ANDHRA PRADESH

Fighting deprivation with novel methods

VIJAYAWADA, MARCH 17. It is not just another Government programme and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) needs brainy people with lots of fresh, new ideas. The SSA resource persons come across different challenges when they go to people, who are very poor and who mostly take their children along with them to work.

The successful one is he who takes on the challenge and mobilises support for the cause of sending OSC (out of school children) back to studies.

Rising to this task are a number of teachers-turned-resource persons engaged at different levels - from district resource persons (DRPs) to mandal resource persons (MRPs) to SSA sectoral officers (SOs).

So different and yet very similar are the experiences of about 80 resource persons participating in the ongoing workshop-cum-orientation programme on "Community mobilisation through media" being organised at Social Service Centre, Gunadala, for three days from March 16.

They have come from nine coastal districts -- from Srikakulam to Nellore.

"Yes, it is a challenging job. Poverty is something which is hard to fight. We have to do a lot of hard work and convincing to win back school dropouts," says the District Resource Person of Kanchikacherla in Krishna district, G. Durga Rao.

Constant vigil

In the Kanchikacherla mandal, he has to be on a constant vigil to see that about 3,500 children at first and second class level attend school without fail. He visits 37 schools periodically and checks attendance registers.

According to C.S.N. Murthy, who is the mandal resource person for Vastavai, the multi-grade multi-level method called "Krishnaveni" is the best to be introduced this year.

"The poor children need not bring books, nor will they bother about teaching aids and mid-day meal. Children with different levels and grades of knowledge are grouped together and imparted an integrated technique," says Mr. Murthy.

The MGML method is in vogue now in 12 mandals in the Krishna district and is likely to be spread out to the remaining mandals from next year.

Good results

Several resource persons from East Godavari are excited that a new concept they have tried to convince fisherfolk is yielding good results.

The District ALS Coordinator (alternative school), M. Narayana Rao, is happy that a "seasonal hostel" established under SSA at Uppada in

U Kottapalli mandal has helped immensely in retaining about 150 children of fishermen in school. Mr. Rao says the seasonal hostel remains open from October to March giving the fishermen no reason to take their children with them while migrating to Puri, Bhubaneswar, and other areas in search of work.

Seasonal hostels

Mr. Rao says with pride that they are going to open eight to 10 new seasonal hostels in the coastal habitations in East Godavari next year.

The district has over 153 fishermen's habitations with over 8,000 out-of-schoolchildren. The Liaison Officer, K. Appa Rao, says that over 600 child labourers have been identified and action has been initiated against the owners of respective hotels, mechanic sheds and other businesses.

"This will help greatly in discouraging child labour practice," he says.

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