When we consider the worldwide education industry India holds significant position with over 1.4 million schools, housing more than 227 million students. India has over 36,000 educational institutions of higher education as well. These numbers alone make India as one of the leading global higher education systems. However, potential for further improvement and development of the current system is still persisting.
While, education industry in urban India is beaming and is referred as “industry”, the children in rural India are facing serious challenges to accomplish their educational success. More than 50% of the children who started education never reach to the high school level. This clearly suggests the high rate of school dropouts that starts increasing in the middle schools. The main reasons behind this statistic are deficient in proper school environments, regulations, individual attention, lesser exposure to learning environment and learning challenges in case of rural children compared to their urban counterpart. Poor learning in elementary level eventually makes most of these students unable to cope with the courses offered at the middle school or beyond making dropout evident.
Another important aspect is that a major portion of the rural children suffers from malnutrition. It has been noted that even the well fed children suffer the consequences of malnutrition due to lack of basic hygiene. They never learn to wash hands, have access to proper sanitation and maintain a minimum level of hygiene making them vulnerable to frequent outbreaks of different infectious diseases.
In this context, Support My School has come up with an initiative called WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) aiming to develop and improve the basic facilities available in government schools. These may include access to water and installation of separate toilets for boy and girl students. Additionally, the campaign focuses on the development of the general infrastructure such as having a cleaner environment, setting up a playground to support an encouraging learning atmosphere.
Already several schools from different districts have undergone revitalization under this campaign serving as model schools strengthening engagement in communities. This in turn produces increased awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of rural children enrolling and attending schools.
This Support My School initiation was started in 2011 by Coca-Cola India & NDTV in association with the UN-Habitat, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). The core activities undertaken by this initiative are:
- Improving the access to clean water
- Preparing proper and separate sanitation for boys and girls
- Improvement of the overall infrastructure of the schools and surrounding environment
- Allowing provision for sports and amusement
- Implanting rainwater harvesting to restore the groundwater