| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
This is not simply an instance of mechanical implementation of policy design handed down from above—rather it is a response to ground realities where neither central nor state level policies, discretionary funds, nor armed intervention have been able to support the realisation of a citizen right. The implementation sequence, starting from a personal conviction, builds on the sterngth of what is available, and fills the gap in terms of what has not been done. Two key elements of the implementation sequence includes the following:
• A prudent use of discretionary resources from Integrated Action Plan (IAP), managing contract and expenditure procedures
• Thinking strategically on school sites and reform team
The issues were identified based on divisions of elementary education, secondary education and skills education:
At elementary level, the most major issue a huge number children being of out-of-school. It was found through a survey conducted at the beginning of the project that more than 18000 children of the school going age were out of school.
At the secondary level and higher, the concern was of a high drop-out due to various reasons, lack of options to take up science education, and poor quality of education overall. This can be gauged from the fact that though there are 38,000 students in classes 1st to 8th, this number drops down to less than 5,116 for classes 9th to 12th combined.
Higher level education was practically absent and there were no formal and organized vocational & skills training.
The vacancies in a critical public service, known for its capacity for local employment generation was a firm signifier of the unwillingness of people to take up jobs is this area; local capacity to fill in the gap would not be available until investments in education were made, highlighting the cyclical nature of the problem. This further limited the room for manoeuver available to the civil administration, as it had nearly no local roots, and no street-level bureaucracy—the field staff necessary to implement development interventions.
An indepth enquiry into the major problems leads us to many issues/problems connected with and leading up to the same. Considering the overall abysmal situation that prevailed in the education sector, the strategies required had to be all encompassing and all pervasive through the various levels of education set up.
It was understood that Naxal groups were able to operate unchallenged in this areas also because there was no questioning by the tribals of their ideology and violent way of functioning. On the other hand it was realised that because of lack of education and awareness, local tribals are not able to question the system about development deficit and historical passiveness. This was a problem of rooted in past history, and quick-fix solutions were not possible. But there could be a break by effecting a generational change, creating a new band of educated and empowered.
Given the enormous nature of these tasks and alarming urgency to finish them, these goals had to be worked-upon simultanously. For this, the Collector formed different teams for implementation and monitoring of different projects and took personal follow-up regularly through meetings and visits to project sites.
What followed was a sequence of actionable initiatives that are listed above bringing over 12,000 children to residential schools, and providing support for all subsequent ladders of schooling—building a full horizon so to say.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Successfully rolling-out projects of this magnitude involved various stakeholders, dynamics and processes at every stage, be it planning, executing, monitoring or follow-up. It involved inter and intra-departmental coordination with departments such as RGSM/SSA, Zila Panchayat, Tribal Development, Education Department, Women and Child Development Department, PWD, PHE, CSEB, RES, etc. With other departments such as Forest, Police/CRPF coordination was required many a times to get sites suitable for residential projects which sometimes were under their control, force was needed to protect construction at some sites or building material with contractors, facilitation of acces through check-posts for staff and building material contractor for these schools, etc.
Convergence of various resources; both physical and human, govt. dept and schemes and funds from various sources has been the key feature in all the initiatives. The total fund of around 300 crores has been used for education sector from various sources like IAP, SSA, RMSA, Tribal Dept., BRGF, MGNREGA, Minor Mineral Royalties, NRLM for skill education, CSR Funds of NMDC and ESSAR, etc. as no single scheme or programme could have been potent enough to sponser every aspect of residential educational projetcs due to limited availability of funds and stringet guidelines and compartmentalisation of expenditure heads. Getting the CSR funds for these initiatives in the initial phase was a bit difficult as there is a tendency to spend on visible things and spending on education had less visibility. The collector through persistent communication and through intervention by Chief Minister was able to convince them and make the CSR money flow towards educational projects of the administration. He made sure that enough publicity is given to them in all the projects to maintain their interest. Thus, all the stakeholder’s were in a win-win situation through these initiatives as it helped in judicious utilization of funds for a better cause.