To give early education to the slum children, Navsarjan opened Balwadis. Balwadi literally means “garden of children” – kindergarten. The parents of these children are mostly illiterate. In the morning either one or both go to work leaving the children to fend for themselves. Our teachers gather these young ones into a community hall for play and learning from 11 am to 2 pm daily.
Navsarjan conducts 15 such classes in 15 slums covering approximately 375 children. On completion of two years’ training, the children are enrolled in the nearby Municipal schools. Thanks to their pre-school education, these slum children have a head-start in the Municipal Schools where otherwise they do not get much attention.
One challenge yet remaining for Navsarjan is teaching a group of students with different mother-tongues.
Once enrolled in schools, the students are accompanied in their studies with tutorial assistance for two hours daily.
In the slums all huts / houses are of single rooms. They lack space and an atmosphere conducive for study. So the children are gathered in the community hall under the supervision of the teacher where they are assisted in their homework and revision of lessons.
Role of Navsarjan
Navsarjan has the responsibility of providing for the academic needs of its educational programmes: selection and training of teachers, supervision and evaluation of classroom teaching. It organizes in-service training twice a year for ten days prior to the commencement of the academic year and ten days during the mid-term holidays, for the updating of teaching skills.
Besides monthly tests mid term (Bi-annual) tests are held to check the academic performance of the students. Passing marks are kept high at 50 percent. The results are published and teachers graded and honoured on the basis of the averages of successful students in their classes. This practice has rewarded the hard-working teachers and challenged the others to do better. Sustainability
The ownership of the programme belongs to the local Women’s Associations called as Mahila Mandals. Over the years the Mahila Mandals have been helped to acquire income-generating assets. Besides each child pays Rs 60 as monthly fees towards tuition. This helps the local Mahila Mandal to take care of teacher’s salary. Therefore today the local Mahila Mandals are financially self-reliant and they not only pay the salary of the teachers but also meet their administrative & other expenses too.