How it all Began

You may know that most of the migrant children get enrolled into schools (thanks to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Right to Education Act) but what you might not know is that they are not regular to classes and some even drop out from the schools in the middle of the academic year.

The Reason for Roshni

Most of the migrant children get enrolled into schools (thanks to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and Right to Education Act) but they are not regular to classes and some even drop out from the schools in the middle of the academic year. The migrant students are generally weak in Malayalam and those students who got admission to classes above the first standard according to their age and former education received in their native places find it extremely difficult to cope with the new linguistic environment and that discourages them from attending the classes.

Analyzing the problem

The problems of migrant students were noticed by the District Administration, Ernakulam and the Hon. District Collector organized a meeting to address the issue of migrant children’s educational needs and to advance their academic performance. The participants included representatives from district administration, Education Department, SSA, NGOs, and teachers.  The SSA Ernakulam presented the profile of the migrant children in the district. According to statistics, the district has 2541 migrant children predominantly from Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam and Nepal.

Floating nature of the migrant families in accordance with the bread-winner’s locale of work, children being taken to workplaces to help their parents, children being given the charge of looking after their younger ones and the lack of awareness about education issues to be addressed. The participant teachers shared more of a practical issue to be tackled in the schools itself- the low proficiency levels of the learners in the medium of instruction.

The genesis of Roshni

The meeting was equivocal about strengthening the language skills of the children so that they will feel at home among multilingual learners and Malayalam speaking facilitator. What emerged out of the discussion was the idea of a pilot project to be implemented in four selected schools to resolve the problem of linguistic issues. The group put their brains together and shared many tried out models from their own experiential circles and finally decided to go ahead with a strategy called code-switching attempted by the research team of GHS Binanipuram. The meeting also came to consensus on trying code-switching in schools under the project name ROSHNI.

Trial run

Under the patronage of District Administration and the supervision of Miss. Eesha Priya IAS, Assistant Collector, Ernakulam, Shri. C. K. Prakash, Rtd Deputy Collector (General) and Smt. Jayasree Kulakkunnath, teacher, GHS Binanipuram were posted as the General Coordinator and the Academic Coordinator respectively. Using the data provided by Mr Sajoy George, District Project Officer, SSA on migrant children, and details of special education centres where SSA has appointed an Educational Volunteer, the DDE was entrusted with the duty of identifying the schools. The session also witnessed SSA Ernakulam promising to channelize their funds to give all the training to volunteers and teachers and also to review the progress of the intervention on a monthly basis. The meeting dispersed with the coordinators being given the charge of drafting a proposal and making an action plan for the project. 

Entry of BPCL

Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Kochi’s entry into the project was a turning point. It gave ROSHNI an added radiance and helped its speedy actualization. When the ROSHNI to approached BPCL with the intervention’s proposal they offered their support in terms of financial aid without which the project would have struggled to meet its monetary requirements. Mr Prasad K. Panicker, Executive Director, BPCL was very enthusiastic to co-operate with the project and to track its progress. Mr George Thomas, General Manager and Mr Vieeth M Varghese, Senior Manager of Public Relations and Administration, PCL are also to be remembered with gratitude. 

Future Plans

Under the patronage of District Administration and the supervision of Miss. Eesha Priya IAS, Assistant Collector, Ernakulam, Shri. C. K. Prakash, Rtd Deputy Collector (General) and Smt. Jayasree Kulakkunnath, teacher, GHS Binanipuram were posted as the General Coordinator and the Academic Coordinator respectively. Using the data provided by Mr Sajoy George, District Project Officer, SSA on migrant children, and details of special education centres where SSA has appointed an Educational Volunteer, the DDE was entrusted with the duty of identifying the schools. The session also witnessed SSA Ernakulam promising to channelize their funds to give all the training to volunteers and teachers and also to review the progress of the intervention on a monthly basis. The meeting dispersed with the coordinators being given the charge of drafting a proposal and making an action plan for the project.