Bodh Shiksha Samiti has evolved from experiences of collective action that helped establish a community school or bodhshala in Jaipur (Rajasthan, India). The school was initiated in 1987, and has motivated India’s ultra-poor communities to transform their villages and slums into centers of education excellence. It has pioneered the ‘common schools movement in India’, where schools (called Bodhshalas) are built, co-owned and co-managed by, mostly Below Poverty Line (BPL) communities in areas untouched by the government education system. Its key strength lies in its emphasis on learning from varied community settings and classrooms and holding students, parents and teachers in a tight loop of accountability and partnership
IDRF partner since: 2015
Focus Area: Education
Project Title: Education of Girls
The beginnings of the common school movement were simple. The first Bodhshala began with classes under trees, or in dispersed rooms donated by families. Learning was spontaneous with curious children, men and women as participants. A year later, the community identified land and pooled resources to build its Bodhshala with its own hands. Today, Bodh directly manages 43 Bodhshalas in rural and urban Rajasthan and the average student strength of a Bodhshala is 150. In addition, Bodh runs residential urban and rural senior secondary schools for girls called Manas Ganga. The residential schools attract students from Bodhshalas that have not grown beyond the upper-primary level. The annual cost per child for students in rural Bodhshalas is INR 6000/annum- and INR 8000/annum- in urban areas (for primary grades). For residential senior secondary grades, the cost is around INR 70,000/annum, with INR 5,000 per month for the lodging and boarding, and, INR 20,000/annum for the schooling.
In 2015 IDRF partnered with Bodh Shiksha Samiti to provide free child-centered learning to children living in the slums of Jaipur. Bodh’s first residential senior secondary school ‘Manas Ganga’ is a girl’s only school from sixth grade onwards and provides hostel facilities for the economically and socially marginalized. The school makes a significant attempt at providing a holistic educational framework to balance academics, arts, sports and vocational education components in order to enhance the skills of the girls. From the current batch, 13 girls staying in the hostel are supported by IDRF.
Cumulatively, Bodh works with 10,000 students and 25,000 community stakeholders annually, through its network of common schools. For past several years, Bodhshalas have sustained on community will and participation. 50% of the cost of operations of rural Bodhshalas is covered by the community. This, is in addition to the land, labor and infrastructure costs that the villages bear. In the residential girls’ school run by Bodh, parents meet nearly 30% of the school expenses.
A couple of decades ago, in the blocks of Alwar, where rural Bodhshalas operate, less than 5% girls were enrolled in schools. Today, with the support of IDRF and other organizations, all girls are enrolled in schools with a drop-out rate of less than 15% at the senior secondary level.
Bodh’s educational philosophy and practices have been scaled across all 60,000 government schools in Rajasthan, through a reform initiative of the state. Bodh Shiksha Samiti has had a long partnership of 23 plus years with the Government of Rajasthan, and, for the last eight years has been providing technical support to the government to reform the public schools, in order to provide quality education to the students.
Please click on the link to know more about Bhodh Shiksha Samiti’s education programs for the deprived urban and rural communities.