Category: New Project proposal: Loknayak Shikshan Mandal

(Sangli is located South-western Maharashtra and around 5 hrs from Pune and 10 hrs from Mumbai. It is also 1 hr from Major cities like Kolhapur and 4 hours from Solapur. All these cities are well connected with Train/State Transport and private tourist buses. Please see map below.)
Project proposal 2009:
1.
2.
Project presentation 2009:
Half Yearly Status Report:
Map of Maharashtra and location of Sangli:
Site visit by Dilip Menon (Asha SV), June 2008:
Project proposal 2008:
Project presentation 2008:

A) Minutes from Project Presentation (March 15)

  • Loknayak Shikshan Mandal - project by Sudhakar. Place Sangli (western Maharashtra) - more of a developed small town than a city. Trust established in 1986 - first school in 1987 with 16 students - by 2004 they have 5 schools with enrollment over 2000 - covers students from a) slums, b) mill worker's (sugar, cotton) children etc c) daily wage earners
  • Most parents have not completed higher education. presentation had very nice slide with demographics of the localities where the projects are located. Poor and deprived students there - provide them education opportunities - children also learn about social responsibilities and national feelings - they are told about national leaders etc.
  • Govt schools there - but in terms of population they need more schools unless they were willing to travel > 10km to Sangli city.
  • Adars Vinay mandir - the primary school - illegal construction in previous agricultural lands - school located in these parts
  • Trust also arranges for medical camps etc - pulse polio immunization - sports camps for identifying talent and sending them to state/national level. Trust has tried to improve the standard of education - since 2005 >60% have cleared the SSC exam with topper getting 85% - Trust tries a lot to promote sports culture - many former students of these schools are national level wrestlers now!
  • 5 schools - each of them are Govt affiliated - they can issue certificates - each of them is till a different grade 3 from 1st - 5th, 1 from 5th to SSC (New Highschool which has around 1200 of the total 2000 students 3:2 boy girl ratio) - 4 of them are non-aided - the high school receives Govt aid for teachers salaries etc
  • New highschool - own building - 12 rooms - not yet complete due to lack of funds - 12 rooms house 1200 students - so they have to work in shifts - they have a library - All the other schools are in rented premises
  • Most students have free education - lot of students still do labor after school (girls as maids etc) - but there seems to be an improvement due to the school. 55 teachers spread across 5 schools - Teacher's training etc done.
  • Problem - unable to raise enough funds to subsidize fees of students. Problem - one school started major expansion with promises of aid that did not come finally - 3Million INR loan already taken - may require 10M INR more to complete layout (education premises for 2000 students). All industrial condition in that area depends on the sugar industry which has been hit. Maharashtra 2008 budget - 17K crore INR of farmer loan payoff - spilt amongst the 4 regions of Maharashtra
  • In process of filing for FCRA. Govt of Maharashtra not giving any more money - the new high school is the first priority
  • Each year about 175 students graduate from the high school - not much data available about what they have done after that -Trust tries to help students who want to pursue higher education - try to find local sponsors - some students go to Tech institutues (like electrical repairs etc). Parent's involvement is school is not there - schools tried - but parents busy and not interested
  • Teacher salaries of the new high school is aided - not construction costs all other schools - no aid whatsoever
  • Budget: 25 lakh INR/year for construction. 12 lakh INR/year for recurring costs
  • Teachers are donating 1/2 months of their salaries to pay off the debt


B) Q&A and further follow-up

Project: Loknayak Shikshan Mandal

Questions to: Sudhakar
No link yet
Current proposal: Loknayak_Shikshan_Mandal_Proposal_2008-09.pdf

Questions:

Answers:

1. How did you come to know about this project? Is your hometown nearby? Have you visited the area? How frequently would you be able to visit the project in the next 3 years?
1. I have completed my high school education (till secondary school certification) from one of the schools run by this trust.
2.I have been very frequent to this school since last 4 years and conducted few seminars for the students for creating awareness about the opportunities available to them.

