व्यक्तिमत्व घडवणारी शाळा ‘’घर’’

                                                                                   By Ganesh Dalvi

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 JRF विद्यार्थ्यांची क्षेत्रभेट

 ‘‘माझ्या घरातील वयस्कर व्यक्तींसोबत बोलताना मला जाणवत होत की आपण बऱ्याचदा घरातील लोकांना सरळ सरळ गृहीतचं धरतो. म्हणजे रोज आईनेच जेवण बनवायचं असतं, घरातील काम वडील किंवा मोठा भाऊ अथवा बहीण यांनीच करायचे असतात इत्यादि. घरातील वयस्कर लोकांकडे दुर्लक्ष करणे, त्यांना काही समजत नाही असे असंख्य पूर्वग्रह माझ्याही मनात होते परंतु जेव्हा जेआरएफ(JRF) उपक्रमांतर्गत मी माझ्या आजोबांची मुलाखत घेतली तेव्हा मात्र मला अनपेक्षित धक्का बसला. मला जाणवलं की मी किती सहजपणे घरातील माणसांना गृहीत धरते आणि त्यातुन त्यांच्याशी वागते.’’

रविना आपला मुलाखत घेण्याच्या अनुभवावर बोलत होती. तर…

‘‘मी आजपर्यंत कधीच मुलाखत घेतलेली नाही, पहिल्यांदा मी माझ्या मोठ्या बहिणीची मुलाखत घेतली. सुरुवातीला मी थोडा घाबरलो होतो परंतु नंतर माझ्या आणि ताईच्या बोलण्यात सहजता आली आणि मी चांगल्या पद्धतीने मुलाखत घेऊ शकलो. मला जाणवलं की ताई खुप आत्मविश्वासाने प्रश्नांची उत्तरे देते आहे. मला या मुलाखती मधुन माझ्या ताईबद्दल अनेक नवीन गोष्टींची माहिती झाली याशिवाय प्रश्न कसे विचारावे, कशा पद्धतीने विचारावे हे समजले. माझ्या प्रश्नांमुळे तिचे मन दुखावले जाणार नाही याची मी दक्षता घेतली. ताई चा आजवरचा सगळा संघर्ष मला यानिमित्ताने जाणून घेता आला.’’

रवींद्र मुलाखत घेतल्यानंतरचा संपूर्ण मुलाखतीचा अनुभव सांगत होता.

 पहिला अनुभव सांगणारी रविना वाणिज्य शाखेतून पदवीचे शिक्षण घेत आहे तर रवींद्र देखील पदवीचे शिक्षण घेतो आहे. १० वी किंवा १२ वी नंतर पुढे काय करावे या चक्रात अडकलेल्या विद्यार्थ्यांपैकी हे दोघेजण आहेत. आर्थिक परिस्थितीमुळे घरातून मदतीची अपेक्षा करणे योग्य वाटत नाही, पुर्णवेळ अथवा अर्धवेळ नोकरी करण्यासाठी तशी उपलब्धता किंवा आवश्यक कौशल्ये नाहीत अशी परिस्थिती बऱ्याच ग्रामीण व शहरी विद्यार्थ्यांची आहे. अशा विद्यार्थ्यांसाठी सुरु केलेल्या ‘‘ज्युनिअर फेलोशिप’’(JRF) या लेंड अ हँड इंडियाच्या उपक्रमाच्या ४थ्या बॅचमध्ये १२ विद्यार्थी सहभागी आहेत. समाजिक व आर्थिकदृष्ट्या कमकुवत असलेल्या विद्यार्थ्यांना मदतीचा आणि आत्मविश्वासाचा हात जेआरएफ(JRF) उपक्रमाद्वारे मिळतो आहे. ज्युनिअर फेलोशिप हा अनुभवावंर आधारित शिक्षण देणारा हा उपक्रम असून सहा महिन्यांचे प्रशिक्षण आणि तीन महिन्यांची इंटर्नशिप असे या उपक्रमाचे स्वरूप आहे. यामध्ये विद्यार्थ्यांना स्वत:ची ओळख होणे, विविध व्यावसायिक कौशल्ये जसे संगणक वापर, गरजेनुसार तंत्रज्ञान वापराचे मार्गदर्शन, उद्यमशीलता, क्षेत्र भेटी व त्यांचा अभ्यास, तज्ञांचे मार्गदर्शन, संवाद कौशल्ये, इंग्रजी संभाषण इत्यादि बाहेरील जगतात काम करण्यासाठी आवश्यक कौशल्ये शिकविली जातात. सहा महिन्यांच्या प्रशिक्षणानंतर या फेलोजने पुढील तीन महिने आवश्यकतेनुसार प्रत्यक्ष काम करणे अपेक्षित असते.

