Bhubaneswar: Pratham Education foundation – the well known non profit voluntary organisation working on an All India level in order to improve the basic learning ability of children in primary school conducted a 20 day summer learning camp in about 756 villages of 14 blocks in as many districts that concluded yesterday. More than 20000 children in classes III – VIII participated in these camps and benefited in terms of their reading, arithmetic and scientific abilities. While fancy summer camps with exotic activities are the norm during summer vacation for privileged children mostly in urban centres who can afford expensive schools and pay a good amount for the privilege, the children in rural India hardly get any such opportunity.
Most government schools remain shut for extended summer vacation due to heat wave conditions and government doesn’t want to take the slightest risk by giving permission for any kind of summer camp activities. As a result the children who are already behind in terms of their basic skills fall further behind their urban and private school counter-parts. In this context these summer campus organised by volunteers of Pratham with strong cooperation of the community are a small but important intervention.
The activities were carefully chosen so that the cost of conducting them would be minimal. It involved reading story cards and books, making Leaf Art, conducting low cost science experiments such as flotation of potato, disappearance of the coin due to refraction, projects like finding out cost estimate of a wedding function or economics of agriculture. All camps involved children presenting their work in front of other children and parents. The children participated in these activities with a great deal of enthusiasm.
The districts that featured in this activity were Cuttack, Khordha, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Puri, Balesore, Keunjhar, Mayurbhanj, Boud, Sonpur, Balangir, Baragad, Sundergarh and Jharsuguda. In each district one block was selected for intervention. Pushpanjali Parida – State Coordinator and Dr Dhanada Kanta Mishra – State Advisor of Pratham Odisha have congratulated all participants and volunteers for a successful effort. One hopes that government of Odisha will help conduct such activities on a wider scale in years to come for enhancement of learning levels of the children of the state.