Schools For India

  • Blog
  • google
  • Join causes
  • follow on facebook
  • follow on twitter
  • View flickr photos
  • linkedin
  • View youtube vedio

Frequently Asked Questions!! ( Single Page View)

 

Purpose of this Document:

This document is intended to answer various questions that are asked by Volunteers, Members and anyone who is interested in Schools for India project. While we have taken utmost care in responding to the questions, in case if you notice any discrepancy or contradictions please send email to contactus@schoolsforindia.org  or post your questions in case if you have a new question which is not covered here.

The document is divided in to various sections to make it easier for you to find the questions of your interest.

Order of Reference:

Level One: Website www.schoolsforindia.org

Level Two:  Google Group: http://groups.google.co.in/group/schoolsforindia?hl=en&lnk=srg

                Files: Schools for India- Handbook v x.x

Level Three: This document.

Schools for India Purpose or Objects:

What are all the main objects of Schools for India Trust?

S4I is primarily engaged in building and running schools in rural India. S4I plans to build 6000 schools across India in 610 districts. The below are the details on the primary and secondary objects.

The objects of the Trust are as under:

(i)                  To design, construct, establish, run and maintain educational schools in various districts in India.

(ii)                To apply the Trust Fund or any part thereof for the general purposes of designing, constructing, establishing, running and maintaining of schools and in payment of all rents, rates, taxes, cost of insurance, repairs and other outgoings payable from time to time in respect of the schools or any property on which schools are constructed.

(iii)               To design, construct, establish, run and maintain boarding houses, libraries, sports fields and stadiums, physical and cultural activity centers etc. for the persons who study at the schools established by the Trust.

(iv)              To enter into franchise arrangements/agreements with educational boards, corporations, individuals or any other persons who may wish to run the schools constructed by the Trust.

(v)                To engage professors, teachers and instructors to impart education to the students in all subjects, physical training, culture, research work, intellectual and other useful pursuits.

(vi)              To accept grants, donations, presents, gifts and offerings and to deal with the same for the purposes of the Trust.

(vii)             To invest, dispose off, transfer and otherwise deal with the properties and assets of the Trust in such manner as the Trustees may deem fit, for the attainment of objects of the Trust.

(viii)           To pay stipends and scholarships to the students on such terms as the Trustees may deem fit.

(ix)              To do all other acts and things as may be necessary or conducive to the attainment of the above objects.

The schools will be in the rural areas, and for any partnership with any other organization the organization has to be a non-profit organization.

Will Schools for India support Government or Private schools which are already running?

Schools for India will support on case to case basis any government or privately run schools. But Schools for India will concentrate on building and running its own schools across India.

Project Scope:

What is the scope of Schools for India project?

Schools for India will build and run 6000 schools across India, with focus on rural areas to provide best in class infrastructure and education to the people of rural India.

Each district will have 10 to 12 schools based on the need, and will cover approximately 150 to 200 villages.

What is the coverage of the school?

The school will have Kinder Garten to Secondary school, with total 3000 students in three shifts.

How large is the school?

Each school will be built over an area of 20 Acres, with built up area of 140,000 Sq Ft.

What are all the components of the School?

Each school will consist of:

  • Kinder Garten
  • Primary School
  • High/Middle School
  • Secondary School
  • Special Children School
  • Library
  • Vocational Training Center
  • Physical Training Center, Sports field and Stadium
  • Rural Economic Zone- Periphery
  • Family Health Center-Periphery
  • Environmental Education Center of Excellence- Water Shed, Indigenous Plants, and Bio studies.
  • Community Center
  • Kitchen and Dining for Catering to 500 Students at a time, doubles up as Community Kitchen Center
  • Media Center-FM Radio Station
  • Transportation Facility

What is the three shift system?

The school is designed to accommodate around 1000 students per shift, the shifts are designated as, Primary shift for regular students, Second Shift for drop outs who could not pursue their studies due to various reasons, and third shift is for those who are working. The second and third shift will run for two hours each. The second and third shift will provide bridge courses for the students. The older students are expected to undergo on the job training in the rural economic zone which will be created as part of the school campus.

Why build large schools instead of small schools?

Based on our studies we find that maintaining a large school is much easier than maintaining many small schools. By providing large and well managed facility will attract the right teaching talent than small schools. Economy of scale is achieved by building large school catering to more villages than locating small schools in as many villages.

What is the area of coverage for these schools?

Each of these schools, are expected to cover a physical radius of 5 to 7 KM and older students will be accepted from as far as 10 to 12 KM radius. The School will provide bus facilities for the students to attend the school. The coverage will be based on local conditions and the above coverage area is for planning purposes only.

