Night schools and Residential Bridge School
A good education for young people is the first step to independence. This is especially true for the children of indigenous peoples and untouchables. For them, education means freedom from poverty and oppression, but also the opportunity to develop themselves. Barefoot College has set itself the task to enable these disadvantaged groups a school education and a self-determined live. Together with our Indian partner organization Barefoot College, we support the basic education of children and young people. This is done in Rajasthan through evening classes for working children (Night Schools) and a one-year preparatory course for state schools in a Residential Bridge School.
First generation learners
When selecting children we especially give preference to children from educationally disadvantaged families (first generation learners) and girls. Basically, every child in rural areas between six and fortheen years of age, irrespective of caste, religion, gender or economic status can go to school in the Barefoot College, be it in a night school or after completing the Solar Bridge School (Night School) , at the Residential Bridge School. We consider it important that children and young people learn not only to read, write and count, but also receive practical knowledge and skills that enable them to manage their everyday life. Literacy and basic education Our partner, the Barefoot College, differentiates between education in terms of reading and writing skills (literacy) and education (education) given to children by family, society, the environment and personal experiences. Rather than provide book knowledge that is taught much in the cities, the children of the Barefoot College learn through practical examples from their immediate environment. We are committed to the health education of the children. We therefore support the Barefoot College in its health education that is an important part of teaching. A team of Barefoot doctors examines the children regularly on their health status. Difficult cases are taken to the nearest hospital. The children gain access to clean drinking water. For this rain water harvesting tanks are built in the villages. The Barefoot College also promotes language development of children and young people, who mostly speak Marwari, a dialect of Hindi. It is a particular concern of us that children and young people learn for their future career the Indian linguae francae – Hindi and English. The teachers of the Barefoot College teach in these languages. The children also receive computer classes.
The idea of a children’s parliament is an important element in the curriculum of the night schools. Children attending night school learn about political systems and structures, because they actually go through the learning process. Every five years, the children of all night schools in the Ajmer district election their members of parliament for the Children’s Parliament. The Prime Minister leads with his Cabinet overseeing all 150 schools. Until now, all Prime Ministers were girls. MPs pay attention to the following: that the teachers come to school on time, all schools have sufficient teaching materials, enough drinking water for all is there and more children being admitted to the school. The elections for the ninth Children Parliament were held on January 26th in Tilonia.