3.When ever I visit my house in Sangli, I generally make a visit to this project place, so on an average once in a year I would be visiting the project space
2. When is a site visit planned? (by June 2008?)
1. Site Visit can be scheduled any time once Steward identifies person to visit. 2. I will be happy to facilitate the visit.
3. What would be your main questions for the site visit?
Dilip and Siddarth are co-ordinating to visit in India. So we are in good shape here. As Dilip is experienced Asha Volunteer, both are co-ordinating to get detailed site report.
3A. Follow up : There are Asha guidelines and templates for site visit. Please find the documents called "Site visit guidelines" and "Site visit questionnaire" unde the Project resources, here:
http://ashanet.org/centralnj/resources.htm


The comments section in the site-visit form is very important space for the site visitor to make observations, suggestions etc.
Thanks.
4. In Q.5, it says the members belong to various political groups individually. Are any members on the board elected people's representatives or active workers of any political party?
1. We are non political organization, although board members belong to different party ideologies and some of them were elected as people’s representative, none of them have any executive responsibilities.
2. They were on a board in a capacity as an advisor. Today we don’t have any elected representatives on a board. .
5. What is the "Rashtra Seva Dal"? (ref.Q.6 and Q.)
1. Rashtra Seva dal is social movement initiated by well known philosophers like Sane Gurji, S.M. Joshi, Nanasaheb Gore, Madhu Dandwate
2. This is national movement initiated to motivate youth to participate into social and nation building activities. This is a non political social organization

6. When was FCRA application made? (ref. Q.7)
1. After I made first presentation, I understood the FCRA process.
2. The trust have initiated the FCRA process through a contact recommended by ASHA
7. Where do the 4 schools (apart from New High School) rent the spaces currently, i.e. in what kinds of buildings?
1. Other four schools are operated out of rented properties.
2. These are RCC constructed or brick buildings made available to us by some philanthropist organizations/ individuals on rents
8. What is the admission criteria for the school? Since this seems to be basically a free school for most, what documents are checked during admission? Are SC/ST/OBC certificates checked or are they a criterion? Is the parent's income level checked or is it a criterion? Is the parents' occupation checked?
1. We pledge to provide admissions to everybody who asked for it, but due to physical limitations (building space) we have limited our intake.

2. Typically students from surrounding residential areas, inhabited by poor families, low income group families come for the admissions.
3. As per the government rules, SC/ST and OBC certificates are checked and students are enrolled as per the admission procedure.

4. Although we don’t have any merit based admission process, we ensure that nobody is denied an opportunity of education based on race, income group or caste.


8A. Follow-up Q. on 8.
If there is no criteria for admission, how is it ensured that the schools cater primarily to the target population as mentioned in the project proposal - namely the children living in urban slums and/or the children of poor factory workors?

Since the school has an education system which is far above the standard of local govt. schools, wouldn't a open-to-all admission attract all and sundry, and not specifically the underprivileged group?

On a related note, it might also help to know more about the admission process. How many apply each year, how many are taken in, how many are rejected admission etc.
1. We always give preference to students belonging to the target areas. The admission process starts little early in April every year, when the teachers visit these areas to counsel parents regarding education requirement of their kids. During this process, needy students are identified and admitted to school.

2. There after in every year, June the school opens for normal admission to fill vacancies. Here also the preferences are given to those who are needy.

3. This is true that school has demonstrated good results and attracted huge attention from every part of society; we always ensure that only those who are needy and underprivileged get admission to our schools.

4. We don’t have data regarding how many students have applied for admissions and how many of them have actually enrolled. If required we can prepare this report based on historical data

9. Exactly how many students in each school are paying fees? How much fees?
1. Very few students less than 5% of the total student base pay annual fee of 15INR per month
2. Majority of students are beneficiary of government policies for BC.
10. Is the school located in the slum/factory area? If not, how many Km is it from the slums/factory area?
1. Schools are located in the descent areas, but close to target areas. New Highschool Yashwant nager, is located on the open space owned by the Trust.
2. Other schools are run out of rented places, residential houses, and community halls, buildings owned by some individuals or local organizations.

3. All the schools are within 1KM range of targeted area
11. What is the "Yashwant pattern of Education"? What is the origin of this system?
1. The basic idea of Yashwant Pattern of Education is to a) identify weaker students during the early time, b) assist them to through out the year through special counseling, extra classes and through studies c) and help them to compete equally with their peers
2. This scheme has been conceptualized to enhance performance of students during the SSC examinations. The school gets its students from local government primary schools or from local slum areas, where students don’t have any motivational systems in place. These students have been found very weak, in foundation courses like Languages, Science and Mathematics.
12. How is the system in 11. implemented in practice? Are there remedial/after-school classes/coaching? How many students are currently taking such extra classes?
1. Yashwant Pattern is designed to provide additional coaching in these subjects through summer/winter extra classes, series of unit tests, continuous feedback based on performance evaluation
2. The success of Yashwant Pattern can be attributed to dedicated team educators, which are extending their working hours to meet the end results; Educated and competent Students
13. Why are the other schools (apart from New High School) non-grantable? What could be done to make them grantable? What is the main impediment?
1. As per the government rules for opening private schools, the schools need to be operated as a non grantable for first 4 years, thereafter government based on budget availability can provide grants to schools.
2. However the government has been paying only salary grants even in case of grantable schools.
3. The main impediment is the ever changing government rules and its inability to extend financial support to educational institutions.

