Background

Parikrma is addressing the growing gap, in urban India, between those who benefit from the economic liberalization and the majority who do not.

The only hope for rural migrants, who come to the cities in search of better livelihoods, is education that helps them get city jobs. Unfortunately, the free, Government mass schooling system, which is their only option, is in a severe state of disrepair. Drop out rates are close to 50% by class V and 70% by the time the child reaches class VII. Attendance is as low as 15%. The content of education is basic with the quality text books sub-standard. Teachers are poorly trained and teaching methods are outdated. What is even more debilitating is that English, which is needed to get a good job, is non-existent in these schools. The vernacular medium of instruction does not leave the children with the confidence to study further, given that all higher learning is only in English. Even those who pass out of these schools and go further have little ability and confidence to get equal access to the new age jobs being thrown up in a city such as Bangalore, India's IT capital.

Here, in this city, close to 700,000 people work in over 3000 IT companies from all over the world. Only 8%-10% of this work force has gone through the Government run schools, when in fact more than 80% of all children have access only to these schools. India's sunrise industry is made up largely of people who have studied in private schools that make up just 15% of all the schools in the country. No wonder then there are 800 slums in the city that 2 million people call their home.

Can this situation change? Is it possible to bridge the huge gap that exists between the privileged and the poor? Can the poorest children from these slums get access to the best jobs on equal terms? And is it possible to do so in a manner that it can influence an entire system to change?

Parikrma Humanity Foundation is attempting just that.