सहा महिन्यांच्या प्रशिक्षण काळात विद्यार्थ्यांना विविध असाईनमेंट्स देण्यात येतात. याचाच एक भाग म्हणुन उपक्रमातील सर्व सहभागी विद्यार्थ्यांना आपल्या घरातील एका व्यक्तीची मुलाखत घेण्याची असाईनमेंट देण्यात आली होती. सर्व विद्यार्थ्यानी अतिशय काळजीपूर्वक आणि तपशिलांमध्ये जाऊन घरातील व्यक्तींच्या मुलाखती घेतल्या. सर्वसाधारणपणे आपल्या घरातील व्यक्ती या आपल्यासाठी संपुर्णपणे ओळखीच्या असतात असचं आपल्याला वाटत असत. रोज आपण ज्या व्यक्तींसोबत राहतो ती माणस देखील इतरांनसारखीच असतात मात्र आपलं त्याकडे दुर्लक्ष होत. घरातील व्यक्तींकडून आपल्याला खूप काही शिकायला आणि अनुभवायला मिळत असते. विद्यार्थ्यांना या असाईनमेंट्स द्वारे घरातील व्यक्तींबद्दलची अधिक माहिती मिळालीच शिवाय घरातील व्यक्तींपासून सुद्धा खूप काही शिकण्यासारखे आहे हे समजावे हा या असाईनमेंट चा उद्देश होता.

                             आपल्या स्वत:च्या क्षमता जसे मुलाखतीसाठी घरातील व्यक्ती ठरवणे त्यासाठी प्रश्न तयार करणे, ते लिहून काढणे, तपासून घेणे यातुन त्यांच्या विचारांमध्ये छोट्या स्तरावरील बदल दिसुन येतात. मुलाखतीसाठी जागेची निवड, मुलाखत देणाऱ्याची योग्य वेळ आणि जागा याचे तपशील ठरवणे याशिवाय प्रश्न विचारण्याच्या पद्धती त्यांचे क्रम लावणे. आणि यातुन समोरच्या व्यक्तीला बोलत करणे असे बहुविध कौशल्ये विद्यार्थ्यांनी यात वापरली. वरकरणी पाहता छोटी वाटणाऱ्या या असाईनमेंट्स द्वारे विद्यार्थ्यांना एक नवा दृष्टीकोन मिळाल्याची भावना सर्वच विद्यार्थ्यांनी व्यक्त केली. काही विद्यार्थ्यांनी यातुन आत्मविश्वासात वाढ झाली असे सांगितले तर काहींना यातुन सुसंगत विचार कसा करावा एखाद्या व्यक्तीमत्वाबद्दल कशी माहिती मिळवावी तसेच काहींसाठी संवाद कौशल्यांची उजळणी झाली. शिकण्याची खरी प्रक्रिया घरातूनच सुरु होते अशा भावना विद्यार्थी व्यक्त करताना दिसत आहे. जे आर एफ(JRF) उपक्रम सुरु करण्यामागचा उद्देशच हा ग्रामीण व शहरी भागातील विद्यार्थ्यांना नोकरी/व्यवसाय करण्यासाठी आवश्यक असणारे आणि व्यक्तिमत्त्व विकासात आवश्यक असणारी जीवन कौशल्य रुजविणे हा आहे.