How long it will take to build one school?

Each district will have its own timelines based on the local conditions. We are expecting that after the pilot project we will perfect the building technologies needed to build the complete school in 90 days from date of land availability.

How can a school be built in 90 days?

We are currently working on the Just in Time (JIT) model and creating the Bill of Material and automated supply chain solution which will enable us to build the school using pre fabricated components. The cutting edge technology will help us in building the school in 90 days and show case the power of education and technology to the people of rural India.

Will S4I start the school operations only after the entire infrastructure is in place or it will start the school operations once the basic infra structure is in place?

The school will be built in three phases, the first phase is for building the physical training, Sports facilities, stadium, community Center, Kitchen, Media center, Environmental Center, Rural Health Center, Rural Economic Zone, and administrative complex.

The second phase will be to build the secondary school, Special Children School, and the third phase will be for the middle and primary school.

The above could be modified in a given district based on local conditions and needs.

Funding, Fund Management:

What is the total budget of building 6000 schools?

On the basis of costing done/ revised during the 2008 financial year, each of the school is expected to cost INR 20 crores, ( Approximately USD 5 million) for the Capital expenditure and INR 4.5 Crores ( USD 1 million ) for operational expenditure for every year. We are expecting to build a resource base of USD 7 billion through various sources.

How will S4I manage the funds?

The funds will be managed in low risk and low return investments till it is spent on the project. All the excess funds will be invested in government securities.

Fund Raising:

How do you raise funds?

Schools for India will primarily raise funds from global corporations who are interested in India and its people. We are working with companies who have long term interest in India, have good governance practices and track record in working with educational projects anywhere in the world.

‘Schools for India’ has tied up with Schools for India UK and Schools for India USA. Both these organizations are independent Charity organizations and committed to build schools in India.

Our members and volunteers work with global corporations and establishing contacts with the highest level to gain their support to fund a specific school or a cluster of schools in India.

Donations:

Do you accept donations from individuals?

No, at present we do not accept donations from individuals, except registered members of S4I.

Tax Benefits:

All contributions to S4I are exempt from income tax under section 80 G, as well as overseas contribution under FCRA.

Student Enrollment:

What is the target student population for enrollment?

Schools for India will target bottom most 2% of the population in terms of economic status. The students from such families will be identified during the secondary and primary research that will be conducted in the district. Schools for India will admit those who are economically weaker section of the society.  

What is the probability of students joining S4I School instead of Government or Private schools?

S4I will take enough care in locating the schools so that they don’t compete with other schools in the area. The target population is the poorest of the poor who can’t afford to attend the private schools.

The schools will cater to those who are not covered by any schools currently. Migration from other schools will be avoided by carefully choosing the candidates for admission.

How do you identify the students who needs free education in a location?

The primary research which includes door to door survey by Schools for India, district team before the commencement of the project will help in identifying the beneficiary families and the children from such families; hence at the start of the academic year the students will be identified and given admission.

How many students will be there in a class?

Each of the class will have up to 22 students. The special children school will have all the possible students from that area.

Supporting Other Schools or Students in Other Schools:

Will S4I target individual sponsorship for a school? If yes how? 

The support for a school in a district will be done on case to case basis, for example if the S4I project is delayed due to any reason then S4I will explore the possibility of engaging and supporting any of the private or government school in the district. This is also true for sponsoring the tuition fee for any of the students in that district.

Tuition Fees

What will be the tuition fee for the students?

We are expecting that 60% of the students shall be given free admission, 20% shall have government support and 20% shall be on payment basis. This percentage will vary from district to district. We are expecting that the 60% free tuition shall be paid by the community over a period of time.

Infrastructure:

Why build such a big school in rural area?

Based on our studies we find that maintaining a large school is much easier than maintaining many small schools. By providing large and well managed facility will attract the right teaching talent than small schools. Economy of scale is achieved by building large school catering to more villages than locating small schools in as many villages.

Why spend large amount for one school, instead you can build or support many schools or students?

The idea is to provide quality education and not compromise on infrastructure or on teaching quality.

It is true that we can support many schools with the same money but we would like to set a benchmark and standard with respect to the infrastructure, quality of teachers and the education provided to the rural students.

A large good quality school catering to many villages act like a center of excellence for the whole community and many, community related activities can be carried out. The school will act like an entry point for many other social interventions in that particular village cluster.

How are you planning to build such a large school in 90 Days?

S4I is working with various architects and builders to create a unique building construction plan, using pre fabricated modules which can be assembled in short span of time.

