Chalo Bihar : Day 11 : Pen and paper : May 27, 2014

          Posted by Akhilesh Richariya (ASER Associate- Rajasthan)

It was a rewarding day of survey work in Khatihar district.

After several days of skin-burning heat, two days ago, the heavy downpour brought in much relief. But only temporarily. What we did not expect was flooding, schools threatening to close down, water-logged roads, absenteeism in the classroom – all of which could significant affect the quality of our survey.

Fortunately, we were in good hands.

With the support of the DIET faculty who ensured we had transportation to each of the schools that were to be monitored, the kind teacher who let me borrow his two-wheeler to hop from one school to the other, the block officer who sent out word for all schools to stay open and no child to be absent. The support we have received in managing and implementing the survey has been immense.

I visited five schools on Day 2 to observe the administration of the pen-and-paper-testing and this gave me a fair idea of the quality of survey in Katihar district.

In one of the schools, there were more than 1000 students, with at least 130 students in Class 4. An obliging school teacher had made prior arrangement for 2 classrooms, allowing us to split up the students while testing. I also noticed how the surveyors were at ease in the classroom, and did not seem perturbed by the sheer size of each grade or by the tasks for the day or the darkening clouds outside.

It has been reported that the districts lying towards the west of Patna were hit by heavy rains on Monday and Tuesday. Many schools had to be shut down, and conducting the survey has been extremely challenging for our teams in Bihar. In such trying times, we wish each one of them the best and to stay safe.