As part of its CSR initiative the Siksha Sarthi programme has been launched in partnership with Pratham, an agency specialising in working on learning achievements in schools. Given that learning achievements in schools is a key concern in school education across the country, CGPL has decided to address this issue in a focused manner.
In Kutch, learning levels of children in school are critically affected by lack of teachers (an estimated about 30% vacancy of teachers has been recorded in 2015) and therefore the pressures of teaching children in school is enourmous. CGPL in partnership with Shree Sarva Seva Trust has been filling in the critical gap with Para Teachers, however, quality classroom transaction still remains an issue.
In collaboration with Pratham CGPL is working with children in 83 schools spread across 50 villages in Mandvi Block. Through these interventions, children (Class 3 to Class 5) who are lagging behind in learning achievements are provided additional support by organising learning camps. Typically 4 learning camps are held for 4 weeks each in a year. Remarkable improvements in learning in language and mathematics have been noted. Apart from the learning achievements in classroom, Pratham through its activities in interactions with mothers of the children and hosting a variety of learning enhancement events are helping children to develop proactive learning behaviour. Pratham is playing a key role in identifying the potential of children in specific areas and encouraging them to flourish to their full potential.
The story of Nikita Jepar: Nikita Jepar was a shy girl and hesitated to participate in deliberations in the classroom. She was also not very forthcoming in participating in the different educational activities in the school.
Initial observation: During the Learning Camp, Pratham CRL observed the hesitancy and shyness of Nikita, though she is intelligent and understands all the activities very well. The home work given to the children were best done by Nikita , as observed by the CRL. The CRL also observed that Nikita does not take any part in any activity,especially in any presentation. She appeared to be a reticent girl. When the CRL asked Nikita to participate for the presentations, she would keep herself away from any discourse. During the community and home visits, the CRL talked to Nikita’s parents and learnt that Nikita was not shy at home. She was quite forthcoming and proactive. In her home environment Nikita was full of energy and expressive.
How Nikita got involved: Community and home visits enabled the Pratham CRL to understand the issues/ subject matter which enthused Nikita. Her fellow students also said that Nikita was quite active involved when she interacted with her peers. Understanding this behavioural trait of Nikita at the learning camp, the CRL engaged in conversations with Nikita, so she felt comfortable to open up, ask questions and talk about what she learnt. This continuous process helped Nikita to participate in all the camp activities, and the CRL encouraged her further by making her a monitor during groupactivity. She liked the activities on science experiments, science activities interested her, so CRL encouraged her participation. Taking part in preparation for activity motivated Nikita to present as well. Nikita thus presented her science experiments in the recent camp. This process has helped Nikita to open up and speak up with everyone at the camp. She has done well in all her subjects!
What Nikita’s parents had to say: Nikita’s father – Bharatbhai Jepar said , “We are feeling happy to see the positive change in my daughter, Nikita does more work/study at home. She also does science experiments and explains about what she has done to all of us at home”
Nikita’s class teacher proudly stated “I could not think we would be able to bring out such positive change in the child, I am so glad to see her engage in all activity and present too – which is encouraging”.
Key Observation: Every child is special and has her/ his own strengths and shortcomings. The classroom should ideally be identifying these trails of children, with the motive of reinforcing the strength and strengthening the weaknesses. Siksha Sarthi, along with working on the bigger picture of improving learning achievements in school also focuses on the individual children; work on their all round abilities and ensure that their potential is fully harnessed.