Community-Based Community-Managed Learning Centres
Most children in Gangmuri Panchayat area of the Birbhum district in the northern part of West Bengal (India), are first generation learners, with none of their parents having attended any formal schooling. The area has mostly tribal population and the literacy rate among adults is below 20%. The villages are poorly connected to necessary infrastructure, such as primary health centres, railway stations and primary schools. Due to rough terrain and unfavourable climatic conditions the villagers also lack proper livelihood activities. There are many agricultural labourers, sometimes migrating to other areas in search of income.
Unfortunately, the above-described situation creates a precarious situation for the children when it comes to their education. If they go to school, many suffer from language problems since the medium of education in the schools is Bengali, while the language spoken at home is different. It is highly difficult for them to keep track with the progress of lessons being taught in school and many lose interest. Therefore, the dropout rate from school is particularly high in the project area. In addition, many children are not only required to help with domestic work, but are also made to engage in money earning activities to tide over poverty. Due to the low income of the families, preference is being given to work over studies, and the girls in particular are engaged in domestic cores instead of pursuing follow-up studies and homework given at school. Due to lack of awareness about the importance of education, some parents are ignorant about the value and importance of education and hence do not motivate and encourage their children to study.