About schools on courtyards

Alamgir Khan
Thursday, November 9th, 2017


Uthan School-er Kotha (About Courtyard Schools) is a compilation of writings on education centres to help poor children learn their class lessons, which were printed in the Shikkhalok, an education bulletin published by CDIP (Centre for Development Innovation and Practices), a development organization in the country. This book of 48 pages with 18 short essays is published in October 2017.


The essays are divided into several sections. The first section describes the process of running the education centres under the Education Support Programme of CDIP. Then there are three essays by CDIP teachers describing the best ways of teaching children of pre-primary and primary level. There are stories of children studying in these centres, whose struggles in life due to their many types of handicaps can melt hearts of stone. And last but not least, seven writings tell stories of teachers sincerely dedicated in their work of teaching children and their heroic struggles.


This book gives a good idea about CDIP’s initiative in helping poor and disadvantaged children learn their lessons for home-task at home. Muhammad Yahiya’s article says that Education Support Programme for children of pre-primary, Class I and Class II from poor family background in rural areas of the country have 2,400 learning centres run by the same number of teachers who are supervised by 120 Education Supervisors. Every learning centre consists of one teacher and twenty poor children. Around 50 thousand poor children are having support from these centres. These children cannot perform well in the classroom because their parents being unlettered cannot help them in their study at home. They, therefore, are in the risk of losing interest in study and beginning to drop out beyond anyone’s notice. This programme aims to arrest this drop-out process by providing some needed care to students helping them in their study on a courtyard in the village every afternoon.


Some interesting aspects of this program are known from this book. This education programme of courtyard schools gives an emphasis on cultural practices among children. Singing, recitation, sports, etc. gives an immense pleasure to children and attract them to come to school everyday. It also helps learn their lessons in a quicker and better way. There is a ‘Nature Study’ once a month for every learning centre. In this nature study programme, the teacher takes all her children for a walk through the village and they stop at a place where trees and birds abound. Children learn the names of these trees and birds and make fancy things with fallen leaves and twigs. Nature study is very helpful in inspiring children into creative thinking and activities.


It is another inspiring aspect of this programme known from this publication that a good number of handicapped children study in CDIP learning centres. Stories of some of these children in this book give a good idea of how caring teachers are for these children and how they help them learn some skills of reading and writing despite their disadvantaged conditions.


And who are these teachers? Educated girls or some married women, who have time in the afternoon not for any particular activity, does this job as a social work with a little amount of honorarium. Every one of 2400 teachers and 120 supervisors in this programme are women. The job gives them a satisfaction of doing some valuable thing for society, earns them a prestige and practically trains girl students in taking up the teaching profession in their professional life in the future. This is a good step for empowering women in rural areas.


This Shikkhalok compilation, Uthan School-er Kotha, with its attractive cover and some very good essays provide a clear picture of how such schools go on and how such a programme can make a positive impact upon lives of many poor and disadvantaged children and contribute to some extent to our education sector.

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