Towards creation of policies and programs, SDPP along with their partner Quality Education and Skills Training (QUEST) developed a list of 40 topics which provided reasons for school dropouts and means to be adopted in order to meet the challenges of high rate of school dropouts in India by developing and documenting programs, directed towards the target group, for implementation of the same. These topics successfully covered an analysis of education system based on the legal context like to make provisions for free and compulsory education, help at-risk children and girls to obtain educational services, scheduling flexible school calendars and making crucial decisions regarding the size of a classroom, facilities provided by the school (like female friendly facilities, clean hostels and dormitories), recruitment of teachers in proportion to student size, special training for the teachers and evaluation of their behaviour in the classroom ( friendly, approachable and use of mother tongue to help the students understand the subject), several support services provided by the school apart from basic education like the conduct of bridge courses for dropout students, health services for weak students to help them continue with their education or meal facility in schools to attract student enrolment and mitigation of cultural practices that lead to student dropouts (like child marriage). These programs and policies are the result of interventions by SDPP relating to the educational context.
HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF DROPOUT PREVENTION POLICY ADOPTED BY INDIA
India has put in place an elaborate provision of policies for the use of improvised standards in providing quality education for children which may help invariably in reducing the number of school dropouts every year. The centrally sponsored flagship program of Government of India, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has been developed to ensure that all educational policies are implemented as per the plans. The program has provided scope for the provision of several outreach and bridge programs in order to re-educate out of school children by enrolling them in a transit class and helping them learn the subjects that they failed to learn in the break period after dropping out in child-friendly classrooms aiming for inclusive growth of the dropout students towards acquiring their basic education.
Initially a list of 42 policy topics were included for evaluation of policies related to dropout prevention which was later on reduced to 41. Selection of topics to overcome this problem in education system was based on the goal targeted towards encouragement of parents to educate their children (like slashing fees for public schools, putting curbs and bans on child labour), support of teachers to pursue quality education for students (like their code of conduct, use of mother tongue to teach local students), or support for the children to stay in school (like availing female-friendly facilities, proper health care facility in schools, clean hostels and dormitories).
The 5 most important areas which were included in the policy are:
(1) Legal framework for education. The educational laws and rules of the country were designed to implement, address the need for free and compulsory education( RTE Act, 2009) and identify the factors which hamper some children from gaining access to education (like inability to pay for the cost of uniforms, stationaries, entrance fees, gender issues, lack of facilities for enrolment of at-risk children or children with disabilities, a rigid school schedule that prevents the children from agricultural families from attending the school during agricultural season when they are required to help their families in their work, no provision for alternative educational programs and other vocational programs to help dropout children in continuing their studies).
(2) School facilities. These facilities include the provision of female-friendly facilities and clean dormitories or hostels providing good food.
(3) Teacher recruitment, training, and behaviour in the classroom. This provision seeks to develop and improve the process of delivery of education services in classrooms to condemn any kind of misbehaviour by teachers, discrimination, partiality and facilitate a friendly learning environment ensured by qualified teachers.
(4) School support services. The provision for these comprise of services such as bridge courses for overage dropout students, a noontime meal for poor children in government schools, health care facilities for weak students, or promotion of life skill classes.
(5) Cultural practices. This provision mitigates the negative effects of cultural practices which affects the child's continuance in the education system due to child marriage, early pregnancy, and other rites of passage.
In 2010,the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Framework of Implementation was updated by the government by specifying the means how the policy for dropout prevention can be implemented and along the same line authorized the SSA to monitor its implementation.
A review on the legal context of education in India was done to include a list of factors into consideration which help the children to gain access or retention in school. Such factors were identified as:
1. Examinations to enter a new grade or cycle in schools
2. Easier Promotion, a minimum quota for passing the student or provision of automatic promotion
3. Gender sensitive classrooms, to encourage girls to continue education;
4. Special services for at-risk children and children with disabilities like bridge programs, residential schools and creation of an inclusive environment for children of all caste, tribe, language or physical/mental problem;
5. Flexibility in School calendar, flexibility of schooling for children who are needed to support their families in agriculture or fishing during the respective seasons
6. Small Class size, a smaller class size to promote personal attention to students;
7. Lifting bars on Age limits; to be removed for acquiring school education
8. Reducing the distance of school from habitation, reduce the distance of school from children's home. Set up of a school at every 7-10 kms distance from habitation ;
9. Transportation facility, providing cycles, buses and other modes of transport to pick children
10. Transfer requirements between the schools in different regions to help the student to continue with their studies
11. The concept of enrolling 50 percent female teachers in elementary schools, and a number of programs to promote female literacy, non-formal education centres and bridge programs for girls and at-risk children to come back to school, (c) residential schools for girls from disadvantaged groups who might face difficulty in attending her school regularly, and assistance on cash, uniforms, and books and other items for poor children.