14. If Asha CNJ were to fund a building construction, how much would be an estimated start-up for a tangible outcome?
1. The Trust has already completed the construction worth of INR 22 Lakhs (approx 52000USD)
2. As per the estimates made by an Architect, the Trust requires additionally INR70 lakhs (approx 170000USD) to complete the constructions activities for New Highschool Yashwant nagar
3. However the timely help of INR 20 lakhs (50000 USD) will help us to complete additional floor to the existing building and meet our requirements for next 2 years.

15. Since there seems to be many possible parties funding, which approach do you think would be more transparent to track?As a steward, do you think it is more effective to do a one-time funding, or to take care of running costs?
1. We personally don’t recommend one time funding, but on staggered manner
2. We need to establish coordination system to track the utilization of funds on a regular manner and there after release the next level of funds.

3. This process should ensure tracking of funds along with stated objectives
16. How much money is the trust expecting to raise from Indian sources like GiveIndia etc.? Is there a committed amount already for 2008-09?
1. The Indian sources like GiveIndia or United Ways work on the principal of donor aggregation, so there is no commitment from these institutes.
2. however these institutes will make our institute information available to the national and international donors and help us in diverting the funds to right cause

3.The discussions are still into primary stages
17. What is the current source for the running costs like teacher salaries (who was funding it in 2007-08)?
1. The salary expenses and non salary expenses of non grantable schools are
met through public donations (Consolidated Trust Funds contributed by individual donors).
2. Only salary expenses of grantable schools are met through government grants and non salary expenses are met through consolidated Trust funds

18. What according to you is the greatest strength of this project?
1. Committed resources like Board members, Dedicated teachers and support staff
19. What is the greatest weakness?
1. As a education establishment, the trust doesn’t have sustainable financial support base to generate funds required for the new project implementations
2. As of now, the funds are generated through local participation, but due to frequent floods the local economy is into bad shape, which has dried up the flow of funds
(Qs. from Dilip below, Asha SV, site-visitor)

20. Schools start only after June 15. So site visit is after that time. Is that right? Or is this a non-state school with their own timings/dates?
1. Dilip and Siddarth ( Past Student of school co-ordinating visit in India) co-ordinating visit after school start in June 10-20)
2. All Schools run as per State Education Board, Kolhapur division dates. All schools are approved by state govt.
21. You mentioned about long-term plan with govt. schools. Are there any govt. schools around? I see answer in Q. 26 to this. But not sure of distance.
1. There are three govt school around New highschool and in 1Km circle.
2. Please elaborate on "You mentioned about long-term plan with govt. schools". If its related to Trust getting govt. aid for all school. That will be long term solution for Trust.
22. It is mentioned "Trust is primarily looking for help to complete construction of building for New Highschool Yashwantnager. This will be a good source of Income for Trust as after completion of building, Trust will receive 8% of salary cost as rent from Government as per the rules per year. That will help School to cover the Non-Grantable schools running cost." I did not understand this....Can you please elaborate, in case I need to go into details during site visit
As per the provision in govt laws, in case any NGO run Schools, govt will provide necessary approval/Grands as per policy. And if Trust builts own building for School, Gove is bound to give yearly rent to school which is best of known source 8% of cost of construction. Trust people can provide more details on it during visit.
23. From the wiki page..."Problem - unable to raise enough funds to subsidize fees of students." Looks like more students don't pay since they are SC/ST/NT and there is government aid for such students.

Does it matter whether they are underprivileged or not? Also, if only funding infrastructure does this question count?
The word “fees” used here as a substitute for education expenses incurred by a family of student to educate a student. There is no tution fee collected from or to be paid by students as all of the students get EBC (Economically Backward Class) fee waver, however there is an additional cost attached to education, in the form of education instruments, books, uniforms and exam fees and there exists an opportunity cost involved by educating a working hand by forgoing expected income from him/her.

