Education Above All


At this time of year, the sun heralds the beginning of remedial classes. At half past six, girls and children Kodapaganipalli, a village of 79 families in the district of Anantapur, go to the "town hall". Four concrete walls serve as meetings roomsand weddingstake place. The room also serves as storage for harvest. But certainly, it is education that prevails in the room evidenced by its walls, richly decorated with illustrated lessons as ABC, the solar system or farm animals.

In 1978 in Anantapur shortage of teachers and public schools was high. Education ofDalits (untouchables) discriminated harshly students about the higher caste. This situation perpetuated the lack of integration and high rates of school failure. Therefore, the first educational project launched Vicente Ferrer and Anna were reinforcing schools. In India, known as "tuition schools" or "pusattuisyen" in Telugu.

Kodapaganipalli in school there are 22 students: 15 boys and 7 girls. Janjeevappa spent 15 years teaching at the school reinforcement: "I divide the class into six groups from kindergarten to 5th grade and while reviewing a group lesson, the rest does homework," he explains. In addition, each group has a representative who helps to maintain order.

So far, the Foundation has launched a network of 1,539 schools reinforcement provides coverage to 2,737 people. They girls and Dalit children of 4-11 years make homework and review the lessons studied in public schools two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. The value of this project is to provide support that their parents cannot offer, "here almost all parents are illiterate and cannot help their children with homework," says the teacher. In addition, all school children receive yearly school supplies, uniforms and 800 rupees in a savings account that can be used to continue their education.

According to the Annual Report on Education in India (ASER) 2014, the state of Andhra Pradesh holds the fifth lowest rates in the country (67.70%) for literacy, and if we discriminate by gender - 75.60% in boys and girls, 59.70% for women which is still 15 points lower. This report also notes that 15% of children attending state schools some kind of reinforcement and notes that "those who attend supplementary classes perform better and reinforce, according to statistics, their reading and mathematical ability."

It has become clear that being able to read and write does not always mean great reading comprehension or developingexpression capabilities. Therefore, in the learning process of children, enforcement schools play a complementary role to the formal education system.

The enrollment rate in the area where the foundation works has favorably increased since 1978 when only 10% of children and 5% of were enrolled in schools. Nowadays, almost 100% of the children are enrolled in primary education. Due to over 40 years of work and awareness of the foundation, Anantapur families have made it possible today to understand education as a right and not as unfit for the lower castes privilege.

"In the beginning was the VFF which chose to master and assumed the costs of the school. As the awareness about the importance of focus on education, beginning the gradual transfer of responsibilities from the Foundation to the Committee on Development Community (CDC) and since 2008 are the families who are responsible for paying the teacher” explained the committee members. The access of children to education helps to overcome social exclusion and is the foundation for the development of their capabilities. In the words of Ramakrishna, former teachers of the Foundation, "To raise awareness among parents about the importance of getting an education is very important."

Another form of empowerment starts in schools by reinforcing extracurricular activities such asdancing lessons and competitions, theater, music and other cultural activities through which gender roles are working; for example, committee members have enthusiasts that on November 14 commemorate the birth of Jawahrlal Nehru, prime minister for 27 years after the independence of India. The central role that Nehru gave the "secular and plural" Indian education as a pillar of development makes this date also chosen to celebrate Children's Day in India.

Katerina Tomasevki, former Special Rapporteur on the right to education of the United Nations said that "education is the gateway to other rights". As individuals, equal educationleads to new opportunities and differentiates us in capacity; but as a society leads us to the social commitment and progress.


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Anne Ferrer, who has been working as a social worker in rural parts of Andhra Pradesh, received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award 2015 for her contribution in the field of development and welfare of Women and Children in India.
The telephone rings. It is the 1,098 time the VFF staff in India answer the urgent needs of the community using the anonymous help line. 24 hours, 7 days a week urgent calls of a wide variety come in and much needed support is given immediately.