Started in 2010, the intensive Kishori Siksha education programme (KSP) for unschooled adolescent girls, which is supported by GEN and the Pakhar Foundation, and implemented by our Indian partner NGO, End Poverty, has reached over 2100 girls who have completed the course or have recently registered. This accounts for around 18% of the 11595 out of school girls in the Alwar District – a significant achievement, but much more remains to be done!In early March last year parents who were consulted about the programme said: ‘Our daughters can now manage a household budget. They can keep milk records. They can make phone calls. They can find out useful information. They can help us with filling in forms.’ Good news indeed! Perhaps less politically correct, parents also said that after completing the course the girls are more eligible as marriage partners – an important gain from their perspective! As well as basic literacy and numeracy the programme provides participating girls with income generating skills, such as sewing and horticulture, and with advice on health care and sanitation. It also encourages a love of learning.
A new finding is that EP trained teachers, many of whom teach only one batch of girls for 12 months, are getting job offers because of their EP experience.
The district education authority in Alwar has indicated its satisfaction with the work EP is doing with a population group which has been reluctant to send its girls into mainstream primary education. The reasons for this reluctance? Teachers are usually males, classes are mixed gender, and distance to primary schools is too far for guaranteed safety. With some justification, there are also concerns about educational standards in the mainstream system.