Teaching Rural Development to Rural Children
Two Ashoka Fellows from OASiS (a Social Innovations Laboratory) and SRREOSHI (a rights based organization), are together piloting the rural education model.
About Your Organization
Organisation for Awareness of Integrated Social Security (OASiS)
India, MP, Bhopal
Country where this project is creating social impact
India, WB, Bankura District
Is your organization a
Non‐profit / NGO / Citizen sector organization
Your role in Education
Resource Officer, Social Worker.
The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)
How long has your solution been in operation?
Operating for less than a year
The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
The paradox in our education system is that: On one hand, it grooms rural children for urban professions, through contemporary schools; on the other hand, it grooms urban children for rural development, through B-schools. The result: Neither happens. While urban development flourishes, rural development remains ignored, leading to migration. Policy makers and professionals have little or textual experience of rural areas and drain development fund as consultancy fees. Rural development suffers because of lack of development professionals in rural areas. The question is: If rural children have huge potential for urban professions, why can’t they be groomed for rural development?
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
Our solution is to ‘Create a human resource backbone of rural development professionals in rural areas’. By creating a Modern Gurukul (Traditional Indian School with modern technology), we intend to give the rural children hands-on experience and learning, to develop their own environment. Identifying 20 areas of rural development, an Advisory Body of Professors from leading Rural Development B-Schools of the country, is designing the curriculum and teaching methodology for every area. In a full-time course of 2 years (with internship), each student will specialize in 2 areas of rural development, and will have following options after passing out: a) Provide their expertise in consultancy mode to Panchayats and Village committees; b) Get employed by State welfare programmes and NGOs doing rural development.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
The high school dropout rate in rural areas is also attributed to lack of dignity of labour. A 12th pass youth on one hand, considers farming a mean profession, on the other hand is unfit for any job in urban areas. There are no jobs in rural areas either. Parents therefore pull out their children after 10th and teach them farming. Such high potential children, when put through a 2-year course on rural development, with exposure in all areas, and specialization in 2 areas, with internship in a local NGO, will have complete knowledge, skills and experience on rural development. A student specializing in Watershed management and low water irrigation technologies in semi-arid zones, will be happily employed by local NGOs and State welfare programmes, as the student will possess both domain and location specific knowledge (a combination hard to find presently). Not requiring to hire professionals from outside, the NGO will be able to do effective implementation at a much lower cost, and also handle local problems with ease. Being from the same location, his sense of ownership will stop pilferages and ensure quality. Such professionals will change the face and pace of rural development in the country.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
Others in this domain mainly focus on livelihood skills for rural youth, or train and employ them for the development work they do. But there is no organization that creates human resources in rural areas, at the school level, for the development sector. This is the first time, that professors from major rural development B-schools in the country, have come together for this objective. So while we do not expect any competition, others willing to replicate this approach in other locations, will help in creating more rural development professionals in rural areas, thus adding to the model’s success and growth.
Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Two Ashoka Fellows from OASiS (a Social Innovations Laboratory) and SRREOSHI (a rights based organization), are together piloting this.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]
Teaching rural development to rural school children, and making them employable by social sector, for developing their own area.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Since we are at a pilot stage, the impact is yet to be seen. But as of now the project has created great enthusiasm among the villagers, especially the tribals in the district, and also the NGOs and the State Administration. The first batch of students will intern with NGOs in late 2013, and that is when the social sector will see their quality and ability and determine their market value. We intend to make this the most sought after course and profession for rural students. Our minimum qualification of Std 10 is already motivating many children to continue studies till 10th, so that they can join our course. This itself is an achievement, that children are looking forward to continuing education.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
In the next 1-3 years, we intend to enrol 50-70 children from Bankura District in West Bengal for the pilot. Some NGOs are interested in piloting the approach with us in Gujarat and Tamilnadu. We are in talks with them and hope to start soon. This will give us a wider base of population to test the approach and its efficacy. With three different geographical locations (East, West and South), cultures and development challenges, the learning from these pilots will help us develop the model better. The quality will however be controlled by the Advisory Body of Academicians and Practitioners.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
The biggest perceived barrier is political interference. Any success with local population usually attracts politicians. While the elected ones try to take credit, their opponents try to pull the effort down. We expect that since the project will benefit local children and make them employable, they will themselves resist all such interference. Initial funding handicaps will also be a barrier, as it will delay the project. Our first batch’s employability will determine, whether subsequent batches will get educational loans or not.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Expose children to Watershed management, soil preparation, seed selection, organic manure preparation and organic farming.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Construct water harvesting site in the campus with the children.
Prepare the soil for organic farming, and select vegetables for plantation with seed selection.
Prepare organic manure and start organic farming.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Expose children to Watershed management, Preventive Health, Organic farming, Nutrition, Sanitation and Animal Husbandry.
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Source funding and inputs for the various activities, like animals, sanitation work, Bio-gas, vermicompost, preventive health.
Get resource persons and existing practitioners to train the teachers on the activities, and monitor their quality of teaching.
Liaise with local administration and Panchayats to identify their need of human resources for immediate activities.
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
There were 2 ‘Aha!’ moments actually:
1) We had called the local educated youth, for sharing our thoughts on the project, and also to identify potential teachers in them. When we shared the concept with them, they just exclaimed and said: “Had this come before, a lot of our educated friends who migrated to cities and doing odd jobs there, would have stayed back and done this work instead”.
2) When I started sharing the concept with the professors of rural development B-schools and requested them to be a part of it, none of them said ‘No’. Knowing that they will not get any honorarium, they were so excited that they asked for permission letters for their Directors.
I knew, I was not alone.
Tell us about your partnerships
We 2 Ashoka Fellows have partnered along with an existing Ashram in a Tribal District of West Bengal. An Advisory Body of Professors from IRMA, TISS, IIFM, XIMB, XISS and XLRI has been formed to design the curriculum, approach and methodology. We are also partnering with PRADAN and other NGOs operating in that area, for on-field training, internship and later employment of students. We are also partnering with local administration for training on welfare schemes.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]
We have recruited 6 educated local youth as Teachers. These teachers have been trained by Professors from TISS, on the methodology. The teachers are themselves constructing the bamboo and mud cottages to get the experience of what they would be teaching and how. An Ashoka Fellow will do the coordination part as a Coordinator, while the Ashram in-charge will be the Administrator. Teachers will also double up as Hostel Wardens.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list