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Past Initiatives
 
Bodh Pariyojna
Bodh, as an organisation, had grown out of its initial work in Gokulpuri, an urban slums in Jaipur (Rajasthan, India). The first community school or bodhshala had been established in Gokulpuri 1987. Subsequently in 1989, Bodh received support under the Government of India’s Ministry of Human Resource & Development scheme Assistance to Innovation and Experimentation in Primary Education. Called Bodh Pariyojana internally, it paved the way for opening five more bodhshalas in deprived urban slums in Jaipur.

Each of the five bodhshalas was located in slums that were distinct from each other – in terms of the community compositions and other socio-cultural aspects. These bodhshalas provided the opportunity to understand and innovate in terms of community mobilisation, contextual teaching learning processes and teacher development.
 
Innovation in Pre – School Education
In 1993, the Pre-school Education component was initiated at Bodh. Bernard van Leer Foundation, Canadian International Development Agency and Aga Khan Foundation supported the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. The emphasis was on evolving an appropriate community based ECCE model. Pre-school centres, catering to the children aged 3-5 years, were initiated in the community members’ houses. A group of female teachers initiated these centres.

After one-year pilot in three bodhshalas, the programme was expanded to the other three as well. In 1995, the first batch of community women underwent a month long training programme to equip them in their role of Mother Teachers. These women, along with Pre-school teacher, collectively handled the pre school groups at the bodhshalas. ECCE soon became an integral component of Bodh’s Education Model. The framework and model was replicated in the Rural Programme and also in the intervention government schools.
 

Mainstream Intervention Programme

Mainstream Intervention Programme (MIP) was a joint initiative of Department of Education, Government of Rajasthan and Bodh. It was the state government’s first public-private partnership programme aimed at facilitating mainstreaming of innovative child centered, pedagogic practices and processes in government schools. It provided Bodh its first opportunity of working directly with government schools. The programme duration (1993-99) included a one-year pilot phase with fewer schools. Aga Khan Foundation supported the programme.

The programme focused on utilising and assessing effectiveness of the Bodh pedagogy in ten government schools in Jaipur city (Rajasthan, India). Conventional teaching and assessment practices and textbooks were withdrawn in these schools. Bodh’s resource teachers were placed in these schools and they utilised the Bodh teaching methodology, assessment and curricular materials. They worked with government teachers and children directly. Government teachers were provided the necessary support through various trainings and regular workshops.

The baseline-endline comparison highlighted encouraging results such as increase in the children’s academic levels and retention rates. These were conducted by a group of experts including faculty from the Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). Also, there was greater involvement of parents in these government schools as they started participating more actively in meetings and other school related events. Above all, there was increased acceptance of the Bodh pedagogy. This paved the way for subsequent joint initiatives with the relevant agencies/departments in the Government of Rajasthan and also with other external agencies.
 
Janshala
The Janshala Programme was a joint Government of India and United Nations initiative focusing on establishing community based primary education mainly in rural areas. It was operational in eight states across the country. Significantly, Rajasthan was the only state where the programme focused on education for the urban deprived. A separate Urban City Plan was developed, with support from Bodh, and implemented in the four cities (Jaipur, Bharatpur, Ajmer and Jodhpur) in the state.

A cascade programme implementation model was adopted in Rajasthan. Bodh extended Technical and Academic Support to the state government. It built capacities of government functionaries (including zonal officers, headmasters and teachers) at various levels for the identified government schools. Bodh also supported eight NGOs. These NGOs helped establish 193 community schools in the educationally deprived localities in the four cities. These community schools were subsequently recognised as government schools.

The Janshala Programme highlighted the specific needs and concerns of the urban deprived localities to a larger audience. It also led to other initiatives with specific focus on the urban deprived that could accelerate meeting the mandate of Universalisation of Elementary Education. Janbodh Education Programme was evolved based on the learning.
 
PESLE
The European Commission and Aga Khan Foundation supported Programme for Enrichment of School Level Education (PESLE) was implemented during 1999-2007. The emphasis was on building capacities of a host of partner NGOs (Aga Khan Education Services India, Society for All Round Development, Doctor Reddy Foundation and Bodh) on school reform strategies and ensuring deprived communities’ access to quality education. Bodh focused on refining and scaling up of its innovative pedagogic strategies as well as documenting and disseminating the same.

The work done at more than 30 community schools (urban and rural) across Jaipur City and Alwar was consolidated. There was significant increase in enrollment rates across the bodhshalas. The work with adolescent girls was initiated through various interventions. Besides programme expansion, the policy advocacy and networking initiatives yielded important results. Several Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) were signed with state government as well as local self-government bodies (Panchayati Raj Institutions). Also, the pedagogic strategies and approaches were utilised for wider replication through other significant programmes such as Janshala. A teacher enrichment programme (Teacher Fellowship Programme) that provided academic and field inputs was also initiated. Resource support was provided to 80 NGOs (including PESLE partners). A Central Research and Resource Centre including two resource campus (urban at Jaipur and rural in Alwar) was established.
 
Shikshanchal Programme
Bodh initiated its rural educational interventions with the Shikshanchal programme in 1999. Thanagazi block in Alwar (Rajasthan, India) was selected as the area of intervention. Alwar had one of the lowest literacy rates in the state and Thanagazi was one of the most educationally deprived blocks in the district. The programme’s key objective was making education accessible to all children, with special emphasis on girls. Shikshanchal (1999-2004) was supported by Care (India), European Commission and Aga Khan Foundation.

With the active support of the local communities and PRIs, twenty-seven bodhshalas or community schools were established in harsh and remote regions of the block. In all, 1372 children were catered through these schools at primary level. Gradually, education and care centres for pre-school children and out of school adolescent girls (12-18 years) were also initiated at the bodhshalas. The community schools have been able to create a strong political demand for quality education for their children. In 2004, intervention in government schools was initiated based on the request of the PRIs in the block.

Significantly, Shikshanchal Programme laid the foundation for the subsequent Jan Pahal programme in Thanagazi block and Shikshak Pahal Programme in the neighbouring Umrein block in Alwar District, Rajasthan.
 
Teacher Fellowship Programme

Bodh initiated a Teacher Fellowship Programme in 2005 with support from European Commission under the Programme for Enrichment of School Level Education. It aimed at developing a vibrant and reflective group of teachers and academic supporters in the early and elementary education levels. The 18 month programme had three broad components –

  1. understanding the philosophical and theoretical aspects of education
  2. exploring inter relation between theory and practice through placements and action research and
  3. internship
The faculty included eminent educationists and academics and experienced senior programme personnel. Two batches were conducted. Participants included teachers (associated with NGOs/government), education related functionaries, graduates (B El ED, M Ed, M Sc in Child Development) and others. The programme is currently being reviewed and refined by a group of academic experts, Bodh and likeminded partners.
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