S4I will employ technology similar to the one followed in the industry to build large facilities much faster and cheaper. S4I will also follow JIT (Just in Time) model by identifying vendors and partners who will supply the various components on time at a lower cost.

The building technology and plans will be made available to any non-profit organization to build schools in future.

Curriculum:

What will be curriculum that will be followed in the S4I School?

The curriculum shall be decided by the S4I district members based on the local needs. Though we will attempt uniform standards, we recognize that there will be variations from state to state and to district to district. The pilot school shall have the state board curriculum.

What will be the medium of education?

The mother tongue shall be the medium of education with supplemental English language training shall be provided. Other languages like French, German, Japanese and Chinese shall also be taught.

Teaching Staff:

How will be the teaching staff will be recruited?

S4I will follow the 60:20:20, approach where by 60% of the teachers will be recruited within the Taluk or Block, 20% will be from the district itself and 20% from the nearby districts.

What is the method of recruitment?

S4I will conduct a bridge course for aspiring teachers and after the initial selection process. At present S4I will follow the government guidelines for salaries and wages.

How do you get best teaching staff for each school? Most of the best teachers will not quit their present job and most of them might not be willing to come to a village and teach?

S4I will conduct entry level tests to recruit teachers. S4I will carefully select the aspirants from the Teacher’s training colleges and train them under experts for a period of 3 months before inducting them in the schools. They will also undergo continuous educational and teaching methods training.

S4I believes that teachers are willing to teach in rural schools if the infrastructure is on par with city schools and they have opportunity to learn and part of the mainstream. S4I schools will be a good option for enrolling their own children so that they need not worry about educating their children.

Say there isn’t enough teachers in the district of specified qualification, how do S4I get enough teachers for that school?

We do not foresee such a possibility right now. In the long run, S4I will set up dedicated special training centers for training the teachers and will have close working relationship with existing training institutions in that district.

What are the Qualifications for a person to become a teaching staff?

The teachers will be recruited as per the government norms and regulations.

How many teachers per school?

Each school shall have 140 teaching and Non teaching staff per shift.

Sustainability:

What if the Government or any other private party has opened a school near the S4I school, and the students move out and join that school for various reasons, how will S4I tackle this and what measures are there to sustain in the competition? 

S4I will work with the government and other agencies to identify the location of a school in a given district. We believe that with the current need there will be under capacity for the next 25 years and hence there won’t be any need for planning for over capacity. More over S4I is non profit and will have the best infrastructure and will offer quality education. The plan is to cater to the bottom most 2% of the population and hence there won’t be any issues with enrollment or utilization of capacity.

What is the plan to sustain in the long run? 

S4I will work with the community to find ways and means to take over and run the school eventually. At present we expect the community to have the expertise in 15 years time to mature and run the school.

But such an arrangement shall be reviewed on case to case basis for each and every district.

Over a period of time we also expect substantial public participation in terms of investments and support from the alumni from the school.

How is S4I plan to compete /overcome the existing private / Government schools of the district?

S4I do not intent to compete with other schools as S4I will set up schools where there are no quality schools at present in a given district. S4I also recognizes the absence of good schools throughout India in rural India; the situation is expected to be the same for next 25 years. Based on the typical investments in school infrastructure, even after making the primary school education as compulsory, the time taken for building the infrastructure will take time. Hence the need for quality schools will be there across India for many more years. S4I project with its plans to construct in 90 days will solve this time lag to an extent.

How schools for India plan to overcome the local disturbances like local private schools’ mischievous activities? 

S4I will engage with other stake holders in the district and ensure that the operations are carried out in mutual trust and good will.

The district owner of S4I along with members and volunteers of S4I will identify and engage the stake holders in the community in a top down approach, from the District collector onwards and obtain support. The administration, political leadership and local NGO’s will be part of this stakeholder’s group.

Most of the village schools now get aid from local NGO and they do run successfully with it, how do S4I view this and what opportunity is there for S4I to still start a schools there? 

S4I operations in a district will be in supplemental in nature and not intent to gain market share or compete with existing players. S4I will target 2% of the population and there are more work to do in the coming year as the capacity to serve is limited by any organization. With Indian population to touch 1.6 Billion in coming years, S4I project will cater to a very small section of the population, but will act as a bench mark for others to follow. All the systems and processes developed by S4I will be available free for any organization to use.

What is the future of S4I once the 15 years contract signed by the corporate ends?

S4I will work with the community to find ways and means to take over and run the school eventually. At present we expect the community to have the expertise in 15 years time to mature and run the school.


 

Membership:

How many members already with S4I?

