Udaan model of teaching for adolescent girls

July 12, 2010 07:19 pm | Updated 07:19 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Giving wings to the imagination of adolescent girls, letting them take flight from the darkness of illiteracy to the clear, bright skies where they successfully clear Class V exams within a short span of 11 months, is no mean feat.

Udaan, a learning programme designed for girls in the age group of 10 to 14 years by CARE India, an NGO working in the field of elementary education, does just that.

With a focus on adolescent girls who have either dropped out of school or never been to one, this model of teaching has enabled close to 1,000 girls complete their primary school education in the past decade.

The girls get to complete their primary education within 11 months at a residential camp managed by CARE India in association with local NGOs at Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh, and more recently at Mayurbhanj district in Orissa.

Though many of their students have gone on to study further and even complete their bachelor degree, Udaan does not look at employment as the end goal of education. The programme seeks to empower girls to become better citizens and live a more independent and informed life.

“The adolescent girl is a very important investment”, said CARE India ChairmanNachiket Mor talking about the need to educate adolescent girls. “A girl educated today will be able to widen the circle of education and also ensure better upbringing of her future generations.”

Having established that it is possible to educate adolescent girls with little or no educational grounding within a short span of 11 months, Mr. Mor expressed hope that the Government would support them in taking the programme further to other parts of India. With the Right to Education Act coming into the picture, he said Udaan is a feasible model for adoption.

“We have had almost 100 girls every year from just two districts in U.P. for the past 10 years. Think how many there will be across the country. The Government probably thinks that formal school is the thing to do or that the numbers are smaller”, said Mr. Mor, talking about the reluctance to take up Udaan as a mainstream model of education.

The idea that adolescents can be made to study from scratch along with children who are much younger in the same class, as happens in the formal school system, does not work at the ground level, and inevitably leads to drop outs, said Manager Communications CARE India, Amelia Andrews Daniels.

The residential camps have led to a positive change in the community's perception of the programme.

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