Initiative to take education to the doorstep of street children
NEW DELHI: Two “chalta phirta schools” or mobile learning centres equipped with computers, televisions, learning kits and books were launched by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit at her residence on Sunday as part of the Delhi Government’s initiative to take education and learning to the doorstep of the street, working and other disadvantaged children.
Launching the two mobile schools under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the presence of Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely and High Commissioner of Australia, Ms. Dikshit said the idea behind these schools was to provide educational facilities to the children who do not go to schools since they live in difficult circumstances such as red-light areas, construction sites, railway stations, traffic signals and the like. She said while DSIIDC has gifted the two vehicles for mobile learning centres, UNICEF has contributed towards the refurbishment work and procurement of resource material.
Stating that these mobile schools were fully equipped with a variety of teaching and learning material including computers, televisions, books and animated lessons in VCDs, soft toys, games and learning kits, the Chief Minister said the Delhi Government was now considering to utilising the old Delhi Transport Corporation buses as “chalta phirta schools”.
Further, Ms. Dikshit said these schools would be run on a public-private partnership basis. And a memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Department of Education and two non-government organisations, Butterflies and Salaam Baalak Trust, for the operation of these schools.
The Chief Minister said these schools would be parked at four definite locations in a single day and educational activities will be organised for two hours at each location. Both the NGOs have submitted their own routes. The routes submitted by ‘Butterflies’ will be covering the focused areas in Ashram, Bhogal, Nizamuddin, Lodi Road Sai Baba Mandir, Moti Bagh, Okhla Mandi, IIT Gate, Nehru Place, Darya Ganj, Jama Masjid, Kashmere Gate and Yamuna Bazar. The ’Salaam Baalak Trust’ will be covering Kali Bari Area – Cannaught Place , Guru Nanak Eye Hospital (backside habitation), Kashmere Gate, Mori Gate Khyber Pass and G.B. Road .
Once in a week, the mobile schools will also be used for awareness programs on health and hygiene, HIV/AIDS, drugs and dowry for educating the children and the community. Nutritional support will also be provided to children attending these schools under the mid-day meal scheme.
Mr. Lovely said the scheme had been launched to address the educational needs of the children who are still out of school. As such it would primarily target construction labour, children of red-light areas, rag pickers and slum children. The Minister said while the dropout rate of school children in Delhi has reduced to 5.7 per cent from the 17.5 per cent earlier, the project will help in reducing it further.