INDUS ACTION and Central Square Foundation (CSF) partnered to lead an awareness and enrolment campaign in South Delhi to implement Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act. On Friday, April 25, 2014, CSF hosted a conference India International Centre to release a report that encapsulated the findings and insights from the campaign.
Tarun Cherukuri, Founder and Director, INDUS ACTION kicked off the conference by outlining the motivation for working on Section 12(1)(c). One impetus he mentioned is the global research that shows that inclusive classrooms lead to more robust and rigorous schools. Research in Delhi found that high-income students in diverse classrooms are more likely to be socially conscious with no negative impact on their academic outcomes. He also explained the campaign model, which included information media (street play, TV Ads, posters and print media), support sources (including anganwadi hubs, gender resource centres and helpline) and help desk managers and volunteers who assisted in form submission.
The report was released by Shailaja Chandra, Former Chief Secretary of Delhi, Ashish Dhawan, Founder and Chairman of Central Square Foundation and Prof. Ankur Sarin, Faculty of the Public Systems Group at IIM Ahmedabad. The study found that there were critical knowledge gaps (only 4% of eligible families were aware), behavioural gaps (only 50% conversion from awareness to application) and last mile gaps (only 30% conversion from application to lottery selection). A small outcomes-focused breakout activity followed the report release giving each group the opportunity to identify solutions to a particular stakeholder’s challenges.
The conference also included two panel discussions. The first on implementation imperatives was moderated by Tarun Cherukuri and included Varsha Joshi, Director of Census Operations, Unmesh Brahme, Country Director of Room to Read, Ashok Pandey, Principal at Ahlcon International School and Rajiv Mehra, Founder of Pardarshita. The discussion focused on current gaps in implementation — from awareness to school admission.
The second panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Ankur Sarin on policy imperatives, included experts from Save the Children India, Centre for Civil Society, Social Jurist and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy. The discussion focused on current legal roadblocks, funding, a sustainability roadmap and policy solutions.
The conference concluded with a proposition to establish a Delhi-based Section 12(1)(c) watch group that enlists individuals and organisations to work on various campaign areas such as advocacy with the government, fundraising, volunteer mobilisation and management and strengthening government and private school relations.