12. Supporting at-risk students - Inclusive educational framework for at-risk children and those with disabilities; through non-formal education centres, bridge programs, scholarships, etc.
CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN EDUCATION POLICY FOR DROPOUT PREVENTION
India has institutionalized a policy to allow local school authorities to adjust their schedule for numerous children who are unable to attend school due to family engagements in agriculture and fishing during the respective seasons.
The government has given directions to schools for having a teacher per class for each subjects like science, mathematics, social and language from standard 6-8 while in cases where the student enrolment exceeds 100, the school is required to recruit a full-time teacher and some part-time instructors taking classes on art education, physical education, and other work related education. The prescribed pupil-teacher ratio for secondary school is set at 40:1.
Indian government has laid down strict limits on reach and access of a school within 5 kms from the child's habitation for secondary school and within 7-10 kms for higher secondary education from the student's habitation. Also the schools are asked by some states to provide transportation facility to help children with disabilities and children travelling to school from distant places. The government in some states has provided bicycles to girls to facilitate and promote girl child education. The government has set guidelines for providing female-friendly facilities in school like a separate girl's toilet, Hostel facility, Dormitories and rest rooms for girls, drinking water facility, a neat kitchen to prepare nutritional mid-day meals for students, a playground and enough open space for students to practice sports and address the safety and security concerns of the students like fire alarm, proper earthling facility, first aid, etc.
Some measures include:
1. Aiding the professional development of school teachers by Authorizing in-service
Training for their improved performance
2. 10-day in-service training every year for elementary teachers
3. 5 day in-service training every year for both secondary and higher secondary teachers
inclusive of training of principal and vice principal.
4. 30 day induction training for newly recruits of teachers to provide orientation of following SSA priorities in their teaching.
School Support Services
Additional services to assist students and retain them in the school like vocational program and remedial, residential programs or bridge programs for students at risk of a dropout from
1. The Education Guarantee Scheme, by SSA, supports the establishment of centres or
2. schools for young children in rural areas to provide them their right to elementary education.
3. The Alternative and Innovative Education Program (AIE), by SSA, offers support for deprived children (like street children, working children, children from migrant families, etc.) to help them continue their education; either through residential school programs or bridging programs set up by SSA.
4. Special programs to support student transition from elementary school to secondary
5. Programs to bring the out-of-school children in the age group of 15 to 18 years back to continue their education in schools. Evaluation of the AIE program has revealed the program has benefitted the government and schools in bringing back school dropouts to continue their schooling.
Support services to attract and retain students in school like the mid-day meals scheme for elementary school children, health service for weak students like provisions for de-worming and adding supplements for micro-nutrients in their diet, the distribution of health cards and support in referral services, conduct of workshops in life skill training for secondary students and higher secondary students. Organization of SMCs giving due representation to parents from all cultural, income groups to provide for better education management and ensure its quality. Special programs have been chalked out to achieve this like Lok Jumbish, the Janshala Program aid and Shiksha Karmi, have been initiated in the building of Village Education Committees to create awareness on the importance of education and vouch for greater participation and involvement of parents in their child's education.
Efforts to Eradicate detrimental Cultural Practices which prevent access to education in communities
Some practices are following the traditional practice of early marriage, observing the traditional rites of passage which interfere with the school schedule, and issues regarding pregnancy. Indian government has raised the legal age for marriage to 18 years for females and 21 years for males, though some castes and ethnic groups in rural areas still follow the practice of child marriage. It is also observed that girls do not get back to school after pregnancy due to social restrictions.
School Dropout Prevention Pilot Program: Some key Policies and Programs to reduce school dropouts
1. Child Labour (Prohibition and regulation) Act, 1986
2. National Child Labour Policy, 1987
3. National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme
4. The Alternative and Innovative Education Program (AIE) under SSA
5. The National Program of Nutritional Support to Primary Education or Mid-Day Meals Scheme
Launched on 15th August, 1995, HRD Ministry, Government of India.