S4I membership campaign started in June 2008 and we are expecting to add 100 members by end of March 2009. We are expecting 3000 members globally in the next three years.

Where can we see the Minutes of various meetings held by members?

The members can view the S4I activities once they get access to the Google group. Refer the web site and follow the link for more information.

What is the process to be followed if I as S4I member wish to implement my idea in it?

S4I member groups are formed and the Google group is the forum to share ideas and suggest implementation models. Based on the acceptance by the S4I Steering committee and Governance committee, the ideas would be implemented.

Will membership program continue even if we get adequate support from the corporate?

The membership fee is intended for supporting the organization structure and the member groups for every district. The various heads and expenses which will be covered by the membership fee is described in the document uploaded in the Google group.

Why is the membership expiring at the end of a financial year rather than at the end of one complete year from the date of joining?

As the tax exemption for the membership fee can be availed for the same year, regardless of the date of joining as well as to ensure that the administrative cost of sending renewal notices for each and every member is avoided.

The first year of the membership will always expire on the last day of upcoming month of march.

How can member funding help S4I?

The complete budget and expenses done with member funding is available in the Google Group. This can be viewed by the members who will be given access once they become registered members of S4I.

Volunteering:

Do I Need to be in India to be a volunteer?

No, you can be anywhere in the world, but accessible through e-mail.

Do I need to pay any fee or contribute monetarily to the project?

No, you need not contribute monetarily.

If I incur any expenses while performing the work, will I be reimbursed?

All expenses like travel etc would be reimbursed at actuals. You need to obtain prior permission from the Regional Director for such expenditure.

Pilot Project

All questions on the pilot project and the latest updated please refer the website www.schoolsforindia.org under the link called Pilotupdates.


 

Government Engagement:

Will Government fund for any of the school expenses? What is the Government’s part in S4I? Will government monitor S4I administration?

We are expecting the government to perform the role as laid out in the regulations and processes in monitoring institutions like S4I.

The funding will depend on the support and agreements signed by S4I with State or Central government as the case may be.

What control will Government have on S4I?

S4I is a registered Trust and will work autonomously in performing its objects as laid out in the Charter.

The rules and regulations of any registered charitable organization shall apply to S4I.

 

Corporate Engagement:

Have we contacted any corporate to support the pilot project?

We are contacting many corporate companies globally through our network. We are getting positive response and certain commitments as well.

What do you mean by corporate funding and why will a corporate be interested to support for a initiative like S4I?

Global corporations who are entering the Indian markets are setting up green field plants across India. By participating in a social project like building a school in a district will enable the corporate company to reach out to the community in which they are doing business. Also in the long run by investing in educational sector the quality of resources are assured for performing high end services from India.

Why will a US corporate like to fund for an initiative in India, meaning why prefer India when there are other countries that too will need help…??

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. For a country like US, India offers various opportunities to service the growing population and their needs. India also acts as the back office for various high end services for many corporations across the globe.

US corporations who are entering the Indian markets are setting up green field plants across India. By participating in a social project like building a school in a district will enable the corporate company to reach out to the community in which they are doing business. Also in the long run by investing in educational sector the quality of resources are assured for performing high end services from India.

How long will be a corporate fund for S4I, say after 5 years if they stop funding then how will be the funds managed for continuing S4I?

The S4I will continuously de risk the project by having enough resources to meet such eventuality. The funding and risk management will be an ongoing process.

Community Engagement:

Are we working in hand with the local NGO’s? If yes, what would be the stand of S4I, if the local NGO’s would like to do things in their own way?

S4I will carefully select the local partner for each district, in case of conflict the S4I regional committee will try to resolve the issues, as S4I will have documented process for all such engagements and a conflict resolution process, and this will be refined as we gain experience in dealing with such organizations.

How do you engage the students to support S4I and is there any defined process for the same?

S4I currently engages many volunteers from Colleges across the globe. Most of the new process developments and support systems are created by these students.

S4I members or Volunteers initiate the contact with a college anywhere in the world and an overview on the project is given. Many S4I members meet various student organizations and groups to give information on S4I.

Based on the interest from the students specific activities are undertaken by these student groups.

S4I state coordinators are responsible for managing the colleges and the activities in that particular state.

Promotions:

Why S4I is promoting Cycling sport in India?

S4I believes that by promoting the Cycling Sports, it can reach out to all the districts in India. The formation of cycling clubs in every district will act as an entry point of S4I in that district.

As on date S4I is known in more than 300 districts in India through the cyclists who participated in the events conducted by S4I.

These cyclists hail from remote and rural India and they act like community champions to spread the S4I project.

Tags: , , , , ,