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JRF विद्यार्थ्यांसाठी तज्ञांचे मार्गदर्शन

या सर्व विद्यार्थ्यांना या मुलाखतींमधून आपल्या घरातील मोठ्या व्यक्तींबाबत आणि एकूणच कुटुंबाबाबत खूप गोष्टी नव्याने माहिती झाल्या. मुलाखतकाराच्या आयुष्यातील संघर्ष, अडचणींचा काळ यासह बालपणीच्या आठवणी, अविस्मरणीय क्षण, कठीण परिस्थितीतून काढलेले मार्ग, मुलांच्या शिक्षणासाठीची धडपड, मोठ्या कुटुंबांची होरपळ, कामानिमित्ताचे स्थलांतर अशा विविध गोष्टींबाबत अनभिज्ञ असलेल्या या मुलांना जगण्याकडे पाहण्याची एक सकारात्मक दिशा नक्कीच मिळाली असणार.

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JRF उपक्रमातील सहभागी विद्यार्थी एकत्रीत चर्चा करताना

 एकूण नऊ महिने कालावधीचा हा उपक्रम असून हा कालावधी उत्तमपणे पूर्ण करणाऱ्या विद्यार्थ्यांना जे आर एफ फेलो(JRF Fellow) म्हटले जाते. या वर्षीचा उपक्रम सुरु होऊन तीन महिने झाले आहेत. अजून पुढे तीन महिने हे विद्यार्थी अनेक गोष्टी शिकणार आहेत, अनुभवणार आहेत. त्यांच्यामधील हा छोटासा बदल मात्र खूप आश्वासक आहे. परिस्थितीला दोष न देता आवश्यक जीवन कौशल्य आत्मसात करून परिस्थिती बदलण्यावर विश्वास असलेल्या या मुलांना खूप खुप शुभेच्छा.

The writer Ganesh Dalvi, works as a communication officer with Lend A Hand India. He likes to travel and collect the unnoticed stories from the field. 

Learning takes place in quaint wilderness! 

By  Molly Pathak

DIFFICULTIES STRENGTHEN THE MIND AS LABOUR DOES THE BODY.Through this blog post, I am going to tell you a story of four young boys, their individual struggles and situations that led them to come together for a common purpose i.e. ‘to rise up in life’.

This story takes off from ‘Hunnar Gurukul’ an artisan training school; located in a quaint village named Uttur, in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. Situated by Kolhapur-Panjim highway, Uttur is fabulously spoilt by lush green trees and a wilderness that brings in positive vibes about nature’s undeterred bounty. I had visited Uttur in March 2019, to review the year-long skilling program.  The temperatures had just begun soaring yet there was tranquility in the air and a deep sense of quietude which is necessary for holistic learning to prevail.

Hunnar Gurukul is an initiative of ‘Cause to Connect Foundation’, a Pune based NGO established in the year 2016, supported and nurtured by Lend A Hand India. Mr. Aniruddha Bansod, a passionate professional leads it.

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Lighter moments captured at Hunnar Gurukul with students

Academic year 2018-19, was the first year of its project implementation. The first batch of students at Hunnar Gurukul consisted of eight boys who had not fared well in the formal education system but had an inherent aptitude for artistry. Through its one year course, the Gurukul had addressed their capacity gap between formal education and vocational skill training and saved these individuals from turning into migrant laborers.  As the name suggests, Hunnar Gurukul is a residential program implemented through a well designed time table which includes activities for physical, personal and spiritual1 growth for the students.

Hunnar Gurukul imparts year-long practical vocational skill training in carpentry and masonry. Each session lasts for twelve months and the course is split into three parts i.e. – four months of concept based practical training, three months of production where students make real life usable models by applying the skills learnt in workshop and the last three months of on job training with a domain specialist. Upon completion of course, students are encouraged to explore options of placements and/or entrepreneurship. The Gurukul handholds its students in getting their first work/job orders in place.