6. The Early Childhood Care and Education for children between 3-6 years (ECCE)
7. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009
8. The National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL)
9. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Framework of Implementation (SSA), 2010
10. Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support (ADEPTS)
NEW POLICIES BY SDPP( Student Dropout Prevention Pilot Program) AND ITS EVALUATION TO PREVENT SCHOOL DROPOUTS
Provision of Automatic promotion:
The SSA prepared the policy of automatic promotion towards encouragement of children for continuing their elementary education up to Grade 8, in order to minimize the chances of their repetition and consequent dropout from class in schools, although the no detention provision of elementary school students has its own consequences (Aggarwal, 2001; Thomas, 2001; Azim Premji Foundation, 2004; Ramachandran et al, 2004; Majumdar, 2006;). This may result in children getting promoted to higher class and grades without attaining mastery on the subjects taught in class due to complacency. One major concern in this regard is their inability to acquire reading skills (Bhattacharjea, 2007) and such children may dropout because of their inability to cope with studies. This may even lead to complacency of teachers.
Provision of inclusion of new students to a class based on their age instead of degree of learning:
RTE Act, Section 4: Children who could not complete their primary education and are over six years must be admitted in school to a class which is appropriate for their age and must receive training to catch up with their studies.
RTE Act, Section 3(1) deals with the right to free and compulsory education for children in elementary schools and Section 13(1) puts restriction on having screening procedure for their admission in schools.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Framework of Implementation (SSA), 2010, is enacted to focus on the provision of quality primary education for children by emphasising on their learning for life and bridging the gap between all gender and across social categories.
Provision on Inclusion: Do children with disabilities, from low caste and at high risk prefer to continue their education in school?
The National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL), is a significant part of SSA, that aims to provide education to backward community children which have a low rural female literacy rate that is lower than the national average (46%) and the gender gap reported in such areas is higher than the national average (22%); or in blocks where there are 5% SC/ST population and the reported SC/ST female literacy is lower than 10%; and in some urban slums. Evaluation of such results have shown the predominance of uneven quality of teaching, adoption of a fragmented approach and weak local planning in such areas. This program is a popular program and is perceived as a successful intervention by government to improve the attendance of girl child in schools and thereby prevent their dropout.
Support for at-risk students and those with disabilities
RTE Act, Section 3(2): This provision gives the child suffering from disability a right to pursue free and compulsory education as part of his/ her right. Sections 8(c) and 9(c): The appropriate government is directed to ensure that children who come from low-income families and belong to certain disadvantaged groups must not be subject to any discrimination that prevents them from pursuing their primary education.
As per the Phase III report submitted by SIERT for Rajasthan (quoted in Kaushal, 2008), the class based retention (I-V) has increased in schools by 13%-15% from the year 2003-07.The author has attributed this phenomenal increase to the success of mid-day meal program. However, another study on the meal program in India states that the increase in enrolment, retention and attendance of students is not due to this scheme rather the efforts of SSA in spreading awareness on education. Also the research studies that were conducted by The National Council for Educational Research/Training and some other institutions in India reveal a significant positive impact on retention of students in primary grades due to the success of early childhood programs. Also reported is that 92% of children who have been rescued from work or labour, have expressed that they could not join any school to pursue their studies, and would love to go back to school.
Under RMSA, 2.1.3, 6.1.5, 6.1.6, 126.96.36.199 and 6.3, the state has provided facilities for inclusive education like Hostels, dormitories or residential schools facility, cash incentives to support poor children, free uniforms, free books, and separate toilet facility for girls and to children at risk, free mid-day meal facility and other facilities to support differently abled children in schools for their secondary education. Upon evaluation, it has been observed that in Andhra Pradesh, the reported percentage of out-of-school children/ dropouts has decreased from 5.9% to 4.1% due to successful interventions.
Provision on Gender-sensitivity:
The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) program, introduced under SSA, ensures access to quality education for girls from disadvantaged groups like SC, ST, OBC and minority communities in backward blocks, provided through the setup of residential schools. The evaluation of the program states that the states have failed to collect information on the dropout rates. Also field visits by teams have confirmed the dropping out of girls in these regions.
The National Program for Education of Girls at Elementary Level (NPEGEL),
The program under SSA, targets (a) development and promotion of facilities to enable access and to increase retention of girls by means of encouraging their active participation in education, (b) improvement of the quality of education.
