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VRI Child Scholarship Fund: July 2007 - June 2008

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Financial summary

The balance at 30 June 2007 was 5,356.14
The income during the year (including interest) was 1,863.46

2,327 was transferred to India in July 2007
446 was transferred to India in January 2008
i.e. total transfer of 2,773 during the year July 2007-June 2008.

The balance at 30 June 2008 was 4,446.60

In addition, there was a balance of 218.50 already held in reserve at APK.
(This was the 159.50 balance of the funds transferred from CSF in 2003-4, originally intended for the Samiksha school project, which did not go ahead, plus the 59 remaining from the staff training funds carried forward from 2006-7)

Expenditure summary

Amarpurkashi schools:
  • 482 on scholarships for 71 pupils of Gramodaya Primary School
  • 254 on salary enhancements for the primary school teachers and headmistress, to bring their salaries up to local levels
  • 50 on vitamin supplements
  • 470 for staff training sessions for all the staff on the APK project (teachers of primary and secondary schools and degree college, and other project workers), including a 3-day training and team-building session in a nearby beauty spot (see below)
    (Typically, the funds for teacher training are spent on staff transport and food for sessions held off the project campus, or for transport and hospitality for visiting teachers from other successful schools, for sessions held on the project campus.)
  • 907 to provide transport (for a 6 month trial period - see below) to the primary school for children from more distant villages.
Expenditure on other schools and projects:
  • 356 to provide a salary for the headmaster of Jafar Pur Junior High School
  • 159.50 (from funds already held at APK) was used to assist:
    RK Singh Junior High Shool, Beerampur
    Ilam Junior High School, Fateh Pur Nattha
  • 59 (remaining from last year's staff training funds, already held at APK) was spent on training project workers in other small development projects

Gramodaya Primary School, Amarpurkashi - general progress

There are now 245 children enrolled in the school. 78% of the children come from Scheduled and Backward categories. 34% are girls. 24 pupils received government scholarships, 75 received IVCS scholarships, and the remainder were able to pay the modest fees themselves.
A new head teacher joined the school in July but resigned in February. Senior teacher Babita Singh took over but she had to leave in May as she was married to someone from a village far from Amarpurkashi.

Dial Sharma, a retired primary school teacher from England, joined the school in October as a volunteer and provided valuable training to the staff. He worked there for two months. Mr Sharma was a friendly, sociable person who got on very well with all the project staff.

This year, most of the primary schoolchildren came from far off villages, i.e., Palanpur 8 km, Pipli 7 km., Kaili 7 km, and Dhak Nangla 8 km. They were collected by two vehicles provided with part support from IVCS Children's Scholarship Fund (see above). However, this proved expensive and unsustainable. Transport has therefore been withdrawn. Next year, only pupils within walking distance will be enrolled.

Training day for project staff

In April, over 50 members of staff were taken by bus to Rishikesh (a local beauty spot) for in-service training. They stayed in the family-run Kabir Ashram for three days. The training sessions were marked by free and frank discussion among staff and a range of issues such as improving the quality of teaching and examination results were discussed in detail. Staff also looked at the need to develop a sense of ownership and camaraderie.

Krishi Audyogik Intercollege, Amarpurkashi

There are now 885 children enrolled in the school, of whom over 30% are girls. The number of girls has risen steadily over the years.

91% of the children come from Scheduled and Backward categories (the economic groups which are classed by the Indian Government as underprivileged).

All students in the InterCollege received government scholarships, and so no scholarships were needed from IVCS funds.

Two new large class rooms and one new shed were built from existing APK project funds, without IVCS assistance. The college was again selected as a centre for the annual high school and intermediate examinations. Over seven hundred students from seven other schools and colleges took part in the examinations. Inspectors paid several visits to the centre and found it running satisfactorily.

Gramodaya Junior High School at Jafar Pur

This school was set up in July 2004 at the request of residents of the village of Jafar Pur, with financial assistance from the IVCS children's scholarship fund. (read more about the school)

The number of students continues to rise. The number of students has risen from 168 last year to 193 this year, 23% of whom are girls. The school received recognition from the government last year and thus its students are now entitled to receive small government scholarships. These scholarships provide individual students with some financial help for buying books and stationery, but do not fund the full costs of education (staff salaries, maintainance of buildings etc).

Plans for year 2008/9 at Gramodaya Primary School, Amarpurkashi

In July, 2008, a number of changes were introduced into the Gramodaya Primary School. Provision of transport for children from outlying villages had to be withdrawn as the costs were crippling. Instead, attention was focused on students from Amarpurkashi and three or four villages that are within easy walking distance. Running a primary school has become a small-scale business in rural India and in the last ten years, four private primary schools have been established in and around Amarpurkashi. There is also a government primary school offering free midday meals.

The project decided to go for quality rather than sheer numbers and not take more than 150 pupils. The first hundred students to enrol were given scholarships that covered their fees; they only had to provide their own books and uniforms. This worked well and the majority of students now come from Amarpurkashi. A new job was also created for a co-ordinator cum teacher who liaises with parents, follows up all absences and teaches Maths to the most senior class.

Finally, the old-fashioned, heavy, British-style uniform was replaced with typical Indian dress. The children now wear simple pyjama/kurtas which are not only easier to wash but look better, are more comfortable to wear and encourage the students to be proud of their own heritage rather than ape another far-distant one.

When the 2008/9 school year ends, this new system will be evaluated and further changes made where necessary.
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