The Trust aims at providing complete education solution free of cost to those who need it by raising funds from society. This way we try to subsidize the education cost of students by absorbing incurred cost by ourselves.
The Trust indents to provide quality education to its students, enabling them to break the cycle of poverty and compete equally. To create such environments, we need to invest into creating facilities and infrastructure, where we can provide contemporary education to our students

24. Just curious...I was looking at ASER reports of Sangli and find that the numbers are really good. The kids only seem to lack in English, which will happen here too since they seem to be learning in Marathi. So how was it found that govt. schools or other schools don't work?
Its true that Sangli has good education set up and have some institutes almost 100 years old. These institutes available in the city of Sangli, which is almost 10 Kms away from Yashwant nagar. In last 10 years, Sangli has grown tremendously. As other urban areas cursed with improper urban set up, City of Sangli, surrounded by illegal colonies, slum areas also has got its own problems. In year 1987, when NHY was started in Yashwant nagar, there have been only one Govt School available, which was providing education till 7th standard and there after students were traveling to Sangli for further education. The only mode of transport was extremely infrequent buses available from state transport or bicycles.

The cost of education was very high (We can compare the income levels of families in year 1987) and many students, mainly girls’ students have to give away their quest for education.

NHY in its initial years offered standards from 8th to 10th and subsequently started offering from 5th standard onwards. We don’t say that Government schools are not working, they are really doing commendable job of providing mass education with scarce resources they have, but if you look into the quality of students who come to NHY after they complete 7th standard or 4th standard from Govt schools is really pathetic. The students enrolled for 5th standard can not even do minor mathematical calculations or students enrolled for 7th standard can not even write single grammatically correct sentence or write their own name in English. The students were found having very weak into foundation courses and that’s the reason that they are not equipped to face the competitions.

25. Performance pass-outs...It does not seem to have changed much in last 5 years as per point 29 a.
The number of students count is stable due to school not able to accomodate more students with current infrastructure trust able to run. This is the reason trust working hard to get building completed which will help to accomocate more students.
26. Salary Expenditure. I am curious here...Why is the salary of a headmaster quite as comparable to a peon or a clerk. Or is it peons and clerks?
Teachers. How many are there? I found student count, but not of teachers. Maybe I missed it...I saw a total of 55 across schools, not individually in each school.
1. All are yearly figures.
2. There will be more than one peon or clerk
3. Trust can provide actual division per head as they need to work towards managing salaries with flow of donation.
27. How are the 4 schools run by the trust separated geographically? i.e. how many kms away from each other? (This is a followup qn based on Dilip's recommendation in his site visit report to possibly merge the other 2 schools (Vidya Mandir and Pragati) with Adharsh Vinay and YHS. And does the school currently provide any school bus facility for the students? (If so, how man buses?, and If not, how do the students typically commute to the schools) - PS
Vidya Mandir & Pragati are 7-8 KM from Adarsh Vinay and YHS. So not feasible to merge. Trust do not provide bus service as all students in 1-2km circle are covered by each school. All students mostly come to school by walk or bi-cycle. As Siddharth provided teacher's attrition as cause towards performance. Best approach would be to help trust to provide better compensation to maintain good teachers to improve results.
28. What is the current status of Loknayak's FCRA application, and what is the estimated time by which you expect to receive the FCRA? Has the field review step happened yet? Did you face any roadblocks until now?

i was just going through the proposal. just wanted a bit of detail about the break up of number of teachers in the schools. the difference in salaries between headmasters of different schools and between the headmasters and the teachers seems to a lot. for pragati vidyalay the headmaster's salary is <1000 rs while that of vidyamandir primary and high school is more than 10,000. i don't know the number of teachers in each school so don't know what their salary is but in vidyamandir primary even if there were two teachers their salary would be ~1500 while that of the headmaster is>10,000. i am not aware how disparate the salaries generally are but the difference seems to be a lot to me specially when the qualifications are the same.
Sudhakar's response:
Thought all schools as govt approved, New Highschool is only having government Aid. Rest are run by Trust with help of donations they get from generous people in the region. Trust tries to make balance of GOVT advised pay structure and donations they get. That's the reason you see that difference.

Due to this limitations, number of teaching and non-teaching staff is shared across different school. The staff put all efforts to server all schools.