In a novel way to get people involved in educating children living on the streets,Door Step School (DSS),an NGO,has designed a website to enable citizens to report children not attending school.
The website,developed with technical support from Maven Systems,with inputs from research team of Tata Institute of Social Sciences,Mumbai,uses Google Maps to locate the address reported. The citizens contribution,after a few questions about the children are answered,is published on the website. The team gets notified about the citizens contribution by e-mail,which helps in finding the children at the location,thus expediting their school admission process. Any citizen can register on http://www.eccpune.org/reportchildren and give information about children not attending schools.
The site was launched on February 28.
The Right to Education (RTE) Act provides right of free and compulsory education to all children in the 6 to 14 age group. However,children who need this most and their parents are not aware of their rights. As a result,even in the third year of RTE implementation,we can see a large number of children around us who do not attend school, said Rajani Paranjpe,Founder President,DSS.
To identify such children in Pune city and to ensure their enrollment in nearby PMC schools citizens campaign Every Child Counts (ECC) was launched.
Last year,with the help of citizen volunteers and NGOs in Pune,the campaign reached out to more than 2,500 children and enrolled about 700 of them in PMC schools, said Bhavana Kulkarni,Co Director,DSS.
The biggest challenge to the campaign was,and is,to find children (and parents) who need support in reaching schools. On the other hand,citizens commuting daily on the city roads see many children at traffic signals,on footpaths,and near labour colonies. Even if willing to help,a common citizen does not know to whom and where to report these children, said Paranjpe. If there can be a website for locating sparrows,why not one for children? The idea was born and it materialized into the website for children, added Paranjpe.
A demo session of the website was organised for members of the PMC School Board. The board is hopeful of its usefulness and has mentioned that the information collected through citizen will help the PMC School Enrollment Drive this year. We have already got three responses on the website which our volunteers are looking into, said Kulkarni. The Every Child Counts campaign team appeals citizens of Pune to use this website to help children reach schools in large numbers, added Kulkarni.