Group 286
Group 440 1

We believe EDUCATION is the key to unlocking socio-economic development for society. Wherein child education and development needs to be tackled with a holistic and multi-pronged approach to bring out the desired constructive change in our society. With the same thought SEDT with the support of YOJANA Project Help, Netherlands since last 10 years has been implementing the project- ‘EDUCATION KEY’ in 92 villages of Palam block of Parbhani district of Marathwada region in Maharashtra state.

Need of the Project
Poverty and scarcity of resources has saturated the lives of people with misery and depravities. In an effort to meet daily needs, education – which is instrumental in the process of socio-economic development, remains neglected in the rural region. Due to the broken educational institutions and infrastructure, lack of community participation in child education and development, high rate of literacy, socio-dynamics and gender inequality resulted in the increase of school drop-outs and disinterest among rural children and people towards education in general.

About the Project
The urban and economic centres are equipped with plenty of innovative and interactive education institutes and models for children. Whereas on other hand, the schools in rural areas face problems like inadequate basic resources including toilets, potable drinking water, classrooms, libraries and scientific laboratories at school. – Swami Vivekananda

The project was executed through various activities that supported the above statement made by the great Swami Vivekananda. SEDT set up a program with the support of YOJANA Project Help form Netherlands and for the last 10 years has been implementing the “EDUCATION KEY” in 92 villages of the Palam block In Parbhani District of the great state of Maharashtra.
Activities Like
1. Computer education for school dropouts with an emphasis on girl children: To build the necessary competencies among rural children and increase participation of girl students, it is essential to introduce computer-based education and make use of electronic equipment in formal education. Through the concept of ‘Digital School’ and use of computer-aided equipment like multimedia tools and digital library the school dropouts, especially among girls, were addressed and the drop out girls were connected to the mainstream.
2. Philosophy for children: “Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and< become their role model” .... APJ Abdul Kalam Curiosity is the mother of invention. The formal education system pays very little attention to the curiosity among children, predominantly in rural India. This eventually kills passion for generating enquiries and exploration among children. Education service providers and community stakeholders shall respect the ‘curiosity’ among children.
3. Reading to the smallest: ‘Reading to the Smallest’ is a simple yet effective activity started on pilot basis in a village and today extended to 60 villages. The concept is direct attention of parents towards children and their progress. This is otherwise substantially lacking in rural families. Hence, to develop interaction among parents and children and further build a responsive environment at household level, the activity involved – reading of stories and educational material for children (3-5 years) by their parents at home. This simple activity proved a catalyst to bring attention to the progress of the parents in the progress of their children. Today more than 3000+ mothers are reading for their child. This indeed has provoked and increased substantial sharing among children and their parents. The involvement of female members in the development process of children has gained momentum.
4. Teacher quality improvement training: A Teacher – shall be a role model for students. It should reflect in his behavior, attitude, character and life. However, the ground reality observed was not as ideal as it needs to be. It was observed that teachers play a crucial role in shaping the life of children; many-a-times take the profession just as a source of employment. Hence, SEDT decided to identify teachers who wish to be the role models and partner SEDT in the change process. Teachers were trained to develop their teaching and interactive communication skills. Also the thrust was on behavioral and attitudinal science.
5. Teachers training on gender equality: Additionally, the teachers were trained with an emphasis on Gender Sensitivity and Equality. This aimed to help them understand the issue holistically and respond to the problems of girl students. This resulted into a better treatment for girl students in schools, increase in respect among girls towards the teachers and emergence of a local support system for girls to halve indifference at family level.
6. Training for women in politics (elected village panchayat members): With the 73rd amendment in Pachayati Raj and recent resolution passed by the state to promote women participation in local decision making and Panchayat bodies, the number of women in Panchayat and local steering committees increased. However, despite of the quantitative change her actual involvement and participation in the development process remained limited. We believe this inequality and manifestation of secondary status is gender abuse.

Our Aim
The project broadly aims to:
● Improve the educational infrastructure at grass roots
● Bring positive attitudinal and behavioral change among social stakeholders (including parents, teachers, youths, women and decision-makers) for building a responsive and sensitive society towards child education and development
● Bring education in the mainstream of the holistic development process
● Ensure availability of gainful and value-based education with gender equality
● Empower communities and service providers at grass roots to bring sustainable development in quality of education

Our Approach
To deal with the socio-economic dynamics and bring overall improvement in the quality of education for children, the project was planned in 3 phases, with clear objectives and plan of action.
Phase I: (2002-2005) The work was mainly focused on infrastructural development of schools, bringing school drop-outs back to school, sensitization of community and Village Education Committees – (VECs), increase people participation and generating a sense of ownership towards educational infrastructure among the local people.
Phase II: (2006-2009) The work was focused on improving overall quality of education, positive attitudinal and behavioural change among the community stakeholders with a focus on teachers and parents and create a caring and responsive society.
Phase III: (2009-ongoing) The activities are mainly focused on gender equality, adolescent girls and personality development in children.

Our Intervention
We discovered that there is a lack of proper schooling and educational infrastructure. These institutions and practices needed some positive behavioural and attitude change from both teachers and parents alike. Girls’ participation must also increase in pursuit of education and community development. There needs to be an open and proper communication channel between teachers, the school staff and the students. We also need to decrease the school drop-out rate from children and youth.