Evaluation of the program has reported education imparted in uneven quality, by adoption of fragmented approach and with weak local planning in backward areas. This program is hugely popular for improving attendance of girls in classrooms.
Mahila Samakhya program is an innovative approach which lays emphasis on the process rather than just the achievement of targets. It is divided in four parts: (a) establishment of non-formal centres for education; (b) changing the perceptions regarding girls in families, (c) aid enrolment and retention of girls in schools; and (d) establish and promote 'bridge schools' for adolescents along with monitoring of local schools.
Provision on In-service training:
Recruitment of para teachers (contract teachers), by the community, at a lower pay scale, for both formal and alternative schools, to support and meet the demands for education within the availability of limited finance for primary education has proved to be beneficial for the education system.
The Shiksha Karmi project adopted by Rajasthan schools has managed to improve their enrolment, attendance and retention rates. As per the observations of the Amartya Sen's Pratichi Trust in West Bengal has indicated a high child attendance rate, high parental satisfaction level and low teacher absenteeism rate in alternative schools which were taught by para teachers.
Recruitment of teachers
The RTE Act, 2009 provides provision of quality education to school children, inclusive of provisions for qualified teachers along with appropriate pupil teacher ratios (40:1) and with the condition of schools to have vacancies for teachers not greater than 10 % . This program expects rationality in redeployment of teachers.
RTE Act, Section 23 sets guidelines for minimum qualification for teacher to support the training facility for untrained school teachers.
Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support (ADEPTS) aims to make improvements in the performance of teacher in classrooms and improve quality of training to help improve their teaching.
The RMSA, 4.6, a scheme that has been adopted for universalisation of access to and to improve the quality of education at secondary/ higher secondary, requires a compulsory 5 day in-service training of secondary teachers, principals and vice principals annually.
It is designed to build on their classroom activities, provide focus in achievement of specific outcomes for teachers, and improve their overall effectiveness to meet their performance benchmarks. The specifications on training have been clearly indicated in the program.
Directions to tackle the problem of student dropouts in future
Development of an Early Warning System (EWS)
The EWS is to be developed to identify key players in school (school principals and teachers) and in the corresponding community (parents, volunteers, opinion leaders,) to facilitate collaboration in taking strict actions to keep track of the regular attendance of different students in order to mitigate school dropout. The EWS will aim to enhance the priorities of schools to address the various needs of its at-risk pupils, and build a strong partnership between parents and school authority to facilitate monitoring and making improvements in recording school attendance and performance to reduce absenteeism, and raise the awareness among parents on the benefits of having their children stay in school, complete their education and the necessary support provided by school to their child.
The EWS has to identify students at-risk of drop out from school and to develop a data-driven evidential tracking process with the mention of key predictors of identified dropouts based on the records of attendance, behaviour, performance, and socio-economic status (SES) of the child. Also the program will provide referral guides for such at-risk students of dropping out with services for health referrals, scholarships, educational opportunities and other initiatives.
Promotion of Recreation Activities
Training will be conducted to promote the EWS and the recreational/enrichment component of the program. Training of teachers (ToT) will be provided by the master trainers who would in turn be trained by the government. Orientation for schools will be conducted to facilitate proper monitoring of officers on maintenance of accurate data records. The following recreation activities will be promoted through the program:
1. Creative Arts (painting, drawing, crafts):
2. Sports and Games:
3. Literary Arts (Reading and Storytelling):
Training the teachers
The teachers and the community champions will be trained by the government and consultants as per their expertise. Continuous programmatic and operational support is to be provided over the year by program officers. There will be a workshop conducted to familiarize teachers with the training project by interventions and evaluations. Their responsibilities will allocated during the workshop for a batch of 30-35 teachers across 4-5 blocks.
Every school will be provided with a storage cabinet for maintenance of records on dropout prevention programs to be submitted to the government in due time.
Building Bridges Dropout Prevention Initiative in US
In 2007, Washington State in US was among the first states in US to direct a comprehensive effort for addressing the issue of high rates of school dropouts. They were implemented by seeking broad bipartisan support, in 2007 by the State Legislature which funded for the Substitute House Bill 1573.
The aim of the Building Bridges is to develop partnerships between state and local to prevent the crisis of increasing number of school dropouts in the State. For achievement of this program the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board where handed the responsibility of overseeing this pilot program in the State for lowering their school dropout risk.
