Apna Skools, (part of a local NGO in Kanpur, Jagriti Bal Vikas Samiti), are a unique network of schools for the children of migrant laborers who are not able to get admission into formal schools because of their itinerant lifestyle. The Apna Skools take education to the children by conducting classes around the brick kilns and construction sites in the city of Kanpur. The organization aims to open as many Apna Skool centers as possible, with the double objective of providing basic education to the children and ensuring the integration of these children in mainstream schools.
25 Apna Skools are currently operational at construction sites and brick kilns in and around the city of Kanpur, U.P., India.
Due to the floating nature of their parents’ work, children of migrant workers do not have access to basic education. Migrant workers migrate to the cities for eight to nine months in a year, and return to their villages during the monsoons. Since they do not spend a substantial portion of the academic year in either location, the children do not seek admission in the regular schools.
Through their network of 25 Apna Skools at brick kilns and construction sites in Kanpur, the organization reaches out to over 600 children in Grades 1 to 5. In addition to teaching them, the project also evaluates the children on the basis of an end-of-year examination administered by NIOS ( National Institute for Open Schooling), thus ensuring that the children are evaluated on the same platform as children from formal schools.
Wherever possible, the organization tries to admit their students into mainstream schools. Even after that, the organization continues to monitor the progress (academic and otherwise) of their former students, arranges for transportation, and takes care of their fees and other related expenditure.
When the children go back to their villages, we make an effort to ensure the continuity in the children’s education by getting them admitted to local village schools. In a few cases, we also run temporary Apna Skool centers in the villages to ensure that the children do not forget what they have learned.
From one Apna skool centre with 40 children it has grown into a network of 25 Apna Skool centres with more than 600 students. Currently, 53 former students of Apna Skools are admitted in various mainstream schools in Kanpur and in their native villages.
Apart from education, Apna Skool activities include:
- Nutrition: Wholesome meals at every centre
- Health –Related Activities
- School uniforms for all and sweaters in winter every year
- Excursion trip every year
- Regular Teachers meeting every month and teachers training workshop twice a year
- Periodic interaction with the parents of Apna Skool students
- Vocational –Training
- The Apna Skool library has around 1000 books ( Story books , painting books ) which are circulated in every centre to encourage the joy of reading among the students
- Short films( entertaining and educative) are shown at all the centres periodically