Supplementary Education Centres (SEC):
AKS has been involved in education initiatives since 1995 to try meet the educational needs of the communities of Lamptaput block.
It has been found that tribal children have a high drop-out/non-attendance record in schools. The reasons were multiple including non-functioning village schools, uninterested teaches, unfamiliarity with the state language, children needed to work in the fields/homes and parents not being convinced of the importance of education.
In response to these needs, AKS set up three centres between the years 1995 to 1999 to supplement children's education in the morning and evening of every school day with tuitions. This ensures that language difficulties and lackadaisical teaching does not hinder the children's education. One meal a day was offered to supplement nutrition as well. In order to keep the parents involved and interested in their children's education, village education committees (VECs) were setup in each village. These parent committees take on the responsibility of building and maintaining school buildings, buying and cooking the food and ensuring the attendance of students and teachers.
Bal panchayats are formed by the children in every SEC. This mini-government system has empowered the children to raise and discuss issues at the village level including issues in the government schools. They also take on the responsibility of ensuring the students participate in keeping their centre clean, gardening, issuing firewood and groceries to the cook. They meet twice a month to discuss and sort out issues regarding their responsibilities.
As the children began to thrive and enter the higher standards, it was felt that they would benefit from extra coaching in the higher classes. So was begun the Kadamguda Residential Coaching Centre (KRCC) where children in classes 8,9 and 10 from the three areas covered by the SECs live in the centre, attend a local Government High School and attend morning and evening intensive tuitions. Unfortunately, till date we are only able to get male teachers for the centre and so this facility is only open to male students.
After the 10th standard, children who are interested in higher education are encouraged to apply. Asha Kiran attempts to help these children by raising financial and logistical support from outside sources. They are also encouraged to come back to Asha Kiran once a month to report on progress as well as to discuss the possible difficulties they might be facing as they are exposed to the outside world.
Two of the three centres are at the present being run by former SEC students who hae graduated. Our hope is that more students will come back to their villages, not just with the education they receive but (we hope) with a broader world view and higher moral values. Our vision is that these students will come back and take on positions of leadership at the village and government levels. This participation in their own governance will ensure increased community participation among the tribals in working out their own futures.