The mantra of the Mobile Education Programme, run by our member in India, Butterflies, is: “If the children cannot come to the school, let us take the school to them”. Under the Mobile Education Programme, the Chalta Firta School (Mobile Learning Centre) has brought the school to the children’s doorstep. This has been particularly important for children on the move, who are often excluded from education by the state because they do not have the correct paperwork and certifications.
What is it?
The Butterflies mobile school gives children who would ordinarily not have access to education a chance to learn.
Its objective is to bring out-of-school children, migrant and non-migrant alike, into the education net. This has especially benefited children who have migrated – generally within India – who find it difficult to access formal education because they do not possess school certificates and other proofs of identification. This also applies to children living on the street.
The Butterflies’ Mobile Education Programme acts as a gateway for these children to formal education, should that be the path they choose to pursue. With the consent and participation of the parents, they work with the children so they are ready to enter into mainstream schooling, and facilitate their access with the right paperwork and support.
Why is it important?
The mobile school is a vital link for many children who, for whatever reason, have been unable to attend continuing formal education.
It provides a particularly important service for children whose families migrate within India on a seasonal basis for work. A childhood on the move in India means that children are at an increased risk of missing out on education. This can happen for a number of reasons, including losing a school place because of a lack of attendance during seasonal migration. For these children, who need to be able to stay with their families when they move, a flexible and supportive education system is essential. Butterflies staff facilitate the process of making affidavits so that the children may go to formal schools at their next destination.
How does it work?
Education at the mobile school is provided in multiple ways: through sports, arts and crafts activities, access to children’s libraries and theatre in education. Innovative multi-level, multi-grade teaching methodologies are used to fast track children to get admission in schools to grade appropriate levels. Children also have access to different types of technology-based tools, like LCD TVs and laptops.
Teachers, who are referred to as ‘child right advocates’, provide computer education to children and share educational software. For each student, personalised lesson plans are developed using innovative teaching and learning methods. To promote holistic development, children are provided with regular sessions of life-skills education. Child rights advocates provide additional technical support to children after school hours in completing their homework so that there is improvement in learning levels and they do not drop out of school.
Since its inception in 2008, over 5500 children have been enrolled into formal education as a result of outreach work from the mobile school.