Believing that investing in future is the best way of breaking the cycle of disadvantage, the Trust has directed a significant proportion of its projects on children and youth. Projects for education of children, particularly the younger children, have received maximum support. Thus non-formal and pre-primary education and primary education predominate in the list of projects supported.
Although more than 98% of children in Mumbai enter school, the quality of learning leaves much to be desired. Provision of a sound base at the primary level is important. BCPT has supported several such NGOs who work in schools to improve learning outcomes, particularly in Math, science, English.
Pre-primary education is considered to be very important for the child as it is the first step towards entering the world of knowledge as well as a healthy and purposeful life. It helps children become more independent and confident as well as promotes their all round development. Children who have been to pre-primary schools tend to learn more rapidly through an organized curriculum, learning aids and by interacting with other children. It prepares children physically, emotionally, socially and mentally for formal schooling and prevents poor performance and early drop out. It also helps older children, particularly girls, to attend their schools making them free from responsibility of sibling care.
It is believed that more than 98% of children in Mumbai enter school. However, the quality of learning outcomes leaves much to be desired. Provision of a sound base at the primary level is important. For a number of reasons many children in primary school find Maths, English and language difficult. As the ASER Annual Survey for 2013 pointed out, less than half (47%) of standard V children could read a Standard II textbook; similarly the proportion of all children in Std. V who could solve a three-digit by one-digit division problem was 25.6%. To help children overcome these stumbling blocks several NGOs provide additional inputs. BCPT supported three such NGOs who worked in schools to improve learning outcomes during the year under review.
E-teach is a donor driven project (The project is managed and monitored by a group of committed individuals under BCPT’s supervision). Vernacular medium schools find teaching English at primary school a challenge as both, the teachers and children, find it “difficult”. English being the highest language of the Internet users across the world, limited learning of English results in limited access to higher education, information and wide disparity in job opportunities. (http://e-teachenglish.org/)
In the last several years the Trust has been focusing on enhancing life skills of children at the upper primary level classes. As children enter their pre-teen years, life skills help them to develop the ability to adapt and behave positively with the demands and challenges of everyday life, leading to better sense of wellbeing and mental health.
Imparting life-skills education along with academics, in a school setting has been found to be the best way, to reach the children. BCPT has been supplementing school based life skills education with a manual on life skills development and a film “Oonchi Udaan” developed by the Trust. The work of the “The Forum for Promoting Mental Health in Schools “and the Model School Mental Health Policy has also been initiated.
In the field of Secondary education, projects focusing on counselling and guidance have been supported. Vocational training projects have also received assistance. For children and youth who need to combine learning and earning, night schools are a good way to study ahead and BCPT has supported night schools as well. Youth have benefitted from scholarships and vocational training. Many projects supported have focused on children and youth with disability.
In addition to education and training, other child related projects have focused on child rights and child development.