Project Hunar

Introduction to Project Hunar

By : Shri Dinesh Singh Bist

CEO, Bihar Board of Open Schooling and Examination (BBOSE), Patna
OSD, HRD Department, Govt of Bihar

It is a unique and innovative Project, launched for the first time, by Bihar Education Project Council, the Govt. of Bihar, initially, in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling, Govt. of India in 2008-09. This was a project of major social and educational importance in the country, as it aimed at, providing door step educational access, to poor Muslim girl child, in Bihar, which is the most difficult target group, from the point of view of educational access. The uniqueness of the project was, in using the existing network of traditional educational institutions of Muslim community like Madarsas and Maktabs, within the formal framework of study centers of Open & Distance Learning Institution, requiring an institutional change in it. Due to the uniqueness and importance of the project, it was launched at National level, in New Delhi, by the then HRD Minister for Govt. of India Late Sri Arjun Singh and the Chief Minister of Bihar Sri Nitish Kumar on 2008. One day before this national level launch, the project was also launched by the Chief Minister of Bihar Sri Nitish Kumar, in Patna on 2008.

The Project, in its pilot form, was aimed at initially providing free of cost, skill training to 13,678 poor Muslim girl child in the age group of 11-14/16 years, mostly out of school in all Districts of Bihar, in '6' selected courses of NIOS, like Cutting Tailoring & Dress making, Beauty Culture, Basic Computing, Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables, Early Child Care Education (ECCE), Hindi and English Typing. The objective was to these girls back into the educational mainstream and ensure their socio-economic & educational empowerment.

The innovative feature of the Project was the total involvement of Community, through its faith institutions like Madarsas and Maktabs.For this work leading Socio- Religious and Educational Organizations of the community were identified stake holders for implementing the project. Madarsa, Maktabs and other traditional educational institutions, run and managed by community, were used to provide door step access to training/educational centers, created specially for this purpose under the project.

The first pilot phase of Project Hunar was successfully completed in June, 2009. At the end of training, these girls appeared for a Public Examination and were given certificate by NIOS, after passing the examination. The Govt. of Bihar, provided the seed money to the girls who were successful in the examination conducted for Hunar, under New Project known as Auzar started by Govt. of Bihar. Under this new project, they were given Rs. 2400/- , for purchase of equipments/tool etc., to utilize the skill training given to them.

2nd phase of Hunar was launched in October 2009-10, and it's scope was expanded to cover 50,000 girls, from the entire state - 50% of the girls were taken from minority community and remaining 50% were to be include from other marginalized sections of society like Schedule Cast (SC)/Schedule Tribe(ST)/Extremely Backward Cast (EBC). Under first part of Phase-II of Hunar, 12,300 girls have already completed training and have appeared in the exam in June, 2011, held by NIOS. The girls who were successful in this exam have been given cash grant of Rs. 2500/- under project Auzar by Govt. of Bihar.

The Second part of the Phase-II of Hunar is being implemented by newly set up Bihar Board of Open Schooling and Examination (BBOSE). Under the second part Bihar Board of Open Schooling & Examination (BBOSE) has identified 522 Govt. schools in all districts of Bihar as its study centre for project Hunar. It has allotted 19508 girls in these study centres on the basis of its distance from their places of residence. Board has tried to ensure that the beneficiary girls under the project do not have to travel more than 2-3 kms to undertake skills training at the study centres allotted to them.

Phase-III of Hunar, has also been announced by the State Govt. on the same lines as Hunar-II, covering 50,000 girls in 2012-13. It will be implemented by Bihar Board of Open Schooling and Examination (BBOSE), on behalf of Bihar Education Project Council who will provide funds for it as in the past.