needs discouraging their enrolment and eventually leading to high rate of drop-outs from school.
Since the enforcement of Right to Education Act 2009, Ruchika has built strong focus and expertise in improving quality of education. Ruchika has pioneered a competency based methodology and friendship education strategy in its Alternative & Remedial education program being implemented in 100 slums across Bhubaneswar.
The intervention aims to review and improve the learning competencies in three core subjects – English, Mathematics and Odia. The teachers taught 2 hours to primary students and 4 hours (2 hours in morning and 2 hours in evening) to elementary students everyday in the Remedial Education Centers in the communities. Proficiency is ensured through continuous competency tests and third-party assessments.
Prior to intervention, the school children in these communities have been securing an average of 24% in core subjects of English, Maths and Odia. Five-year program support has resulted in marked improvement in the academic proficiency of these children, as most of them have secured more than 70% in aggregate in the core subjects (English, Math and Odia). The school children who were not part of the program secured an average score of 40% in the three core subjects.
The improved results have also reduced drop-out rates to 5% in to government schools.