BAF initiated RTE Information Session & Workshop for the government officials in the education department, district administration, private schools and the media. It was imperative that the foot soldiers be sensitized towards the problem at hand and be aware of their responsibilities for efficient and effective implementation of the provisions of section 12(1).(c). BAF conducted such capacity building programs in several districts including Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Moradabad, Aligarh, Allahabad, Varanasi, Meerut, Noida and Gorakhpur. More than 1000 school administration representatives from districts across the state of Uttar Pradesh became a part of the exercise. The agenda was simple, to prepare schools in different districts of U.P. to become RTE compliant. BAF, in another strategic move routed the invitations through high ranking government officials to ensure near perfect attendance before perfect compliance could kick in The outcome was encouraging. There was another crucial decision taken by BAF, that of venue of the trainings. The trainings were to be conducted in the official premises of the Education Department and the District Collectorate. This resulted in government making the schools accountable on compliance commitments and incentivized them to attend.
During the initial phase, the government required to build a foundation and decide on the issues such as the documents to ask from parents, age limit of children, school choice, school allocation, reimbursement process, lottery system etc. that they were going to face. BAF having researched other states implementation extensively while also discussing possible innovations with leading education thinkers, helped government in preparing a system design to facilitate seamless admission process.
Vinod Yadav, the founding head of Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation (BAF), organized awareness sessions for the beat journalists, of the print, TV and radio media. Sustaining the media hype was important to increase the awareness around the sensitive issue. Media therefore responded with scrutinizing alacrity. It became a natural ally of the BAF in taking across the message of RTE. It also took upon itself the important task of spreading awareness and also provoking the public and private education machinery accountable in becoming RTE compliant. The buzz around the media was only intensifying which proved beneficial for the movement. The fourth pillar was on board and the RTE boat was off the dock.
BAF, under the leadership of Aamir Husain, Executive Director of BAF, began identifying Parshads (Municipal Councilors of Wards) to spread awareness in their respective areas about the benefits of RTE to the economically weak sections and the disadvantaged lot. The state mechanism was ready and had been rolled out. It was imperative that BAF would take the initiatives for certain challenges which were not addressed by the provisions of the act. Spreading awareness amongst the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Disadvantage group (DG) of the society was a primary responsibility-larger the canvas, bigger and brighter would be the end picture. Parshads became ideal partners in dissipating information to the targeted groups with deep impact. Soon the army included over 100 high school student volunteers, local businessmen, shop keepers and traders. School forms were freely distributed and the parents assisted in filling them out.
Bharat Abhyudaya Foundation voluntarily took up this responsibility and developed a volunteers' network at different parts of the state. Working with the education department and government administration they identified un- served blocks (Le. the areas which do not have restrictions from the December 2012 Government Order issued by the UP Government and do not have government schools in the neighborhood). The volunteers regularly visited those areas and advertised and promoted the facility provided by the government towards the admissions of the children from disadvantaged sections at private schools through Right to Education (RTE) act. The BAF volunteers set up camps in slum areas, performed series of street plays at different locations and placed posters and hoardings at key locations so that the targeted beneficiaries could be made aware of the government's program. BAF team with the help of its volunteer base and partner organizations also helped the beneficiaries in filling out application forms, arranging documents and ensuring final admissions in case of clearance from BSA office
BAF partnered with Municipal Corporation which tremendously assisted in getting Ward' data, city maps and councillor contacts. They also helped in raising floating hoardings at empty slots in the key locations of the Lucknow city.