There are an estimated 6 million Out of School Children in India (MHRD National Survey 2014), and many more drop out during the primary grades, because of the inability to follow the teaching in their age appropriate grades. The Government of India’s “Education for All Mission ” has despite its mandate been unable to cater to the needs of these children, partially because India is experiencing the largest rural to urban migration in history.
There is a need of effective tools for the children to close their learning gap combined with activities in a safe and inclusive environment that builds confidence, social skills and the capacity to learn in OOSC. The tools and the learning system has to address every child’s individual needs so the child can learn on his or her actual learning level.
The innovation has been implemented in the State of Haryana, where there is an estimated 43,879 Out of School Children (National Survey for estimates of Out of School Children/MHRD 2014), mainly because of migration. In 2015 the Additional Chief Secretary Department of School Education Haryana asked for innovations to effectively address this problem, and after reviews of several engaged Humana People to People India to scale its Kadam Step Up Programme in Haryana to demonstrate a response at scale to the problem of Out of School Children. The programme took of in 2016, and a year later the programme was reckognized by the Secretary of School Education Government of India, and HPPI was invited to present at reagional conferences with States all over the country.
The solution is Kadam, a programme with a work book based system developed from national education competencies that enables children to drive their own learning individually in a collective setting, where the teacher is a facilitator and “obstacle remover”.
The children learn on their actual level, and a simple assessment system is both a guide for the child and teacher and a measurement of progress towards a clear goal, which is the age appropriate learning level.
The simple programme and the very specific scalable system ensures success in different settings where the teachers often are education volunteers, not fully trained teachers.
This pedagogical model called Kadam, is operationalized within the State Universal Education Mission and aligned with the operational guidelines of this mission, thereby leveraging the potential resources from the State and Human Resource Development Ministry for enrolling and mainstreaming Out of School Children.
Children age 7 to 14 years
Both girls and boys
1. Child driven competency based pedagogy.
The Kadam Step-Up methodology developed by Humana People to People India provides workbooks for the children with exercises that logically build up competencies in a step-wise manner, combined with a programme with monthly headlines that takes the children through activities that enhances cognitive learning and personal development. 540 comptenecies have been identified across 5 grades and 4 subjects, and around 2,000 exercises developed and specifically attached to each competency.
2. The impossible overcome by a simple operational model.
One Kadam Teacher identifies OOSC in communities with a high number of OOSC, enrolls the children in the nearest primary school, and runs a Kadam Special Training Centre for 25-30 children. A baseline test defines the learning gap, the end line goal being the age appropriate competencies for each child of different age and learning experience. Organized in groups of three – the TRIO’s - The child is provided with exercise books aligned with their baseline, and starts the journey of acquiring one competency at a time across all 4 subjects, with the teacher as a guide and helper. 70% of the time is used on exercises and 30% on activities around the monthly theme. At the completion of every competency the child takes a test to ensure that she is ready to proceed to the next level. Tests are conducted individually at any time the child is ready to progress. A child typically needs 6 to 18 months to close her learning gap.
When the child reaches his/her age-appropriate level, she/he is mainstreamed into the regular classes at the school.
The parents/community are engaged in the programme to enable the learning environment and support the long term journey of education for their children. Consistent visible progress keeps parents engaged.
3. The Structure.
Ten Kadam Special Training Centres forms a Teacher Council of 10 Teachers. A Kadam Teacher Accelerator provides leadership, on the job training and mentoring, supervision and control for the Teacher Council of 10 Kadam Teachers. A District with 40-80 Kadam Centres is coordinated by a District Organiser who liaise with the District and Block Education Department Officials, provides training and quality assurance. On State level a State Project Management Unit leads the intervention and liaise with the Education Department.
4. Partnership with the State Education Department and costing.
The State provides the Teachers or funds them to run Kadam Special Training Centres. The State also adopts the Kadam system of 5 workbooks, two teacher manuals and the “My Progress” assessment system, and covers the cost of printing and distribution at scale. In addition to this the State pays for mid-day meals and school uniforms.
The State Government’s funding covers approximate 70-80% of the cost of the intervention. The rest is raised from private donors; $45/child.