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Coordination with various departments was extremely crucial in processes like preparing project plans and getting all the due government procedure done. Here collector inverted the normal process of rolling out projects; he first assessed the need and visualised the necessary intervention for the same and then saw which scheme could be used to fund the needed activity. He left aside a normal ‘scheme’ implementation based mind-set and adopted a project-based approach. Funds are usually received by the districts tied to specific heads and it is difficult to manoever around these heads for all the needs of a project. Convergence of various resources; both physical and human, govt. dept and schemes and funds from various sources has been the key feature in all the initiatives. The total fund of around 300 crores has been mobilised from District level funds, Central Government Funds, State Government Funds, and from Coporate Social Responsibility Funds of Public and Private Corporate Sectors. Various schemes were used like IAP (Integrated Action Plan), SSA(Sarva Siksha Abhiyan), RMSA (Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan), Tribal Dept. Funds, BRGF(Backward Region Grant Fund), MGNREGA(Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), Minor Mineral Royalties, NRLM(National Rural Livelihood Mission) for skill education, CSR (Coporate Social Responsibility) Funds of NMDC(National Mineral Development Corporation) and ESSAR, etc. as no single scheme or programme could have been potent enough to sponser every aspect of residential educational projetcs due to limited availability of funds and stringet guidelines and compartmentalisation of expenditure heads. For ex. one potacabin project would require hostel building, school building, toilets, drinking water facilities, kitchen shed, internal and approach roads, electrification, desk-benches, boards, teaching and learning material, audio visual rooms, musical instruements , sports materails and recurring facilities for students such as books, uniforms, stationary, food, sports material, salaries for teachers and other staff and many such innumerable things. He first tried to work around tied parameters of the regular scheme and use as much funds as can be from these, and converged schmes if need be. Thus, one important activity that he has done is activity based budget manoevering. For convergence, two schemes were used which had some manoeverability and large untied funding viz. Integrated Action Plan and Backward Regions Grant Fund. IAP and BRGF were suppose to do bridge gap funding and added this with CSR of NMDC and ESSAR to attend to things outside the perview of tied schemes. The priority of using funds was given to regular schemes such as SSA, Tribal Dept. schemes etc. and as many things were tried to be done through them as possible and as permitted in the scheme guidelines, as they are regular and uninterrupted sources of funds. Schemes like IAP and BRGF were used to fill gaps that were left from the regular schemes such as creating additional rooms, teacher quarters, digging borewells, etc. Roads and drainage lines were constructed through MGNREGA as these locations were rural. And CSR funds were used for things that couldn’t satisfy the criteria in any of the schemes. Getting the CSR funds for these initiatives in the initial phase was a bit difficult as there is a tendency to spend on visible things and spending on education had less visibility. The collector through persistent communication and through intervention by Chief Minister was able to convince them and make the CSR money flow towards educational projects of the administration. He made sure that enough publicity is given to them in all the projects to maintain their interest. Thus, all the stakeholder’s were in a win-win situation through these initiatives as it helped in judicious utilization of funds for a better cause.
Site Selection for Schools
A lot of thought was given on selection of sites for each project, specially as the schools were residential and there was a constant threat of Naxal violence. The schools were established in phases, at first in ‘fringe’ locations—on the borders of naxal dominated areas so that children from the cluster of nearby interior villages could be catered to. Meetings with BEO, BRCs, teachers, sarpanchs were conducted for this purpose. The ‘Porta-cabin’ schools became a centralised model at de-centralized locations. Volunteers for identification and getting the out-of-school children enrolled were recruited from the same interior villages so that they did not face any opposition in going into the interior areas. These fringe area schools were then developed as clusters of development—building of roads, bridges, electricity, drinking water, health facilities was veered around them. Thus, it helped to create a demonstration effect for the people from interior villages. This in-turn resulted in getting demand from them for similar facilities in their areas, making it easier for the administration to reach out spatially.
Due to the fear of naxals, contractors were unwilling to take work in interior areas, even after 5-6 rounds of reissue of tenders. A series of meetings were held with local contractors, and solutions in the form of extra incentives for threat of damage to their costly construction equipments and machines , higher wage rates for the labours, higher transportation cost of materials, and encouraging small contractors to take up bigger construction was also done. Pooling of contracts was also done-so that those awarded bigger construction work also worked on a few school sites in interior areas. Group tenders were promoted with combination of difficult and easy area , as well as less profitable and high profitable works. The ‘Zila Nirmaan Samiti’ which was formed in the year 2006-07 consisiting of the collector, SP, Executive Engineers of major construction departments such as PWD, PHE, RES, was made work agency in many works which was not taken-up by contractors. All these efforts put-together helped in keeping the momentum of work on and avoid interuptions in work due to delays in payment and lack of availability of funds with the contractors.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Name of the Initiative Output
• Around 12000 out of school children enrolled in the residential schools
• The percentage of out of school children has been decreased from 50.3 % to 13% in between January 2011 to January 2013 in 6 -14 age group
• An entire generation getting educated which would have missed the bus
Providing exposure to students • Over 30,000 students provided with exposure to district headquarters and some major cities
• After this project children feel comfortable to visit district head quarter, when needs arise.
