Education is a necessity for all section of people. Unfortunately, in-spite of several provisions of government towards universalisation of elementary education, large number of children are still out of school, majorly engaged into child labour.
Residential Bridge Course (RBC) is a programme for ‘out of the school’ children under the “Thousand Schools Project” of Tata Steel. RBC aims to bridge the gap of learning that has developed among such children and gradually mainstream them in schools as per their age and Right to Education (RTE) norms. Children who have dropped schools or have never been to schools for varied reasons are brought to Residential Bridge Course centres to fill their education deficit and equip them with knowledge and skill to re-enter government schools.
In RBC the children get all opportunities to develop mentally as well as physically. Being residential, children are provided with all amenities within the campus. They learn to read and write in their pace going on to be mainstreamed into formal schooling. RBC provides space to children, their parents & the whole community to experience significance of education and need to bring ‘out of school’ children back to school as well.
The Case of Gura Naik (a Tribal Boy)
Gura, a Tribal boy, was managing a living at his uncle’s small hut with his elder brother, two sisters, aunty and grandparents. Being a causal labour in one of the local companies, it was extremely difficult for Gura’s uncle to manage the daily living and taking care of six family members. And therefore, he was not in a position to afford any expenses on education or related, which left Gura wandering around the village, and would pick up odd jobs at times to earn some money. However, he was not very happy about life, when he would see children of his age going to school, properly dressed and on return, sharing the learning with him. It was a demoralizing effect on the young minds of this child.
His despondency finally came to an end when the Aspire team spotted him and made his Uncle agree to spare to undergo a one-year residential programme at Tata Sponge premises. Upon arrival at the newly constructed Residential Bridge-course Center (RBC) of Tata Sponge, Gura’s first response was ‘BUGIN GE’ (feeling better), to her Aunt who accompanied him to drop at the center.
Despite being only 10 years of age, he outsmarts many seniors in curricular and many other co-curricular activities. Dreaming of going to a bigger school after a year from RBC, staffs of ASPIRE gave a very positive feedback about him. His elder sister Sankari is now hopeful that her will continue his education and will become another respectable citizen of the society.