University age education

Tertiary Education For Students in Asha Delhi Slums

Young people around the world are increasingly seeking the tertiary education needed for industries that are driving the global economy.

Tertiary education provides skills for immediate professional work as well as advanced study, promoting social mobility and economic development. (The World Bank, 2021)

Access, equity, and diversity are challenges in both developing and developed countries. Historically, higher education has been a privilege largely enjoyed by students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds; the current growth in enrollment raises questions about who has access, and who benefits. While India’s tertiary education system is one of the largest in the world with over ten million students, only 10% of young people have access to higher education, predominantly those who are well-off. (The World Bank, 2015)

Student admission record - Asha India

Tertiary Education For Students in Asha Delhi Slums

Education Challenges in India Slums

Familial poverty is a major cause of students’ lack of participation in education. Slum children are often needed to work to support families as local store salespeople, sweepers, factory workers, laborers, or rickshaw pullers and for them, education is not a priority.

Those who do want to study have limited space in their houses and regular time for mastering hard to grasp subjects such as mathematics and upper level English.

Asha’s Program for Tertiary Education in Delhi Slums

This program, begun in 2008, is built on the foundation of Primary and Secondary Education by which Asha assures that children across its slum communities complete their education, and are ready for higher education. The Asha team and student ambassadors in each of Asha’s project locations conduct extensive home visits and select students who have performed well in secondary school exams, have aptitude and interest, but lack resources for higher studies. Asha activities:

Reduce Anti-Education Pressure

Due to poverty and deprivation, families are often reluctant to allow their children to pursue higher education. The Asha team and student ambassadors meet regularly with students and their families, and through community meetings help them understand the value of education for transforming individuals and communities. Appreciating the value of educating female students is made more difficult by years of a patriarchal male-dominated society. Asha’s Women Empowerment Program, which has transformed the lives of mothers, has also contributed to an increasing number of females choosing higher education – now more than 60% of university admissions.

Provide Intensive Academic Training

After preparation for higher education, studying for the school-leaving class XII exam starts. As the university admission process is highly competitive, it is critical that students achieve high marks in school-leaving exams. Students receive intensive academic support including textbooks, study materials, sample question papers, and other academic aids to help them prepare for the final class XII Board exams. Senior students provide weekly coaching and mock tests to help younger students acclimatize to real-time exams. Asha’s Team and ambassadors assure that assignments are completed, and monitor performance.

Provide English Classes and Soft Skills

Students from the slum communities lack fluency in English, which is critical for higher education. Asha assures that students improve their English speaking and writing skills by providing them regular, intensive training, and . regular online English classes conducted by international volunteers. Students also learn behavioral skills helpful in their all-around development.

Provide Computer and IT Skills

Currently six Asha centers are equipped with advanced computers, high-speed internet connectivity, and instruction to help students learn computer skills. These IT facilities help them attend online classes, complete assignments, and appear for their semester exams. Studying at the centers, where they are supported by technology and a conducive environment is preferable to doing so in their one-room shanties.

Guide Students in the College Admission Process

Asha provides individual student support and counseling during the final high school years to guide students through the college admission process. The Asha team and the student ambassadors help them select colleges and courses based on their test results.

Support Students with Documentation

Students may lack admission documents for college admission. The Asha team helps students to obtain necessary government certificates.

Provide Financial Support

Asha helps pay fees, transportation, and other college expenses when parents are unable to do so.

Provide Vocational and Skill Development

Asha provides vocational, skill-development, and job-oriented courses for students without access to college education, to enable them to be job-ready. Since the program’s start, Asha has trained more than 600 students in nursing, lab technician, allied healthcare, and information technology.

Outcomes Since 2008
Asha has supported more than 4,500 students across its slum communities to receive a university education and more than 600 students to receive vocational and skill development courses. These students have moved out of the intergenerational cycle of poverty to give their families a life of dignity, respect, and financial security through education.

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Asha’s Mission is to work with the urban poor to bring about long-term and sustainable transformation to their quality of life.

Asha India - children on the slum streets