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Usti nad Labem practice: reverse scholarships

Edited on

09 February 2015
Read time: 3 minutes

Start with the ”skinny”! That is, present your project or best practise with 10 sentences
- part of others PIN services within social integration programs, such as social work, tutoring in families and career and employment counselling
- in general the main objective is to prevent social exclusion and to reduce social exclusion by systematic support for children and families with the aim of change in attitudes to education 

- reverse scholarships are aimed at the support of children growing up in an environment of social exclusion, in obtaining secondary education that will enable them to succeed in the labour market
- the scholarship given to the primary school-leavers under specific conditions; students currently enrolled in the 2nd or 3rd year of secondary/high school
- the rules of application for the scholarship
> children from families that work with PIN in the long term and therefore the PIN workers can access the motivation of parents for further education of their child
> student is a primary school graduate, his grade point average is a maximum of 3.0  and at least one parent has primary education at the most
> applicant must have the final report card with no ”F” grades (F =  fail) in the last semi-annual report, must be classified in all subjects, cannot have a lower grade for behaviour, no unexcused absence and must not have more than 25% of missed hours
- a PIN worker is responsible for a successful applicant selection, with the help of the school, 4 key subjects that are the most important for graduation (courses that later appear in the school-leaving exams of final exams), a successful applicant must receive a grade lower than ”C”, or ”good” in these subjects.

What was the need/ problem to address? The context?
There are several deprived areas in Ústí nad Labem – where children don´t go to kindergartens, have bad school attendance habits and often don´t continue with the education after finishing the primary school or they don´t finish it at all.
Each child who ends its education after primary school becomes an unemployable person (the largest part of unemployed people in Ústí nad Labem are people without  education at all or who completed only primary school education – 46 %) – especially in the city with high rate of unemployment
Instead of working and paying taxes, they become dependent on receiving social benefits
No possibility to approach the children individually within the current educational system
Insufficient family motivation for education and work

Who formulated the need/ problem/ challenge?

Who initiated the project/ practise?

Who are the target groups/ end users?
- Reverse scholarships
Children – students at risk of social
> motivation to graduation
> smaller school absence
> improving school performance, school grades
- Whole family

> pedagogization of family environment
> cooperation on school attendance
> running a household (paying rent etc.)

How does it work?- Reverse scholarships
Phase I.
Suitable candidates are selected for a scholarship within the services of PIN or in cooperation with other non-profit organizations or institutions. Cooperation with schools in the selection of pupils did not work in the past - there was favouritism with certain students. Pre-selected candidates subsequently sign scholarship application (with a copy of report card), and the application is assessed by the People in Need committee. Successful applicants sign the Scholarship contract and choose the key subjects. The applicant undertakes to the proper fulfilment of the conditions and is aware of the penalties of non-compliance with any conditions. Penalties consist of a suspension or termination of the scholarship.

The candidates can apply for the scholarship programme admission as soon as they obtain the last semi-annual report of the last year of their primary education. The conditions for acceptance for those candidates who are currently finishing their compulsory primary education are softer than for those candidates already studying at secondary school/vocational school. The conditions for scholarship are equal for primary school and secondary school candidates. The successful candidate is being watched and assessed in his/her last quarter of compulsory primary education and the first year of secondary/vocational school. The application for admission for the reverse scholarship programme can be submitted prior to secondary/vocational school application. The guidance counsellor or relevant school employee and the coordinator of the reverse scholarship programme will help the candidate to choose suitable type of secondary/vocational school according to his/her knowledge, abilities and potential.

Phase II.
Student receives the scholarship from the 2nd year, 1000, - CZK (crowns) monthly. Family shows evidence from the previous month (e.g. paid rent, services, school lunches, water debt, public transport cards, school aids, school activities and clubs, etc.). At least once a month there is a contact with a PIN consultant and a student's legal representative. At least 4 times a year (in the period before the two quarterly, semi-annual and final classifications) the consultant contacts the school to verify compliance with the conditions for granting the scholarship. The school is informed in advance about who of its students receive the scholarship and has a contact for possible communication with the consultant. A successful student can receive the scholarship in the 2nd and 3rd year of high schools or vocational schools. About 20% of students do not complete the program because of non-compliance with the conditions. 35 students in total participated in the program. The program is currently funded by the Unicredit bank foundation and financial group Patria.

Challenges along the way?
- Reverse scholarships
The task of coordinator´s work is very sensitive – he must persuade parents to pay more attention to their child´s education, to supervise the fulfilment of their child´s school duties and to be very supportive to their child´s effort to be successful in school. The coordinator must explain the importance of education for future employment and social status and identifies the risks associated with a low education.

The task is to strengthen the role of primary schools in the reverse scholarships program – co-operation with primary schools when choosing the right candidates for the scholarship.

How were they tackled/ solved?
- Reverse scholarships
long-term systematic work in families, field social work, cooperation with schools, teachers, directors, volunteers
the program has also its own methodology.

Why do you consider it to be a "good practice"?
There are still families that don’t see education as a value and monetary stimulus becomes one of the key motivating elements to complete at least a basic level of secondary education

What is the evidence? Evaluations?
All activities of staff People in Need are recorded to electronic database system.
Evaluation with family and student is once a week.
Evaluation of program is once a half year.

Currently, 80 children are involved in the project of reverse scholarships; the results will be analyzed in detail at the end of the pilot project.