Metso has cooperated with Plan India, an independent development and humanitarian organization that advances children's rights and equal opportunities for girls, for several years now. Our current involvement with Plan India started in 2013 to provide quality education for children and girls in particular. In practice, this was realized by developing child friendly education as well as water and sanitary facilities in local government schools in Alwar, Rajasthan. Already 8,000 children have benefited from the project.
Our Metso Park factory in Alwar is one of Metso’s largest production facilities globally, delivering a wide range of aggregate equipment. “For this reason, it felt only natural to start a cooperation program with Plan India here in Alwar, as Metso is a significant employer in the area and we want to contribute to the surrounding society,” states Rakesh Thakur, Metso’s Administrative Managing Director in India.
Providing a supportive learning environment
The goal of the program is to provide equal access to quality education for children. Several actions are taken to accomplish the goal starting from providing safe drinking water, improving sanitation facilities in schools and bringing about behaviour change. Smart classes as well as science and math labs are also promoted, and reading habits and sports are inculcated. In addition, the program builds the capacities of teachers, School Development Committees and children’s clubs. At the moment, 25 government schools in two neighbourhoods of Alwar are included in the program.
Major improvements in girls’ school retention rates
An enabling environment has been created in these schools and children enjoy coming to school as they are now equipped with modern, high-quality amenities. The teachers are moving towards positive discipline and have adopted child-friendly teaching-learning pedagogy. As a result, children now say there is a friendly atmosphere in school. The use of corporal punishment, which has been a common disciplinary method before the start of the project, has been reported in fewer schools included in the program. Community participation has increased immensely with members of the local community taking responsibility for the development of the school and maintenance of the facilities.
The cooperation has resulted in the increased enrolment of girls in schools, their improved transition to higher classes and regularity in attending school. The dropout rate for both girls and boys has decreased to 0 percent at both primary and upper primary levels from the respective 30 and 10 percent previously. During the program, children’s learning levels have improved substantially. This has been observed by conducting a learning level assessment for children in the sample schools. The improvement in learning levels has also been translated into improved school examination results.
These 25 government schools reaching out to more than 8,000 girls and boys today stand for quality education, functional child-friendly WASH facilities and changing the mind sets of the communities.
On June 28th, 2018, Metso and Plan India were awarded the Bhamashah (Donor) Award for the Model School project in Alwar, Rajasthan. The award was given for their significant contribution to the field of education.