Project OoSC Launched to Empower India’s 17.8 Million Out of School Children, the highest total number of children out of school in South Asia

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Gorakhpur: Gorakhpur local and the multi-award-wining, international educationalist Amreesh Chandra, has announced the launch of Project OoSC (Out of School Children), a breakthrough initiative with a mission to enrol, educate and empower 127 million children out of school in the Commonwealth nations with a special focus on India’s 17.8 million Out of School Children between in ages 5-13 years, the highest number amongst other South Asian countries.

The project will establish 50 container schools across four states in India in its very first year, with the first container school is being established in the Gorakhpur District of Uttar Pradesh. Gorakhpur will soon see the light of the day as the work on the development of the container school has already begun with the laying down of the foundation stone to commence proposed construction. The container school upon its establishment will benefit hundreds of children in the village who had to discontinue their education for lack of resources and other infrastructural constraints.

The project that is based on the premise that “education is a basic right” goes a step further to ensure education through investing in better infrastructure and resources, such as the use of shipping container classrooms. Thanks to swift assembly and the ability to transport easily, Project OoSC’s use of shipping container classrooms helps to install infrastructure for education and enables more children to attend school. In addition, the project will help to ensure high standards of training to educators to enable the spread of quality education and to spark a literacy movement in remote communities across the commonwealth.

Project OoSC lays a strong emphasis on training teachers to ensure quality instruction in the classroom. Another broad objective of the project is to start a literacy movement amongst communities that are widely ignored. This will be achieved by way of establishing container literacy homes or libraries inspiring young people learn more through providing access to reading material. The project is strongly banking on community participation for its success and the enthusiasm of the people during the launch of the first container school bears a testimony to the potential benefits that it will generate for people in the region.

India, which is one of the fastest growing major world economies has the largest number of Out of School Children in South Asia with statistical data indicating as many as 17.8 Million children between 5-13 years of age who have been denied the basic right of education. Yet this data may not accurately reflect the exact number of children of school going age who never went to schools or have dropped out. The gaps in the data indicate towards a higher number of children who are out of school than what the statistics reflect, which makes the situation more alarming.

Expressing his concern over the status of young children’s especially girls’ education in India, noted Educationalist Amreesh Chandra who has been running schools in Uttar Pradesh for the last three decades, pioneered this initiative that delivers three types of learning spaces, Libraries, Kindergarten schools and primary schools, though a one world one book curriculum.

Speaking about the need to tackle the issue of out of school children globally and to enrol, educate and empower out of school children, Amreesh Chandra, Founder and Director, Project OoSC, said: “We are delighted at the launch of the initiative, with the first live project finally taking shape in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. The second project is coming up shortly in Mirzapur District of Uttar Pradesh and the third one is due in the outskirts of a village in Jaipur. We are also in the process of convincing governments to observe one day each year as Out of School Children Day and generate sufficient funds for setting up new schools. Project OoSC will enrol, educate and empower the next generation, and ensure that no child is left behind.”

Further reflecting on the gaps in data that is majorly detrimental towards remedial action for Out of School Children, Amreesh Chandra adds, “Article 21-A of the Indian constitution mandates free and compulsory education to all children in the age group 6 to 14 as their fundamental right. However, this inconsistency in data implies that there remains a large number of India’s population who refrain from going to schools as they are unaware of their most fundamental Right to Education. Therefore, Project OoSC aims to reach out to children on the margins in the remotest of areas, create awareness about the importance of education while ensuring that children get the elementary education that they are entitled to.”

Project OoSc is aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, such as Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 4 (Quality Education), Goal 5 (Gender Equality) and Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and was internationally unveiled by Mr Chandra on the 29th May 2019 at the IBG, India Awards in the British Parliament.