In January 2008, OSPI provided funding for 15 local partnerships by selection based on their success in competitive submission process in 2007. Building Bridges also created a list of state partners in some stakeholder groups for help in implementation of the policy, through the process of workforce deployment, public awareness, and other development efforts to address the dropout problem.
Universities were selected to function as evaluators of the Building Bridges program.
Building Bridges programs are adapted to:
1. Create an effective model based on school/community collaborations among stakeholders.
2. Develop comprehensive plans for prevention, early intervention, and retrieval activities for helping students at risk of a drop out
3. Enhancement of efforts to facilitate return of pre-existing dropouts.
4. Funding for vulnerable students through child welfare initiatives and juvenile justice.
5. Attain local partnership in dropout prevention, retrieval system and intervention for funding help from private sector
Across the four program domains, there are consistent practices identified as characteristics of effective programs. These are:
1. Greater involvement of Parent/guardian in child's education
2. Incentives for high attendance
3. Collaboration with community partners like law enforcers, mentors, mental health workers and other service providers.
4. Goals to achieve better program performance, student performance like good record keeping and continuous evaluation of progress.
5. Intensive case management to identify programs which show a high success rate to achieve dropout prevention goals
6. Educational access to children with general health or mental health concerns
7. Effect of Family, community, family and behavioural problems like poverty, bullying, family violence, low parental support resulting in high dropouts.
Specific student dropouts are observed in groups which are identified below:
1. Under juvenile justice vigilance
2. In foster care.
3. Identified for special education.
4. From minority communities having high dropouts
AMERICAN DROPOUT TRENDS AND STATUS
1.3 million Students in United states failed to graduate from high schools in 2004, which cost more than $325 billion loss of wages, productivity and taxes(Alliance for Excellent Education, 2007). More than 12 million students who are likely to drop out in the next decade as per projections, will eventually cost the nation a loss of around $3 trillion (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2007).
A recent study on high school students of Philadelphia, which was conducted by Ruth Curran Neild and Robert Balfanz (2006), found that among every five students working on their high school diploma, three teenagers have reportedly dropped out which is a sad figure.
Some important observations are:
1. 30 percent of students who entered high school will fail to graduate in next four years, and which includes half of African American students and Latino students failing to graduate high school in next four years (Greene & Winters, 2005).
2. There are considerable ill-effects on the health of high school dropout (Gibbons, 2006).
3. Because high school graduates are less likely to commit crimes which ultimately reduces the cost spent on criminal justice system (American Youth Policy Forum, 2006).
4. United States holds a rank of 17th position in high school graduation rates (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 2006).
The researchers have pointed out that schools need to identify dropout students who belong to the following criteria's to bring down the dropout rates:
1. Poor grades in subjects,
2. Low attendance
3. Failure to obtain promotion to next grade
4. Students disengaged in the studies and classroom.
These are better predictors for dropout rather than other fixed status indicators based on gender, race, and poverty studies in US. (Jerald, 2006; Rumberger, 2004).
Some social indicators which lead to high school dropout rates are identified as:
1. Abused and Neglected Students
Some Highlighted Features of Research-based Dropout Prevention Programs
1. Achievement for Latinos through Academic Success
This program provides supports at student-level and aims to build bridges among homes and schools through counsellors providing supports to the targeted students and their families, to monitor the students and report their performance to parents regarding attendance and truancy regular basis and expressing personal interest in students by making positive reinforcements and assigning group bonding activities (Jerald, 2007). These helps are provided to students from minority sub groups.
2. The research-based Check & Connect intervention
This program provides for training and monitoring of small students groups by closely following their performance relating to tardiness, behavioral referrals, absenteeism and academic performance, hold a meeting with students each week by staying in touch with their families and updating them on their progress. The personalized attention also provides arrangement for transportation facilities and other community services. The Check & Connect program tracks attendanceand other performance indicators very closely (Jerald, 2007).
3. The Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program (VYP)
This program which was evaluated showed merely one percent dropout rate when compared to the rate of 12 percent dropout in other comparison groups. It involves intensive tutoring with focus on academics and learning as well as engagement of students while including student, tutors and some cross-age tutor groups by providing individualized services to students at risk of dropout from schools (Fashola & Slavin, 1998; Intercultural Development Research Association, 2004).
