Pratigya, in partnership with generous donors, runs Project Education Voucher – an innovative program with the aim of achieving Right to Choose School with Right to Education for each and every child of our society.
The project is Jharkhand’s first privately funded program that provides financial assistance to parents for sending their children to schools of their choice. An education voucher is a special coupon given to needy children whose parents are free to redeem it in any school of their choice. Vouchers are awarded to the students from Class I through V, after which it can be extended till standard 10th, provided they meet the requirements of the project.
Initially in the year 2008 , Vouchers were given to 40 deprived children (mainly tribal) , for studying in better school, from Jagganathpur slum and the number increased to over 200 in the year 2012 with also an extension in rural area. Presently this project is being run by Pratigya in two districts of Jharkhand – Ranchi (urban) and Khunti (rural) covering more than 200 students from socially-economically backward families. 120 students from three urban slums, namely Jagannathpur and New Latma, Ranchi are studying in different private schools with education voucher worth Rs 5,100 (upto) per annum. Similarly 80 students from a village called Chandapara (Lodhma), Karra Block, Khunti have received Education Voucher and are studying in different schools of their choice.
The core of this project or Education Voucher system is the freedom to the children and the parents to choose the School. If they are unsatisfied with the present school or for any other reason if they want to change the school, they are free to do so. In this system money follows the child, not the school, as this Voucher can be redeemed in any school. This system makes the schools directly accountable to the parents since they are paying through the voucher. Here money follows the child, not the school.
Many of our students who took admission in new private schools, having dissatisfaction with their new school, changed their school in the following years. It shows the power of choice, that Education Voucher provides. Some even moved first to vernacular medium and then to English medium schools. The Voucher also initiates a competition among the schools as the schools have to face a challenge to retain their students by the means of good studying environment, good results, etc.
The mechanism of Education Voucher followed by Pratigya, also helps to sensitize guardian about the benefits of education and their key responsibilities towards their children. In fact, this is the result of the sensitization itself, that these people are today more attentive to their wards and feel the need of education in their child’s life. The voucher system in Pratigya also force the parents to visit their child’s school at least once in a month where they can have an interaction with the school staffs so that they can have an idea of their child’s performance and achievements.
Rural Education Voucher Project started in the year 2012
A small hamlet of 112 households namely Chanda pada comes under Lodhma Panchayat, Block- Karra, District – Khunti , Jharkhand. 80 tribal students from this small village have received Education Voucher from Pratigya and are now studying in different private schools. They are mainly those who were either going to government school or were drop out. With this voucher these children took admission into 4 different private schools in the vicinity of the village , namely Pabhat Tara Middle School, St. Anne’s Middle School, St. Anne’s High School and Child Development Centre.
The abysmally poor condition of education among the children of this village not only shivered us from within but made us extend our Education Voucher Project in this village. While doing Rapid Rural Appraisal with regard to condition of Education in various villages nearby Ranchi , capital city of Jharkhand to start Education Voucher Project in Rural Area, we reached this village. The team first visited the village without any information in the evening time and saw that a young lad namely Shankar was teaching about 30 children in the class rooms of government primary school in the village.
On seeing this, the team felt really good that government teacher is putting in so much effort that he is teaching children even in the evening and thought that condition of Education would be good here. However little interaction with Shankar and other villagers shattered what we thought and presented the real picture of extremely worse condition in the government school. Shankar told that since government teacher hardly teaches children and children are literally not learning any thing , gram sabha asked him to take tuition classes of children of the village so that they atleast learn to read and write (leave aside education) and become literate.
Villagers told that the government primary school of their village is till class 5th but there is only one teacher is there to teach the students of all five classes. Students of all the five classes are made to sit in two classes and sometimes in the single classroom. Not only this , in a week, teacher hardly comes 2 -3 days working days. And, most of the days teacher had to go to perform his non teaching chores, as per told by the teacher himself (who sends his children to one of the best schools of Ranchi). Even in those 2-3 days, as per the children classes are never held properly.
