Nov 27,2011 - The funds were not transferred from AID pending approval of foreign contribution by SODEWS. It has now been obtained. The rather heavy monsoon is also over but it had nullified some of the leveling work. Work can begin now, once the funding is received.
This is the summary of the project proposal received from SODEWS which is organizing and supervising the revamping of the Netala elementary/middle school in
Uttarkashi in Uttarkhand. (SODEWS is a education NGO based in Jolarpet, TN, with close ties to AID-India, Chennai).
* The school is located in a somewhat remote and mountainous area and has LKG-8th std. The school is government recognized up to 5th, but the remaining classes are not
recognized due to lack of infrastructure of a playground.
* The school has CBSE syllabus with English medium instruction. There is a government school nearby, but the families here have supported the construction and running of the school because of the fact that they feel that the government school has poor quality of education. The school charges a nominal Rs. 200 per student per month, but additional resources are needed to run the school.
* The school was run by a local religious leader, but religious instruction has been strictly disallowed with a focus of Government syllabus. The school has been in trouble since the leader died and the board requested SODEWS (throigh US contacts) to administer reforms and improvements to get the school back on track.
* The schools operational budget deficit of about 5 lacs (out of 7.5 lacs) per yr will be met till May 2014 by Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation and the school and the community have begun efforts to get sustainable operating funds. While this will include raising of the fees to about Rs. 400 per student per month, other sources are being arranged. There is good confidence that this will happen.
* The school has submitted two proposal for infrastructural improvement to obtain government recognition and to serve the community in child education. (1) A playground construction in this mountainous area which will increase the chance of Government recognition significantly. This will cost about 5 lacs, out of which 1.1 lacs have been spent and the work has stopped awaiting resources. Much of the cost is involved in retaining walls so that the land does not slide. The work will take 3-4 months depending on weather and material supplies. (2) Construction of 2 school rooms for nursery, LKG and UKG classes near a stable road at a lower level. This is also a safety need since the small children have to climb up on slippery slopes. This would cost Rs. 14 lacs.
* It was recommended that AID-San Diego consider providing 3 lacs for the playground project which is well defined and goal oriented. We can wait for the outcome and determine if further support is warranted and justified. The reliability and involvement of long time AID partner SODEWS and personal regular visits by Poornima, Deputy Director of SODEWS gives good confidence in this decision. The risk of the school unable to be self sustainable in the long run is very much there and this is one of the concerns. But it is clear, in the short term this is definitely worthwhile for the children in that community.
* It was recommended that we vote to fund 3 lacs to SODEWS for the playground project, from current year funds, as a one time approval. This was done.