In India, a support programme for older children to obtain secondary level qualifications is helping Dalit communities to break out of the cycle of poverty and exclusion. Read about Vikki and his mother, Gita, who are both benefiting from the programme.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), is a support programme for older children who finish at our learning centres in Patna, India but can’t access state secondary schools. Teachers support them to take formal Grade 8, 10 and 12 exams, for up to 5 years, giving them the credentials needed to apply to college or university.
Vikki is 14 years old and, before attending the learning centre we support at Ramji Chak Bata, had never had any kind of formal education, due to his caste, and problems with his sight.
Caste discrimination in India is trapping Dalit communities in a cycle of poverty and exclusion. As a result, Dalit children like Vikki are denied their rights and struggle to access education.
Vikki tried to enrol in government school but teachers put him in classes with much younger children and made no effort to accommodate his disability. They constantly humiliated him, until he was pushed out.
Once he found out about our learning centre, which offers supplementary education for Dalit children who are forced out of government schools, he started attending as soon as he could.
His teacher supported him with extra care and encouragement and Vikki soon learned to read. He caught up so quickly that he became eligible to join the NIOS programme to take his secondary school exams.
Vikki’s mother Gita had a dream of going to school when she was a child, and becoming a teacher. She never had the opportunity and was delighted to see her son start to excel in his education.
Vikki’s teacher told her that the opportunity was open to anyone, of any age, so Gita signed up too!
She is now working hard at her lessons, whilst helping Vikki with his progress too, and looking forward to a better future for them both.
OUR WORK IN INDIA
Children on the Edge is supporting NESWSD, a brilliant local organisation based in Patna, Bihar state, to facilitate 35 Learning Centres. These offer supplementary education to over 1,093 Dalit children who face crippling discrimination in mainstream government schools.
The Learning Centres provide a safe, colourful space for them to learn, play and develop their confidence, with the aim of supporting them to to understand their worth, to re-enter mainstream education, and to realise their full potential. The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) programme is currently supporting 32 learners, including Vikki and Gita. 36 children from our NIOS programme have recently moved on having taken their exams.
Read about past NIOS students here >>