As per an elected representative of the village she along with other villagers complained so many times to the teacher but in vain. “They were realising that the future of the children are getting ruined, they are not even becoming literate” as said by a villager. Villagers actually got frustrated with the teacher and the government school. They finally decided to call gram sabha meeting on this issue, after being realising that requesting or believing more on government school and government teacher is not going to yield any result, they need to take a step, and hence they decided to arrange for evening classes for the children. Shankar , an intermediate student-12th Std (who plies his bi-cycle about 35kms daily to attend his college) along with his another friend who finished his class 10th were asked by the Gram Sabha to take evening classes and they started the same.
The condition of education is very similar almost all government primary schools of the 15 villages we visited in and around Ranchi. But one difference we found in this village was
the cautiousness and worry of the villagers with regard to the education of their children. Infact they were not just worried but they took community action to keep up the education of their children in form of evening classes which we did not find as collective step in any village. This made us select this village and especially children of this village to be supported through Education Voucher , so that they are able to break the shackles of poverty and ignorance.
Our Principles :
1) Scholarship on need, not on Merit. Scholarship at standard I is completely on the basis of financial need of the parents and not at all on the merit level. Pratigya wants that every child should get a fair chance to grow and blossom and it believes that using ‘so called’ academic merit at this tender age as a filter is gross injustice to these children. If the number of applications is more than the available grant, then the beneficiaries are selected on the basis of lottery done in presence of the applicants.
2) Regular Assessment test and Counseling Quarterly assessment tests are conducted by Pratigya, for all the students receiving scholarship. The result of which is also communicated to the donors sponsoring the yearly fees of the children. Time to time counseling of students, as well as their parents, is also provided for better results and for a prosperous future.
Helping an underprivileged specially-abled child
Pratigya, again found an opportunity this time, to help out a specially-abled underprivileged girl child, who is keen to study but her family is not financially strong enough to support her. Mannu Kumari is studying in Std. IX in a school near Hatia, Ranchi. Her parents approached the organisation few days back in a view of getting some financial support for Mannu’s education. Pratigya team visited her home and felt the need of intervening the situation that she was living in. She is a specially-abled girl and it is also correct that she is not very sound in her studies. But, her hope/interest to complete her matriculation led us to support this girl and give her a fair & equal chance to face the competition.
Education Voucher Distribution 2016-17
The Education Vouchers, through which the children of Ranchi and Khunti uses “Pratigya’s Right to Choose School through Right to Education”, have been distributed among them. Pratigya is supporting almost 200 underprivileged children in 14 different schools in Ranchi & Khunti, where they are enjoying a good quality school education. More than 20 children have passed successfully their matriculation and are getting their higher education from various schools and colleges.
A GREAT DEBUT OF PRATIGYA'S CHILDREN IN CBSE CLASS X RESULTS!!!
In this year 2015-16, first time our students appeared in the CBSE Class X examinations. We were very much worried and excited about the results, especially this year. And when we got the news that the results have been declared 40 minutes before the mentioned time, yesterday, we started fighting with the bandwidth and servers of CBSE, from our office, to have a glance on the results of our children. It was really amazing to see that out of the four students appeared for the examination this year, one has secured 10 CGPA, one has secured 9.6 CGPA, one has got 8.4 CGPA and one has secured 7.4 CGPA in the examination results.
Moreover, in addition to this, 2 more students of Pratigya passed their matriculation this year successfully through Jharkhand Academic Council.
Education Guardian meeting with his Education Children
Dr. Priyakant Sinha from Australia support the education of two children in Ranchi. They came to India after 5 years and had a wish to meet their children along with their families. Pratigya has always encouraged its donors who support the education of some underprivileged, to meet them without any limitation. Meeting between an education child and an education guardian has always been a motivational factor for the children and it increases the bond of attachment between them. Hence, Pratigya facilitated their meeting and let them enjoy the moments with their supported children.
Visit of Gyanada Team
Gyanada Foundation is a Singapore based non-profit working on the education of girls in India. The Foundation is sponsoring 40 girl children in Ranchi towards getting a good quality education through Pratigya. Gyanada team visits Ranchi every year in order to meet their supported children.
Visiting the schools and meeting with the children during school hours
Pratigya regularly visit the schools where the children are studying under its sponsorship. Meeting with principal and teachers of the schools helped Pratigya to track the children, their behaviour, performance and achievements. Sometimes, it also helps schools to minimize the communication gaps between teachers and children.