4. Talent Development program
This program report identifies that three needs for supports for ninth grade to help in attainment of positive outcomes with regard to improved attendance, rates of promotion to 10th grade and academic course credits earned (Kemple, Herlihy, & Smith, 2005) which are as below:
a. Formation of ninth-grade academies to achieve success: by employing the schools within a school concept, where groups of ninth graders are provided opportunities to share classrooms and teachers;
b. block scheduling: which offers the provision of catch-up courses in maths and English reading through the use of block schedule, to enable ninth graders to complete subjects like English and Algebra I in their second semester;
c. Specialized preparation classes in high schools for a smooth transition to higher grades. This program showed moderate positive effects in reading and math for Talent Development, and also addressed the concerns of attendance, grade promotions, etc., (Comprehensive School Reform Center, 2006).
5. The America's Choice program
This school improvement program offers catch-up courses referred as Ramp Up for Algebra I and Literacy which has gained moderate positive outcomes in maths and reading (Comprehensive School Reform Centre, 2006). Another program developed in similar lines is the First Things First program, which again demonstrates moderately positive effects.
6. The School Transitional Environmental Program (STEP)
This program assigns the at-risk students to special training and support by teachers in the homerooms throughout the day whenever guidance is required and it was noted that the STEP participants were unlikely to dropout (American Youth Policy Forum, 1998).
7. 'Multiple paths to graduation' initiative by New York City offers alternative learning means for older students like the Young Adult Borough Centres for daytime and evening classes (Jerald, 2007). The city has set up transfer schools for students who lag in their studies due to truancy along with 'Learning to Work' program that focusses on career development.
8. Career Academies, features a career orientation program based on small learning communities in schools, by providing internships for students in local businesses and technical coursework as part of their academic course. The students in Career Academies stayed longer in school but did not earn diploma at high rates in comparison to other groups (Kemple & Snipes, 2000).
9. The Right to Intervention (RTI) program, caters to populations with special needs where students are assessed regularly to track their progress and the evaluate the need for increased and intense academic/ behavioural supports for students (National High School Centre, 2007). Data regarding student performance, engagement and impact is compiled in this regard.
OTHER SERVICES FOR SUPPORT
1. Providing Health facilities
2. Workforce Deployment
3. Social Security programs
4. Vocational and Rehabilitation programs
Therefore the US government has identified the following needs to address the problem of school dropouts in future:
1. Prevention measures to address the dropout risks through the impact of change in student attitudes towards education and the importance of school completion, improvement in school culture, school affiliation programs, creating awareness among families regarding their child's education and dropout, enhanced support by the community and grouping of students with similar dropout and risk factors
2. Early intervention measures for the identified students who are enrolled in schooling, but demonstrate the risk for dropout. Mentoring and monitoring attendance and make instant follow-up with students to discuss their plans regarding their credit completion while dealing with their course failure, providing family support services relating to their dropout risk, provision of alternative education and learning leading to their graduation, and other support plans to address their school failure like the problem of poverty consequences, family crises, mental health concerns, substance abuse, etc.
3. Dropout recovery measures for high school students who have discontinued their education by aligning with the goal of re-enrolling them in regular schools.
Evaluation of programs
The program was implemented successfully with support of partnerships with agencies towards program coordination, funding and development/ implementation. The Programs report meaningful progress in both in-kind and cash matching.
Significant investments were made in early 6 month period towards the professional development of the Building Bridges staff and their community partners. They were asked to attend trainings. The early training needs were used to address the social and emotional troubles of students.
Special projects program was employed to address the following needs
To identify early successes and challenges in students education by plotting the indicators of success like staff training, better relationships with school authorities, parental involvement in education, criteria for student engagement, credit retrieval programs and increasing the scope of program partnerships.
Challenges identified were short timelines, delay in program implementation, improper funding decisions, limited resources for grant and the challenge of coordination with the full array of partners in order to effectively address the students' program needs.
Following modifications were proposed to the plan:
Provision of formal training for staffs, services to deliver on the student needs like summer training for credit retrieval programs, expanded scope for outreach programs, and engaging new partners which were not found in the earlier proposal. These Programs have reported early progress in engagement of students in the initial months of their programs. Huge numbers of participants reflected the enhanced services provided by the established programs like the alternative schools program and other new programs introduced via funding by Building Bridges program.
