The Night School concept was started by Barefoot College to provide basic learning facilities to villages and hamlets with no access to primary education or for children who could not attend regular schools for different reasons. The schools are run for children from marginalised and excluded communities so that they can join mainstream government education systems at a later stage.
Besides basic elementary education, children at taught different things like current affairs, agriculture, animal husbandry, environment, health, political knowledge and relevant social issues such as untouchability, inequality, child marriage and dowry.
Since 1983 (SWRC days) till date, Manthan started 45 night schools in 30 villages impacting around 3000 children in the area. Currently, Manthan runs 4 night schools in 3 villages for around 120 children from vulnerable communities.
The Baal Sansad is an initiative of Barefoot College, Tilonia that emphasises children’s power to guide and govern their own lives responsibly through the Children’s Parliament activity. This makes the children aware of the powers and processes of a parliamentary democracy.
The night schools are managed through the Baal Sansad. All children in the night schools vote to select members of the parliament who in turn vote to elect the Prime Minister and constitute a Cabinet of Ministers. The members of parliament visit the night schools to inspect the functioning and identify the needs and challenges of the children and their society. They also evaluate the conduct of the teachers. Meeting are held every month to discuss the issues of each night school.