Increasing slums, mammoth number of street children and lack of facilities in government schools is leading to a situation where even if the child wants to study, the facilities are not there, particularly in rural schools.
The situation is becoming worse as the literacy rate amongst girls is decreasing in rural India. A country that houses the largest number of children in the world, much more than China, needs to develop quality infrastructure facilities, particularly in rural schools. There needs to be a 360 degree approach in addressing this problem. Not just quality education, children also need nutrition, as for complete care in respect of their health and education is essential in the interest of future of India.
As per UNICEF report, school attendance is very low among girls in Rajasthan. Female literacy is as low as 40 per cent in the State. Further, sharp drop in secondary school attendance poses a big challenge and requires immediate intervention. Lack of drinking water facilities, separate toilet for girls, teachers and lack of infrastructure etc. are only leading to increase in dropouts.
Vedanta’s group company, Hindustan Zinc has taken a major step in improving the facilities in rural government schools under the Public Private Partnership model with Rajasthan Government. Under this model, Vedanta Hindustan Zinc has signed an MoU with the Government to adopt 92 Government Schools in phases in Chittorgarh and Bhilwara District of Rajasthan.
Ultimate aim is to adopt 92 schools, 72 Government schools in Bhilwara for 5 years and 20 schools in Chittorgarh for 3 years. The company would spend about Rs. 3.35 Crore on this project.
This project would provide basic infrastructure facilities like construction of class rooms, boundary walls of the school, installation of hand pumps, ceiling fans, coolers, construction of toilets, playgrounds, furniture for the children etc.
The project will also provide scholarships to meritorious students. The company also plans to encourage plantation drive to develop green belt in schools.
To monitor the success of the project, a committee of 5 members has been formed which would have 2 members from Vedanta Hindustan Zinc, 2 from school and 1 member nominated by District Magistrate. Based on the need of the school authority and assigned budget, the project will be executed by Vedanta Hindustan Zinc. This would also ensure optimum utilization of funds.
Earlier Vedanta Hindustan Zinc had provided 1000 computers to 200 government schools in rural areas and e-subject software support to about 500 schools. The company is providing daily mid-day meal to over 180,000 students in 2000 government schools in Rajasthan to ensure nutrition support to students. Most of these children are from poor family and need regular nutrition support.