The Building Bridges programs have reported great progress in their implementation during the initial six month period of operation with significant progress made in engagement of students in education who had earlier dropped out, increase in their school attendance and improvement in their academic performance. Also one-third of consortia has reported progress in students at risk of dropping out by helping them in their credit retrieval and provides assistance for their graduation.
The Building Bridges program building enrolments record 32 % Building Bridges programs and 34 % enrolment of diverse student of Washington State by exhibiting a range of diversity in 6 of 15 programs which has around 50 % diverse students.
Comparisons on the effect of educational policy interventions on Dropout prevention in US and India
Often it is observed in India, we have a great policy on paper but its implementation is weak and leads to inefficiencies in allocation of funds for programs due to problems like red tape, corruption and waste of resources leading to delay in the implementation process of the programs. Although certain progress in populating a great dropout prevention policy has been put in place but only few states like Rajasthan, West Bengal have tapped the potential of the policy to make major transformations in the education system in order to uproot the problem of huge dropout rates of students in School. While in US the government has made successful implementation of their plan to overcome high dropouts in schools by institutionalizing a great private- public partnership to conduct the necessary reforms or interventions within the specified timeframe. Another reason for higher dropout rates in India is due to the low economic/ social background or the problems of children from migrant families to continue their study in the current setup. Also a huge population in the country makes the implementation of programs even more difficult when compared to US. Also the barriers posed by diverse culture, traditional practices, male dominant society on the education of children of all color, class, gender and creeds has made the provision of implementing the dropout prevention policy successfully even more difficult for the Indian government. Also US has included some innovative programs like programs for career guidance programs, academic achievement programs, Right to Intervention program, adult learning programs, program for Latinos in America, counselling and talent management programs which address the current needs for inclusive and efficient education system to prevent dropouts in schools, while the Indian education system is still in the process of evolving.
Outcome of Interest: The Situation Analysis based on pre-visits to the schools in India, has revealed that schools are reluctant to report dropouts and absenteeism among students as RTE provides the facility for automatic promotion and per capita financing to schools on the basis of their enrolment figures while there is no such instance in US where such means are employed.
Quality of Data: The situational analysis reveals that the class registers maintained are simply copied from reports of the previous year which amounted to having tens of thousands of fake figures of students, listed in their schools in order to obtain funds or acquire benefits like mid-day meal schemes, uniforms, text books etc. This practice has not been adopted in US as there is no lack of funds for US schools.
Teacher Shortage and Multi-grade Classrooms: A report by Pratichi (India) Trust and ADRI, states that the average number of teachers in primary schools is just 3.6 against the sanctioned figure of 5.4 teachers and also the teacher-student ratios in these schools are greater than 1:100. There is no shortage of teachers in US for children as the population demands of students in the nation is low and teachers are observed to give personal attention to students by adopting to the idea of inclusive education for all communities.
MDI and Sample Size: Towards implementation of the program in large districts in India, sample schools are to be selected from 4-5 blocks over doing it in the entire district which becomes a cause of concern. This is not a concern for US as it has in place a well laid out plan for effective evaluation of their program evaluation and often the implementations are observed to bear fruits due to the support of local and private partnerships in their educational program initiatives.
Timeframe: The timeframe allotted for implementation of the program in India (April 2012 to May 2013) offers just one academic year and a few months for the assessment of the impact, which brings down the timeframe for designing and operationalizing interventions to just 2 months. Sufficient time has been provided towards the implementation of the bridge programs to prevent dropouts are the implementation is achieved within the given time frame in US with sufficient time for evaluation of the plan.
C O N C LU S I O N
More research is needed both in US and India on their dropout prevention programs. The Graduation Promise Act, in US has agreed to provide more money for conducting extensive research on their dropout prevention program. (Steinberg, Johnson, & Pennington, 2006). The bill has requested for $2.5 billion financial assistance towards helping in prevention of dropouts in US schools. Also the green signal to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program enables students to avail supports for dropout prevention. Another significant move is that Indiana has enacted its Dropout Prevention Act of 2006, which calls for schools and districts to report the size of ninth graders who failed to get enough credits to move on to the next 10th grade and offers to provide assistance on the same to the students through a course recovery plan (Jerald, 2007). While the whole situation regarding drop out is more demanding in India as in order to prevent high dropout rates in schools the government has to deal with students of a huge, culturally diverse based on an orthodox system and geographically large country which poses barriers to the continuation of education of poor, backward children and girls due to the imposed social restrictions.
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