Leaving behind the nitty-gritty of training and its components, which are otherwise available through reports and statistics, I concentrated on stories at the Gurukul.

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As of March 2019; Gautam, is a gritty 17 year old, newest entrant into the Hunnar Gurukul. About 2 years ago Gautam used to beg at Kurla railway station in Mumbai. Physical abuse, hunger, destitution, helplessness, he had experienced it all in most horrible proportions and in great detail. He was rescued from that fearful existence by Snehalaya, an Ahmednagar based NGO. At Snehalaya he was clothed, sheltered and given a new identify, but educating him was a challenge because of his age and no prior background in formal education. To make sure that he wouldn’t fall back into the vicious circle of helplessness, he was brought in at Hunnar Gurukul to receive vocational skill training over mere literacy. Gautam is a student of carpentry.

His trainer says that Gautam speaks very less, is shy by nature but an avid learner. During an in-depth interview with Gautam, I found that he had experienced the greatest amount of trust deficit in his earlier life at Mumbai and hence remained isolated in the beginning. As time progressed, the positive learning environment, individual attention and care at Hunnar Gurukul helped him heal his past scars and open up to cheerfulness. On the day of the visit, after classes in the evening the boys had presented a song and dance program to express their happiness about having a visitor in their campus. Gautam had anchored that program with limited words but excitement that oozed out of his sincere eyes. Gautam’s case is a strong example of vocational education as an instrument for nurturing, healing and moving up towards better life conditions.

Three 18-21 year old boys, Rohan, Rohit and Rishi; slightly senior students of carpentry, were on the verge of completing their course at the time of writing this story. Having spent their childhood at Snehalaya, destiny had brought all three of them together for livelihood based vocational skill training at Hunnar Gurukul. They know nothing as to who their biological fathers were, all they know is that their biological mothers were into professions that ‘society would not accept’2 and hence they had been sent away by their own mothers to the shelter home at Snehalaya for a better life. As per their trainer, all the three boys have been exceptionally good students and have taken deep interest in learning and allied activities throughout their stay at the gurukul. During the visit I had an informal conversation with them to find out more about their well being and present state of mind. Through the conversation they shared that, at that point of time they were doing their internship with an architect near Velhe block in Pune district.

They also said that after completing their internship they would like to set up a small production shed and take basic job orders. Over and above getting details about their progress in training, I observed that something more than livelihood preparedness had developed between the three of them. I found that from being erstwhile orphans they had started living like brothers, they had become a family with the same dreams and aspirations. This was far much over and above the intended impact of both formal education as well as vocational skill education. 

Having spent a complete day with the first batch students of Hunnar Gurukul; that evening as I left Uttur, I couldn’t help but wonder about the miracles that can be achieved if ‘education is imparted as service of the greatest order, accepted as gratitude and revered as worship’.

(The writer Molly Pathak, works as a Consultant with Lend a Hand India. She draws from the field and writes about the not so theoretical aspects of development which would have gone unnoticed if not said through stories!)

 


Notes:

1spiritual here means the specific quest present in human beings that makes them seek a better living than the present and a spirit to fight in the face of adversity. It is in no way related to religion. It refers to the drive or eagerness in a human being to excel in a particular task/work/activity.

2 ‘professions that society would not accept’ = commercial sex workers

Names of students have been changed to protect identity.

Multi Skill Foundation Course opens job opportunity for Girls in Elevator Industry!!