• The distance between administration and people is decreasing by this project.
Coaching to Class 5 students to secure admission in prestigious schools • With only 10 months of mentoring, 30 children selected in Navodaya Vidyalaya Barsoor out of a total of 60 selections.
• Sainik School in Ambikapur-Surguja -1 child selected from Nanhe Parinde project
• 24 children selected in Karpawand, Eklavya Vidyalaya, Bastar
• 25 girls selected in Eklavya Kanya Shiksha Parisar, Katekalyan
• 5 girls selected for Parchanpal Kanya Parisar, Bastar
Creation of Residential facilities for utilizing the provision of 25% reservation in private schools under Right to Education Act • 274 Students benefitted, all of them are orphaned tribal children whose parents are killed in conflict.
• Additional construction going on to accommodate 1100 more children
Education Clusters and Shiksha Savari Yojana-
To improve enrolment of students in pre-matric level. • Earlier there were residential facilities for only 1400 students of 9th to 12th standard, but 2000 new accommodation facilities were created by mobilizing the CSR and other District level funds.
• Cycles have been distributed to more than 3,000 students.
• This has resulted in 98% of 8th passed students getting enrolled in class 9th in the year 2012-13.
Chhoo Lo Aasman-
Providing high quality science education to the children at the intermediate level • 675 students benefitted from this project in the first year , 71% are girls
• 96% students from the project passed in the 12th Board examination, whereas the pass percentage of the rest of the district was merely 56%.
• 26% students secured first class against only 7% from the rest of the district.
• Improved overall pass percentage
• Three girls secure a rank in the state merit list.
• Twelve students selected in AIEEE
Education City-hub for institutions ranging from Primary school to professional institutions like Polytechnique College in one single campus • It is developing as a center of excellence and creating a positive demonstration effect.
• This project has been selected as 100 innovative projects across the globe by KPMG. It is one of the project amongst 6 from India, selected in the list.
Livelihood College (Gujar-Basar College)-
College for the unemployed youth, who have missed the bus of formal education. • College has become the harbinger of skill development and a medium of exposure & employment for the young
• In one year of functioning, 1875 students trained in more than 25 different trades, whereas 1015 students are undergoing training.
• 939 students have secured placements according to their trades at various places with an initial salary ranging from Rs. 4000/- to Rs. 8000/
• 936 students have opted for self-employment or work locally.
• This initiative indirectly helped in breaking the most potential cadre of the Naxals.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The projects were monitored through assigning each project to a particular district level officer. This officer had to visit his/her respective project site atleast once every week and report to the collector.
Community participation in terms of school management committees was strengthened. These committees involve villagers and parents of the children studying in these schools. They became the best source of monitoring for the collector. All the recommendations given by the school management committees were sanctioned to encourage them and instill a sense of faith about the system.
Collaboration with reputed non-government organizations were made to ensure an independent third party monitoring and evaluation. Pratham, a reputed NGO in India has certified the effectiveness of some of the programmes. Independent impact assessment studies were conducted through organizations like UNICEF and RedR India to assess the impact as well as improve upon the services that are provided in these projects.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The district administration had to put in a lot of efforts for making this dream into reality especially on social mobilization, awareness generation and also to convince people about its effectiveness. As when midway the project received specific threats from the naxalites, who claimed that the proposed infrastructure was coming up to cater to the security forces. Local leaders and common people living around the project area were taken to the project site and the district collector himself explained all the educational institutes that would come up in the education city and its benefits for the local people and their children. It was ensured that maximum possible extent of work such as boundary walls, connecting roads etc. was executed through gram panchayats as agency, utilizing the nearby villagers as labours / mason, etc. which has lead to development of an even greater stake in the project. Also, it was ensured that as and when any particular part of the project was finished, children were shifted into the new infrastructure, to allay any fears. This created a sense of security among the local people who contributed immensely in the success of the project.