Back 2 School
www.baack2school.in (Krishnagiri district) 2006-2008
It was a huge team effort in bringing back and retaining about 10,000 OOSC (out of school children). But the process was simple. I created a force of volunteers called VVF (Village Volunteer Force) at the rate of one VVF per Village Panchayat with about 20 youths above the age of 18 constituting the VVF (boys and girls who otherwise populate the different manrams and the like). We trained them on three aspects: 1.Child labour and OOSC 2. Sanitation 3. First aid. UNICEF helped hugely with the training.
If we divide 10,000 OOSC by 337 panchayats, then the problem of OOSC become simple; on an average about 30 OOSC per panchayat, who can be easily identified, cajoled to come back to school etc. by the VVF. The incentive offered was anything under the sun that a Collector can give (under the rules of course!) A house, a loan, employment, crop loan, auto loan, pensions for widows, physically challenged, Government job as noon meal worker or cook etc.... Anything… the only condition being that the child should return and continue to be monitored on a monthly basis by the VVF who would feed the data online into an OOSC children tracking software built inside d website www.baack2school.in
The software allows the Collector or SSA to monitor each and every child whose photo and details are initially captured by the VVF.
In addition we created the Panchayat Level convergence Committee (PLCC) of all Government functionaries at the village level who otherwise never meet! For e.g. if the Village Health Nurse (VHN) were to meet the VAO periodically, then the question of missing birth certificates wouldn’t ever arise. The PLCC used to be conducted simultaneously in all 337 Village Panchayats on the first Friday of every month for one hour. I would depute 337 observers for overseeing the meeting every month. Minutes (337 pages) would reach me the same day. The PLCC I understand continues to this day…
We could make it a people’s movement... Even 8 years after coming out of Krishnagiri, I still get on an average 3 to 6 calls from Krishnagiri everyday.... And also visitors... such were the impact. I miss that action and interaction...
There were numerous other initiatives around this which the website www.baack2school.in chronicles.
Actually if this methodology can be adopted and every collector monitored and rated on that basis, OOSC will become a thing of the past! Whenever I showed these live monitoring, everybody said it's great! But nobody took it up for state level implementation!!!