Residential Special Training Centres
Residential Special Training Centres or RSTCs are meant for child labourers and children, aged between 6 and 14 years, who have never been to school or dropped out of school for more than six months. The children stay in the RSTC for a period of up to 18 months, after which they are enrolled in mainstream schools. We run nine such RSTCs in Tamil Nadu. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, a Government of India programme for achieving universalisation of education, provides part funding and technical inputs to the RSTCs.
Non-Residential Special Training Centres
Whenever we come across a group of 15-20 children who have dropped out of school in a concentrated location then a Non-Residential Special Training Centre is set-up. The NRSTC helps prepare these children to attend full-time formal education.
Previously, NRSTCs were funded by the Government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, now out-of-school children are taught with the support of specially appointed teachers. NRSTCs are run in challenging locations like coconut farms, tribal regions, stone quarries where abundant migrant out-of-school children stay with their families. To help the Narikurvas, a nomadic tribe, we have set-up an NRSTC in Uthiramerur, Tamil Nadu, with support from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
Transit Schools target children in the age group of 15-18, who have dropped out of school after grade VIII or have not qualified the grade ten board exams. These young adults are given necessary and efficient coaching by trained instructors, who assist them in successfully completing the grade ten board exams and pursue higher education. Computer-Aided Learning has been introduced in all the Transit Schools. We also organise career guidance counselling programmes for the children.
Children’s Learning Centres
The Children’s Learning Centres, for students studying in Grades II-V, is an effort to achieve a higher primary school graduation rate for children enrolled in school. These centres assist the students in Tamil and Mathematics through specialized kits designed by external consultants/ through an accelerated reading programme.
The Balwadis provide pre-school education to children aged 2 1/2 - 5 years. Our Balwadi centres are run in urban /rural areas where children from low-income families do not have access to the Government-run Anganwadi centre or any other pre-school facility run by the private sector. The Balwadi classes build the social, emotional, motor and cognitive skills of the children, thereby preparing them to adjust to the school atmosphere.
Our Balwadi initiative also helps tackle the problem of retention and achievement at a nascent stage. Since, most of the parents are illiterate and unable to help their children in early childhood education our Balwadis are seen as a big help.