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  project name ~ Swanirwar - Shikshamitra 2007

category ~ Education - Child




  Project Name


Swanirwar - Shikshamitra 2007






Education - Child






West Bengal

  Budget Approved


$ 3600


  Year Approved







  Chapter Coordinators


Anand Kumar
Madhavi Valluri


San Diego









Shikshamitra ( Friends of Learning) is a program to create alternate educational system, catering to diverse needs based on recognizing the skills of students who are motivated to pursue those skills, through activity based learning. Students are trained in various traits based on their interest and offered vocational training and marketing the end products that students make. Shikshamitra started on 18th April – 2005 and it consists of a Learning Centre (the school) as well as an Education Resource Centre (ERC). School is has been started in a slum area of Kolkata and it largely enroll dropouts from mainstream education, who are usually very poor economically. ERC is basically a library with more than 1200 books, audio visuals and documentation of Shikshamitra’s work.





This year 31 students registered in this schooling which is higher than the past years. Gandhian concept of learning was introduced. Students were trained in production of cloth based materials like coaster, school bags, and cloth patches. Some of these materials are already in the market after fine finishing of these products by senior girls during their evening classes. Kids have been encroached to think independently and to bring creativity. All the stories these young minds have come with have been compiled and has been published in June 2007, which in itself is being used as class text. Computer classes has been made mandatory to all students for 2 hours a week. Two of these students have become adept in typing Bangla and provisions will be made for in house jobs for these students and this has at large increased confidence in students. A book of stories written by students was published on June 2007 and is being used as class text. The science teachers at Shikhamitra participated in science workshop and training offered by trained renowned science teacher trainer Samar Bagchi, formerly director of Birla Industrial and Technology Museum (BITM). Much interesting material has been developed in Bengali over the period.





The current schooling system is failing to help build the confidence needed in students to prepare them for the future and which would be of help in their vocation and day to day life. The system is very rigid with its compulsory voluminous syllabus for all, irrespective of the individuals’ need and aptitudes. This results in elimination of a large number of students much before Class – X. needless to say the ‘majority pushed out’ are the poor – gaining little in these years and losing own survival skills in the bargain. Shikshamitra (Friends of Learning) a program of Swanirwar is working for creating such alternate educational system catering to individuals with different needs, skills and aptitude, to address these concerns. And the goal is not just to provide alternative system but also to influence the mainstream educational system and accept this form of approach, which is needed not only for poor but for all, through these efforts.



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