MGL Saksham – An Empowerment Initiative
MGL Saksham is an education centric empowerment initiative targeting adolescent students. A high school student passes through the Middle Adolescence, a crucial stage in the human development. This stage could be a time of both disorientation and discovery. The transitional period can bring up issue of independence and self-identity, many adolescents and their peers face tough choice regarding school, work, sexuality, drug, alcohol, social life, peer groups, romantic interest and external appearance tend to naturally increase in importance for some time during the teen’s journey towards adulthood.
The general school system, at best is promoting more academic pursuits whereas adolescent students require lot more mentoring and guidance. On the other side, there exists no systemic approach for taking care of the drop outs and push outs. The enormous energies of adolescent populations can be better utilized and their capacities can be better built by extending psychological counselling and career guidance to address their usual concerns related to education, social interactions, emotions, finances, health, etc. and make them aware of possible linkages to livelihoods.
Mahanagar Gas Limited recognizes education as the greatest tool in facilitating human development. However, education only for academic pursuit has some inherent flaws which hampers blossoming of individual’s persona. MGL believes that educational attainment should not necessarily mean academicattainment but should also facilitate grooming of a valuable citizen through all round development. Educational institutions in general and those addressing educational need of adolescent in particular should have more inclination towards mentoring and guidance with a vision of being an enabler. The project MGL Saksham seeks to assist students in their self discovery. The project is being implemented with the core objective of enabling students in their adolescence discover themselves and inculcate a positive approach towards their lives.
Mahanagar Gas Limited has been able to reach out to close to 18000 students in nearly 30 schools under the initiative ‘MGL Saksham’. The schools selected for the project are MCGM Schools, Government aided school and night schools which serve the educational need of students from lowest socio-economic strata of the society. Activities like orientation of the head of schools (Principals), regular interaction with school management, orientation of teachers, orientation of parents, life skills and career counselling are being conducted regularly across the selected schools. A team of psychologists are assisting in tackling behavioral issues of many students across the schools on rotational basis. The project seeks out to extend one to one counselling to at least 700 individual – identified with behavioral issues. Group counselling, life skills and career guidance is being extended to all the students. The project also seeks to felicitate 60 meritorious youth with scholarships while support teacher for STEM subject has been extended to all schools to ensure qualitative improvement in understanding.
During the orientation meeting many head of schools and teachers reported that most of the students are from slum communities and first generation learners. While both parents move out to secure livelihoods the kids in general are exposed to vulnerabilities. Many kids with tough exterior and reinforced negative behaviors can be identified. While the schools are attempting to address the behavioral issue they lack professional skills to do so. More than 80% of the school identified the need of counselling as the single most important component that needs to be promoted. The Principals appreciated the need of upgrading the methodology of teaching to one which promotes more activity based and research-based learning.
More than 50% schools are facing operational constraints owing to infrastructure. Some schools are operating 2 shifts owing to lack of classroom / space while some schools are operating from multiple buildings resulting in logistics issues. Support infrastructures like classroom equipment, library, laboratory, sports equipment, etc. are also lacking which the project seeks to address.