Classrooms nowadays are like combat zones in an ancient Roman Amphitheatre, wherein armed gladiators fight for their survival. In the modern era, children armed with books and tuitions are replaying this, as they combat for higher ranks. Learning is replaced by reproduction, fun repealed with anxiety and play time stripped away by special classes. In this scenario, CARE India’s K- LEAP (Kutch Livelihood Education Advancement Project) project is radically transforming school experience for girls and boys from the marginalized communities. Schools in rural India are characterized by multi- grade class rooms and single or two teachers’ schools. Kutch is no exception to this scenario considering its backwardness and remoteness. As the district has scarce water resources and low employment opportunities, majority of the families are not able to take care of the educational needs of children. Also even after schooling, the children were not able to read and write, and shortage of teachers had become the norm.
K- LEAP took up these challenges and worked towards improving the teaching methods in schools. K LEAP’s education intervention supports over 24000 children in five blocks of Kutch district, and of those 60% are girls. The intervention focusses upon training teachers to adopt innovative teaching techniques, develop time- tables and prepare lesson designs for the existing multi- grade classrooms. Group and peer learning techniques have been introduced and teachers are encouraged to pay attention to students who are in need of their personal support. CARE has appointed ‘School Improvement Coordinators’ to work with Primary school and ‘Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhayalaya’ (KGBV) teachers. ‘School Management Committee’ has been established in every intervention schools, which is represented by parents and local leaders. The committee is instrumental in supporting CARE monitor the enrolment, re-admittance and prevention of school drop outs in all the schools in the area. CARE has also provided sports, and arts and craft facilities in these schools for the holistic development of children. Interactive class room engagement, children- centric school assembly and e-schooling are some of the initiatives that are stressed upon by the program. In K-LEAP, competence is the true key for learning. Samir Samnani and Devabalan K- LEAP CARE India