India CSR Network
Tata Steel’s Ore Mines and Quarries Division have taken many educational initiatives as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility at Joda. Under the flagship 1000 Schools Project, the company has opened a Residential Bridge Course (RBC) Centre at Joda.
The objective behind opening the RBC is to cater to the children who have dropped out of schools or never been to schools for varied reasons.
RBC fills their education deficit and equips them with knowledge and skill to re-enter government schools.
Joda, a block situated in the Keonjhar District of Odisha is mostly dominated by tribal population and the awareness level on education is very low here. Most surprisingly many of the children are first and second generation learners.
So the drop-out and never enrolled cases are quite high in this area. To fill this gap and facilitate access to all children for education, the RBC acts as a platform for providing quality education to the deprived.
Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), the CSR wing of Tata Steel opened a RBC Centre at Joda on April 2016 with a clear objective to mainstream all out of school children of this area in a phased manner. In the first batch, 73 girl children were enrolled, out of which 61 successfully graduated from the centre in June 2017 and have already been mainstreamed in various residential schools of Joda and Barbil.
Rest will be graduating in the next batch. The second batch for which the enrolment started in July 2017 registered 60 new students. The second batch students will be graduating next year and will be enrolled in various residential government affiliated institutions. The purpose of admitting the children in residential government schools is that it gives them the comfort to further continue their education.
The teaching method used in this centre is learning with fun, which creates interest among the children. For this, four lady teachers have been appointed, who are trained on how to create interest among these children and also incline them towards study. Children of this centre is also into extra-curricular activities like boxing, yoga, basketball, dance and other fun and team building games.
The children are taught all subjects starting from English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science, which is a basic need to compete with other mainstream students after being graduated from the RBC. The students in RBC are also taught on climate change and other environmental aspects for their overall knowledge growth.
This subject is a part of the flagship Green School Project run by Tata Steel in association with TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute). For RBC centres, the focus is on striving to mainstream them in project activities by promoting communication through art and craft, theatre, folklores, etc. The children are learning fast on how to convert waste into wealth and thus recycle waste materials into household craft items.
To implement the 1000 Schools Project, Tata Steel has engaged ASPIRE, a Delhi based NGO. In order to run RBC, the team from TSRDS and ASPIRE is putting huge efforts in terms of identification, community consultation and generating trust among the villagers for education for their children.
The story of Sabita Gope, a 11 year old girl from Jalahari Panchayat of Joda block is one among many girls who has been benefitted from the RBC Joda. She was mainstreamed after one year of rigorous residential bridge course and enrolled at Tata Steel Hindi High School, Joda West.
All the girls who were either mainstreamed or are continuing their bridge course have similar stories. They are expressing their keen interest to carry the spirit of a student life after graduating from RBC. They also showed their unwillingness to go back to their villages and spend a miserable life with full of uncertainty.