Shiksha Saarthi: CGPL’s driving force

Krishnaben, a reticent, hardworking 30 year-old teacher , lives in Mota Kandagara village in Kutch, Gujarat, and prefers spending time talking to her students than to anyone outside her classroom. But mention Shiksha Saarthi (SS) to her and she becomes positively voluble. “I have been a teacher for 11 years in government schools, but I have never felt so confident, so enthused, as I do now,” she declares. She also stated, “Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL) has helped me add tremendous professional value to my portfolio. Attending its teachers’ training workshop was an eye opener. I picked up many new and innovative methods of teaching, discussed problems commonly faced by all teachers and jointly tried to find solutions to these problems. The training also boosted my skills in management, research and administrative systems. Now I am ready to tackle any challenge that comes my way!”

Krishnaben is not alone; she is one of the many competent professionals in the Kutch region of Gujarat who are being developed by Tata Power’s CGPL, as part of the company’s commitment towards societies in and around its flagship project, the 4000MW Ultra Mega Power Plant. Towards this project aimed at educating people in Mundra, the Company has partnered with Pratham Education Foundation, the largest NGO working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. And together they have launched Shiksha Saarthi, a programme that is potent enough to transform the profile of school education in 84 schools of Mandvi and Mundra Taluka of Kutch, focusing primarily on the six catchment villages that lay within the CGPL site – Tunda-Vandh, Mota Kandagra of Mundra; Nanabhadia, Tragadi and Modva of Mandvi Taluka.

Trained to Teach

“Quality is our buzzword. At CGPL, our goal is to ensure that every segment of the local community has access to education. But that alone is not enough. The faculty and facilities provided to the students must be of top notch standard,” says a senior CGPL official. And that can be possible only when the people who are actually conducting the programme on the ground are informed, willing and updated with the latest developments in the field.

Therefore, training is an integral part of SS. Every team member who seeks to train the others are made to undergo rigorous training before moving to the field. Each of the trainers are fitted into the SS hierarchy. The partners have constituted dedicated teams of Master Trainers (MTs) for language, mathematics and science, trained by Pratham’s education experts. In-turn, they train the Cluster Resource Leaders (CRLs) at the district level. Finally, the CRLs train the volunteers within their respective cluster of villages. The more efficient and supremely confident SS brigade is then ready to help revive and rejuvenate Kutch’s ailing education system.

Review and Revise

The more important segment of the training starts next. “We are constantly reminded by the CGPL team to focus on documentation and review reports to assess the desired impact” informs a Pratham staff member. So the SS team keeps track of each and every participant and his or her family. For instance, it did observe that 8-year old Rashid Sameja was the weakest and most unwilling participant of the week-long Mathematics camp in Tragdi village. Seven days later, he was so fascinated with the simple Math games that he wanted to carry back home the strands of straw that were used as props. “He made his younger brother Nasib learn the math games and now they are ‘involved with playing math’ all day. “We are so happy and proud” beams Kulsumben, Rashid’s mother who cannot read or write herself. The SS team monitors and analyses cases such as Rashid’s.

“Achievements have been appreciated and shared far and wide and this has been highly motivating for the SS team. As a social enterprise which seeks to improve, strengthen and sustain efforts in the community, it has been a privilege to partner with CGPL,” explains the Pratham staff members.

“We mould and re-mould our strategy as we move ahead,” concludes a CGPL member. Difficult job? Of course it is. But a delighted Krishnaben and a Kusum aglow with pride and makes it all worthwhile.

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