Despite the Right to Education Act (2005), thousands of children in India are either unable to go to schools or complete their education because of extreme poverty. Since one square meal a day itself is a luxury for such families, education is never a priority for these kids. Hence, instead of going to school, these children take up odd jobs at a very young age to feed their families.
Project EDU focuses on ensuring basic education to such underprivileged children living in slums and semi-urban areas of Delhi/NCR. The project caters to these children by supporting the formal schools run by non-profit organizations. The ultimate aim of Project EDU is to ensure that these children get their basic education and emerge as self-reliant and confident individuals who contribute positively to the society. At present, project EDU touches the lives of more than 800 students.
This initiative of IFG echoes the thoughts of Late Nelson Madela.
“Education is the powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”
1. Target Schools
We find schools within Noida that match a select set of criteria and finalize the schools based on the findings of our 'Needs assessment' process. The target schools must already have a leadership team in place and a teaching staff on board who are committed to the long-term success of the school. We prefer primary or middle schools that have transparent reporting system and have very limited financial support to run their daily operations.
2. Provide Infrastructure
Schools have varying infrastructural needs. Our primary focus is on providing school supplies such as power backup, blackboards, books, stationery, fans, lights, and furniture. We also focus on developing computer labs within schools that can support them to help make way for computer-based skills curricula. Through partnerships with NGOs, we also provide the necessary human capital support to ensure schools have the necessary faculty in place for the program.
3. Quantify Performance
Each school within Project EDU is defined by different goals provided. However, multiple metrics of success are defined - through student performance, increases in matriculation rate. Project EDU itself is rated by the number of overall students within the Program that matches the target success rate set forth. Partner schools' performance evaluation and assessment activities are carried out through IFG's volunteering events.
Our Operating Principles
How IFG Identifies The Schools?
IFG conducts a preliminary research to identify potential partner schools. Next, the IFG team visits these schools to perform a "Needs Assessment" exercise. Based on the outcome of this process, the IFG team finalizes the partner schools.Key elements of our 'Needs Assessment' process are listed below.
We prefer schools that:
- are Primary or Middle Schools that provide free or low cost education to the underprivileged children.
- run under the aegis of non-profit organization or charitable trust.
- cater to students who are first-generation learners.
- cater to students whose parents are domestic workers, rickshaw pullers, or migrant laborers
- have a formal teaching setup and schools regularly conduct classes.
- have a transparent reporting system.
- have very little or no financial support for their infrastructure, staff salary, etc.
- run with the help of donations from individuals or organizations.
- have a scope to scale-up and benefit more kids with similar backgrounds.
How IFG Initiates The Partnership?
We follow a three-step approach to initiate partnership with schools that meet our selection criteria.
- The IFG Team meets the target schools to discuss the findings of the ‘Needs Assessment’ process and prepares a list of their immediate needs that IFG can support.
- Prepare a concrete plan and budget for each target school.
- Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the target schools and clearly mention the partnership clauses including the purpose of the partnership, expectations from each other, time duration, among others.
How IFG Monitors The Target Schools?
After initiating the MoU with the target schools, the IFG team monitors the performance of the schools and evaluates the effectiveness of the Project EDU activities. Some of the key elements of our monitoring and evaluation process are:
- Financial transparency is ensured through maintaining bills and vouchers received from the schools against donations made.
- Monthly volunteering events are conducted where IFG volunteers interact with students and school staff. These events serve as a mechanism to find out information related to the funds utilized by the schools.
- Annual reports are submitted by the schools.
Project EDU Volunteers
At IFG, we believe that our employee volunteers are the backbone of Project EDU. We involve volunteers in Project EDU at various stages including planning, implementation, and performance evaluation of new projects. Our volunteers regularly conduct activities at partner schools and help us in performance evaluation of the schools. The involvement of employees helps create a long-lasting impression on the minds of these first-generation learners, and they are motivated to come out of poverty through proper education.