Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pratham’s Second Chance : Preparing for exams, and now, the results.

Come mid-February in the Second Chance program; there is a sense of commitment that grows stronger, as over 3000 girls and women are drawing close to their Class X board exams. It is the same feeling that parents have when their children appear for board exams.



The diversity in the boards through which the students appear for their exams which include State Boards, State Open Schooling and the National Institute of Open Schooling, makes each state have its own specific preparation for the exams.The learners work hard and to cope up with the exam frenzy, we have seen husbands, mothers, uncles, children and siblings support the learners and encourage them for the preparation. Though they go to the exam hall with butterflies in their tummies, there is also a confidence to write the exam.



After the exams, the Second Chance learners face a lull; there is a void in their lives after a yearlong association with their classmates and teachers. Across the board, there are a number of missed calls from students, the tutor or faculty call them back, only to hear – I don’t know what to do now, I don’t like staying at home, I miss my classes, when will the results be out?  Can we have classes for a supplementary course?  Do you think I will pass? When will we all meet?  Parents and guardians are happy, as they have seen their daughters appear for their exam with confidence and there is hope for them to make it better in life, they say.
Pratham teams take a guess on the results expected, and on the basis of the subject wise feedback from the students, have their expectation of what the results may be!“ If results are good, mobilising the next batch will be easier”, the team says, “Results are also an evaluation of our performance.”



When the word spreads and girls know the date for the results, calls become even more frequent sharing anxiety, nervousness, uncertainty and hope at the same time.  In the months of April-May-June, results are declared in all states. 

With impatience and anxiety, about 300 members of the teaching-learning team gear up for the results, teams distribute clusters lists, and everyone sits together to get the results for the cluster.Some tutors are nervous and wish for their cluster results to be seen first!

Once a Second Chance centre result list is complete, it is shared with the state coordinator for compiling state results. Once the state gets their results compiled, they are shared with other state and national teams, through calls, on mail and snapshots on WhatsApp messages. 



At the same time, students start calling or dropping in at the centre to know their results – their expressions say it all – with happiness and renewed hope!  Some of them come with mithai /sweets on the same day or the next day and thank their Pratham School, for giving them an opportunity which they had never dreamt of.

In the villages, there is a celebration of sorts, for the families, where mothers/daughters/sons/wives/ granddaughters have taken steps forward. The tutor and faculty team of the program feel extremely satisfied if their students move forward – they visit homes and encourage parents to enrol their daughters in the nearby school or suggest open schooling, as the case may be. Second Chance students range between 16 and 45 years – and the older ones could have dropped out of school as long as 30 years back or more.



Earlier in the same environment, there was scepticism regarding Second Chance activity, over the years, as they see the girls move forward, there is a change of both heart and opinion.

At Second Chance, the team believes that if a student has not cleared all subjects, she has a chance to do it again. Not using the word ‘failed’ – the team counsel students and families, making sure they don’t give up, the team is ready to hold supplementary classes for them.



Families are happy, there is a sense of achievement, and there is an encouragement to keep studying.  Parents and grandparents pause in their daily routine of farming, household chores, they smile and show their happiness, saying, what we could not do, we are glad our children are able to do, being educated is a necessity to live in this world. 

2 comments:

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