One who attends school.
[Etymology: school + -goer]
The need for more schoolgoers
Across the world, more than 57 million children are not able to attend school. According to UNESCO it will be another 70 years before all children have access to a primary education. Several million of these children are in India, despite it being a country that offers free and compulsory education.
Why is this happening?
I want to learn, but I live far from the city. There is a shortage of teachers and teachers are less willing to travel to rural areas.
I live in extreme poverty. By working I am helping to support my family. I am one of 4.4 million child labourers in India. That’s 20% of Australia’s population.
I am a girl. My education is a lower priority for my family and there is a good chance I will marry before I finish all of my schooling.
Efforts to increase enrolment in India have not improved school retention rates or learning outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged children. In rural areas, only 41% of Year 5 school students can read a Year 2 level textbook.
What else can be done?
In 2014 the Schoolgoers team conducted a study tour of India to see the schooling situation first-hand.
This included visits to best-practice private, public and non-government schools, as well as discussions with Non-Government Organisations working to make education more accessible to disadvantaged communities.
This trip inspired the team to consider a unique approach to enabling children to attend and flourish at school.
We are creating high-quality learning opportunities for the first generation of schoolgoers
Schoolgoers will engage children in the education system through innovative centres providing competency-based learning. Our programs will be structured to help overcome the additional challenges faced by the first few generations of schoolgoers across the world.
- Children who are not enrolled in school, or are otherwise in paid work, are offered a formal, flexible-hours learning program. The aim is to transition these students into mainstream education
- Children who are already enrolled at school are provided a supplementary school program. These classes complement their school learning, and bridge gaps between their individual learning outcomes and the state standard for their age group
We will also offer community development initiatives to improve adult literacy and further opportunities for employment.
The journey begins: Bihar, India
Schoolgoers’ first learning centre is being established in Ghogharia village in southern Bihar, close to the border of Jharkhand.
Bihar has a very large population (100+ million) and has traditionally trailed the rest of India in terms of development. Bihar ranks in the top five Indian states for children engaged in labour.