       Lend-A-Hand-India has become a pioneer in scaling up vocational education at higher and secondary schools. Having a strong belief in the untapped potential of adolescence, both in rural and urban schools. Multi Skill Foundation Course (MSFC) provides a platform to students for exploring livelihood opportunities and understand the connection between theory and its practice in real life.The MSFC course is approved by National Skills Qualification Council as Job Role: Multi Skill Assistant Technician at 10th grade level and Multi Skill Technician at 12th grade level. This course delivered through ‘learning by doing’ method develops a holistic environment for both girls and boys to come together to learn skills such as electrical, soldering, carpentry, food processing, nutrition, gardening and nursery techniques. As a result, the students are able to get exposure to real life application of subjects like physics, chemistry, mathematics, geography, civics, and social science. The girl students, in particular, acquire unconventional skills otherwise considered as professions for male folks.

      Employers such as A V Elevators, have taken a step ahead and provided internship opportunities for girls, for the first time, in their industry and are now interested in offering these girls jobs on successful completion of the internship.

 

av      Shir Aniket Navgire, founder of A V Electricals interviewing students for internship

A V Elevators conducted interviews and selected the students for the internship. They were glad to offer internships to the girl students. They said, “This is first time girls are working in an elevator industry. We encourage more girls to participate. Their safety in the workplace will be our utmost priority.”

Girl EleSonali Chavan is a 11th standard student of Rajiv Gandhi E-learning School, Pune. She belongs to a conservative lower middle-class family and is a first-generation learner. She resides at Indhira Nagar and her father work as coolie with local contactor in the fabrication sector and her neighbors are no different. She has been taught that field like electrical and fabrication are man’s job since early age, but determined to overcome such limitations and pursue her passion in it, she enrolled herself for an MSFC course along her friends. Today, she is doing an internship in the electrical and fabrication domain and inching closer to make her dreams a reality.

Girls FabSupriya is 11 th standard students who belongs to lower economic background. She is one of the sincere student. She feels that MSFC is dream come true course. She has seen poverty since childhood wanted to earn to overcome it. But due to financial constrain she will not able to opt for any course after 12th standard to become self- dependent. She will be not be able study further that is the reason why Supriya focused on MSFC classes. She realized that MSFC trainer taught us fabrication, basic engineering, this will give opportunity to earn for fulfill her basic needs and save some money for her further education.

girls at FabrNow, Supriya is one of the girls who’s doing an internship with AV Elevators. After completion, she will be working as an electrician and fulfill her dreams. This might just be her first step of success.

two girlsSnehal ( Right side) is another MSFC student, who is also doing an internship with AV Elevators, Pune. She is in 11th grade. As an electrician intern, she assisted senior electrical to install elevators in two weeks. She was initially not interested in studies and never aspired to work for any company. But, MSFC seeded an interest into her as she’s now being able to taste her own fruits of success and experience the results of whatever she is working on,this eventually led her to develop an interest in electricals. Today, she strives to pursue further studies so that she can become an engineer.

two grl                                                  Glimpse from working site

Baburao Sanas School in the Era of Privatization

Ms. Nirmala Kamble is – as most headmasters are – usually found in her office with the usual tasks for the day accumulating on her desk. She emits a different aura than the usual “strict headmaster”. Instead, she is approachable, easy to hold a conversation with, and has a camaraderie with her administration, all the while maintaining her authority.

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Ms. Nirmala Kamble – Headmaster of Baburao Sanas School

She has been headmaster of Baburao Sanas School for Girls in Mangalwar Peth, Pune since the 2015-16 academic year, and in her time she has inherited the challenges that face many Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) schools today.

It is her friendly disposition and her attention to individual student needs that is helping her handle issues that affect students’ education. The students that enroll in Baburao Sanas are from the surrounding underprivileged areas, where there are higher rates of drug and alcohol use, the effects of which they bring into the classroom. Ms. Kamble addresses this challenge with kindness and attention. She supports providing strong counselling services, holding parent meetings to keep them updated about their child’s academic progress, and encouraging teachers to give individual attention to each student.

