Special Correspondent

Pratham Rajasthan manages two special schools for former labourers

The school has educated 50 such children in the past two years

8,000 volunteers mobilised towards universalisation of education

JAIPUR: Two special schools managed by Pratham Rajasthan under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) here have helped improve the learning levels of scores of child labourers who were earlier working in gem-cutting units or engaged in rag-picking on the city streets.

State Principal Labour and Employment Secretary Lalit K. Pawar, who visited the schools over the weekend, was impressed by the children’s grasping the power of written words and picking up creative skills such as drawing, singing and dancing.

“Sir, mujhe gana aata hai,” (Sir, I know singing), said a girl with a lot of enthusiasm at Qabristan School situated in Indira Verma Colony adjacent to the Shastri Nagar police station. Mr. Pawar could not refuse her request and she sang a song.

The Principal Secretary was informed that the school had educated nearly 50 child labourers during the past two years. Pratham Rajasthan is working for universalisation of quality elementary education in several towns of the desert State.

Mr. Pawar was accompanied by State Labour Commissioner Anjana Dixit, Joint Labour Commissioner C.B.S. Rathore, Deputy Labour Commissioner Anupam Gaur, Assistant Labour Commissioner-cum-Project Director, NCLP, Jeevraj Singh, and NCLP-Jaipur Field Officer Kailash Sharma.

Moving to the next school, Mr. Pawar affirmed that the organisations managing other NCLP schools should take a cue from Pratham Rajasthan and improve their functioning. He enquired about the background of a little boy, Ashfaq, and asked him to tell multiple tables of 13 and 17.

Ms. Anjana Dixit suggested introduction of innovating teaching methods to enhance the interest of children in education. Pratham Rajasthan programme coordinator Vijay Pal Singh Shekhawat said the NCLP schools could be managed effectively with active involvement of the State Government.

After visiting the NCLP schools, the team went to the Government-run middle schools in Mudiya Ramsar and Dhankya villages to observe the impact of honorary volunteers’ efforts to improve the reading skills of children.Aadhar Campaign programme coordinator Rachit Haldiya pointed out that the campaign was running in almost every village of Jaipur district with the objective of enabling every child to read words. As part of this focused campaign, nearly 8,000 non-paid volunteers have been mobilised across the district. They test children and regularly conduct various joyful learning activities in one-hour reading sessions in schools.

Mr. Pawar tested the quality of mid-day meals in the school and observed all learning activities in the reading session. When he asked volunteers Minu Verma and Pinku Devi Buknar how they were devoted to the work without getting any remuneration, they said teaching gave them immense satisfaction.

The Principal Secretary said the teachers must ensure that every child in their class develops the ability to read, write and do basic arithmetic exercises.