Building the basic competencies of students through a holistic learning process is an important step towards nation building. Keeping this in mind, the TaRL framework has been set up to create guidelines for teachers to plan activities that focus on languages and mathematics, working on basic arithmetic, reading and comprehension skills of students. With the help of government officials, the project was scaled up as all, Pratham, CGPL and the Government of Gujarat joined hands to implement the TaRL program to boost learning levels in children.
A five-learning level system has been undertaken to create manageable groups of students, with the aim being to move students up every learning level by the end of an academic year. A resource kit that supports activities for languages and maths has been created and distributed, while assessment tests are conducted periodically to keep a close track of the progress shown by students. With this framework in place, 58 schools in the CGPL vicinity, 2004 children and 121 teachers were included in the program.
A number of challenges were faced by the team while implementing the TaRL program. Schools in the interior regions of Gujarat often have a low rate of enrolment, leading to complex strategies being formulated to help raise this rate, with a special focus being given to rural citizens so that they take ownership at the school level. Volunteers were also encouraged to reach out to children and parents in remote villages to help the program be a success.
Monitoring the progress was also another difficult task. A good number of mothers spent time conducting activities with their children during the night and to tackle this, regular home visits were undertaken to track if any challenges were being faced by the students. Feedback was also taken from teachers and the general consensus was that the training process imparted to them was found to be helpful.
Huge benefits were seen after the implementation of the program. Language levels increased in children, with students seeing good improvement in their story levels, while more number of children could recognise letters. Students also learnt basic maths better, with the number of children who could only recognise double digit numbers decreasing by double digit numbers. There was a 9 percentage point growth in the number of children who could recognise three digit numbers. Grasp of math operations saw an upward tilt as well, with the number of children being able to carry out basic addition and subtraction increasing by 4 and 8 percentage points respectively.
Other activities such as summer camps, a school entrance programs that will mobilise communities to admit children in the first grade and training camps for teachers have been conducted to ensure that literacy levels grow annually. The Laakhon mein Ek campaign was also conducted under this program, helping to grow awareness about education in the area. Through this initiative, as it takes its roots in the region, CGPL hopes to contribute to its long-lasting desire to contribute to holistic community development in the area through increase in the learning achievements among the children