However, the halls are not as full as they’re supposed to be, and when the bell rings, there aren’t many students that spill out of classrooms. Ms. Kamble is also faced with the challenge of decreasing enrollment rates as private schools gain popularity in the area and already-established schools turn into English mediums. The PMC schools are all Marathi medium, and the effort to convert a few of them into English mediums has only recently begun. Baburao Sanas has also been, since its inception in 1971, an all-girls school, and so it sees fewer students than most other PMC schools. And so, Ms. Kamble plans to make it co-ed, in an attempt to increase enrollment rates.

“We have 225 students and 7 teachers here. The numbers are decreasing, and keeping the school from closing is my biggest challenge and my goal,” she says. This is the unfortunate reality of many government schools that are being overshadowed by private institutions.

And yet, the administration and staff of Baburao Sanas is deeply connected and devoted to ensuring that school doors remain open.

“Baburao Sanas was the first PMC school to have a 100% result, in the 2002-3 academic year,” says Ms. Asha Yamgar, school coordinator, and she shows a plaque hanging with the 12th board exam result history on the wall in front of the headmaster’s office. She also discusses teacher involvement in surrounding communities, and says that the teachers conduct home visits to understand the students’ situations outside the classroom and urge parents to pay more attention to their education. Teachers especially look for bright students with a financial situation that will not allow them to pay for further education. For these students, the school tries to find sponsors.

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Ms. Asha Yamgar, Baburao Sanas School Coordinator

Ms. Kamble has her own connect with Baburao Sanas and her involvement with PMC schools goes back to her childhood. She went to Netaji Subashchandra Bose Madhyamik in Yerwada, and then became a teacher. She has worked for 32 years in the education field, 13 of which were spent teaching maths and science courses at Baburao Sanas.

“It’s important that the students know that being at a PMC school does not mean that they can’t be something,” she says, and she is an example of this. The quality of education at these schools is perceived as low and, as a result, career options are believed to be limited.

Ms. Kamble is working on changing this reputation and her main strategy is to strengthen the quality of education at Baburao Sanas by increasing the availability of school amenities that can help it compete with surrounding schools. She has especially pushed digitization and now, the school has four digital classrooms, two of which are computer labs.

With pamphlets and boards listing these features and the various extracurricular activities that the school offers, Ms. Kamble and her staff reached out to the community in an attempt to increase enrollment rates. They visited various primary schools to speak to students and parents about the benefits of attending Baburao Sanas.

Ms. Kamble is really hopeful that one of these features will increase enrollment. Since the integration of the multiskill and retail courses in the school, students have been enthusiastic about participating, and Ms. Kamble and Ms. Yamgar believe that this program will be of immense benefit to students from slum communities. The courses have been effective in not only in teaching rudimentary technical skills, but also in giving the students an ability to problem solve. The students were involved in fixing certain plumbing and electrical issues that the school had, and have been using the learnt skills at home as well.

“The multiskill class may be a reason for a slight increase in enrollment in the last year, and we are one of the three schools in Pune that offer level 3 and 4 as well,” says Ms. Kamble. She hopes that once the first batch of level 4 graduates is employed in this field, they will spread the word about multiskill to other children in the community, and they will be motivated to enroll.

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The girls in Baburao Kanyashala’s multiskill course

Ms. Kamble’s ultimate goal as headmaster is to increase the number of divisions in each class. She hopes that the school’s efforts to stay relevant, especially with digitization and the multiskill and retail courses, will make an impact not only on the quality of education that the students are receiving, but on securing the school’s future as well.

Lend A Hand India’s Skills on Wheels Initiative

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Lend A Hand India recently launched a new project – the Skills on Wheels bus – which is a mobile classroom that will take everything required to teach a vocational education class on the road. The Skills on Wheels bus went on a 24 day journey to Leh, Ladakh for its inaugural journey, a “Skill Yatra” that aimed to spread awareness about skill education all the way to the famous Druk White Lotus School in Leh, shown in the movie 3 Idiots.

Please do read about the journey under “Latest Travel Updates” on the Skills on Wheels website: www.skillsonwheels.org.in

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