Contents • Education in TN • The Problems & solution • Vidya Vanam • Objectives • People Behind Vidya Vanam • Why Annaikatty? • Vidya Vanam – what’s different • Methodology • Curriculum • Faculty • Infrastructure • Requirements
Status of Education in TN Schools • The state has been able to address the question of access almost completely – except in certain tribal pockets and child-labour intensive areas • Access isn’t a major problem • While enrolment has increased, the dropout rate is the worrying factor
Enrolment Vs Dropout • One of the common reasons for dropout cited is the “ignorance of parents who don’t understand the importance of education and instead send their children to work”. But this perception is wrong • A number of studies have shown that parents, even from even the poorest families, attach great importance to the education of their children • In 2000-01, the drop out rate in Primary school (Classes I-V) was 41%. • Classes I –VIII , the number increases to 53%* • Drop out at an age too young for child labour • More than 50% of the Dalit children dropout by class V, majority by class III *source: selected educational statistics 2001
Why do children dropout? • Children go to school with enthusiasm to learn • Several Studies have shown that ‘lack of learning’ and ‘boredom in schools’ are the most important cause for children dropping out of schools • They also find that attending school reminds them of their constant failure to learn and saps their confidence. In the famous Learning Without Burden Report , Prof. Yash Pal says, “The most cruel burden we place on our children is the burden of non-comprehension in our schools. A significant fraction of children who drop out may be those who refuse to compromise with non-comprehension.” source: (1) Learning without Burden, National Advisory Committee Report to Govt of India, 1993
Quality of Education • ASER survey results show that while the national averages for children who can read sentences and do subtraction are 66% and 65% respectively, the averages for Tamilnadu are 47% and 53% respectively • The Government’s reading evaluation done in March 2006 also shows that only 52% children in 5th Std can read. • Reading evaluation study done in October 2006 in 5 districts with teachers that showed about 54% children could read sentences and only about 35% could read a simple paragraph in Tamil
Reasons for lack of quality • Ineffective Methodology • Teachers read from books • Children not encouraged to think independently or creatively • Tested on memory and marks • Lack of Learning Resources (Rural) • Schools and teachers have no access to libraries, reading materials, activity kits • Balwadis have no learning aids or even simple toys. • Serious lack of educational resources accessible to poor children • few that are available are quite costly • Unclear definition of quality for teachers • teachers are quite confused about what is expected from them • Quality is seen as high ‘pass %’ • In some schools, there are no teachers/classes don’t even happen
Reasons for lack of quality • System’s Delivery Capability • Even when governments have the will, they often do not have the internal capacity to actually change the quality • Even if the officials push for a ‘good change’, the system isn’t equipped to handle it • Its not only the children, even some teachers don’t understand concepts • Low community involvement • Poor children have no access to a learning environment at home • Parents and community members are not even clear on what children are expected to know and what schools must deliver
Dalit children • Dalit children quit mainly because they face discrimination • School may not be ‘socially accessible’ • Sit and eat separately • By teachers and other students • Tribal children • Used to lot of freedom and find classrooms restrictive • Have their own language/dialect and find it difficult to understand the regional language/dialect • Want teachers who don’t treat them as inferior • Women have a better standing in tribal society than other communities • Parents not educated • Not the best learning environment at home
How to improve quality? • Ensure Children learn and enjoy learning • Encourage creative and independent thinking • Provide access to free/low cost learning material, activity kits, libraries • Motivate the teachers • Define and measure quality – for teachers and students • Ensure our methodology works with the existing system A systematic approach to address all aspects
Vidya Vanam • Elementary school for tribal and underprivileged children • Started in July 2007 • Situated in Annaikatty, which is situated at the foothills of the Niligri range, 25 kilometers from Coimbatore • Currently up to 2nd standard with 97 children • An initiative of Bhuvana Foundation • The school is accredited by the National Open School Programme under The Ministry of Education and Literacy and The Ministry of Human Resources and Development
Vidya VanamObjectives • To provide a comprehensive holistic and affordable education to children • To provide an environment of self learning and activity based learning as a central element of education • To integrate into the curriculum an understanding of the strengths and aptitudes of individual students • To respect and understand the cultural traditions and roots of the community and environment • To foster tolerance of other cultures and preservation of folklore, folk art and culture
People Behind Vidya Vanam Mrs. Prema Rangachary • The principal advisor, Permanent trustee of Bhuvana Foundation and the key person at Vidya Vanam - has extensive background and experience in education of children and adults. • Has played a key role in the development of the Balwadi program in and around Annaikatty. • She has been trained in Oxford, UK, to teach English as a second language. • Taught in Ethiraj College, Chennai • She has conducted numerous workshops to management in the corporate world, and devised novel tools to teach children from various cultural and economic backgrounds. • Continues to train teachers, challenging conventional methods of imparting knowledge. • Has personally trained the teachers who are now at Vidya Vanam
Bhuvana FoundationOther Permanent Trustees Dr. S. Sriram • currently Professor of Experimental Neurology at Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville TN. • A physician scientist and teacher to the graduate school and the author of over 100 manuscripts in the field of neuroscience • Has chosen to focus on the education needs of underserved areas in India and in his home state of Tamilnadu. • His interests in education have arisen in part from his family’s long standing legacy in recognizing the role of education as a critical means to end poverty
Bhuvana FoundationOther Permanent Trustees Mrs.Shanthi Ranganathan • As the director of the TTK Charitable Trust and hospital since its inception in 1979 • Has been a pioneer in developing and implementing treatment programs that deal with the societal problems of alcoholism and drug addiction. • In addition, she oversees the governing body of the Government School in Manjakudi, Tamilnadu. • Has been the recipient of numerous awards the most prestigious of those include the Padma Shree and the Vienna Civil Society Award, which was presented to her by the then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for her outstanding work in fighting drug abuse.
Bhuvana FoundationOther Trustees Mrs.Bhooma Parthasarathy • Director and a Trustee of the Thirumalai Charity Trust, which works towards "Bring the Rural poor Together in Building Their own Future". • She has been primarily responsible for setting up and managing an integrated rural programme of the Trust, since 1983. • Since 1994, she has been involved in educational service and she set up the three Vedavalli Vidyalaya schools in Ranipet and Walajapet (Two under the CBSE and one under the state syllabus). • She is the correspondent of the schools and a Trustee of The Akshaya Vidya Trust that manages them. • And others who have worked in the field of education and/or rural development …
Bhuvana FoundationObjectives • Children Education • To establish Balwadis (early school program) in the tribal villages • To provide comprehensive education for the children of tribal families in rural areas • To organize after school programs for children to minimize school dropouts • To teach the importance and value of health, hygiene and nutrition • To support and facilitate schools run by the government by providing basic amenities or equipments necessary for the school • Preventive Health • Ensure the immunization of all children of primary school age • To conduct periodic health camps during which preventive measures pertaining to hygiene, health and nutrition will be emphasized • To screen for the presence of nutritional deficiencies, infectious ailments and metabolic abnormalities and plan for their follow up care • To ensure adequate services are provided for pregnant mothers and the new born • To develop cooperative tie-ups with regional health care facilities so that detection of serious health care needs in the population can be addressed promptly • Health Education • To develop a health awareness program that is responsive to the indigenous needs of the community • To train individuals within the community who will serve as health educators • To evaluate the impact of these services through surveys and assess the success of immunization programs, health education tools on the health and well being of the community
Why Annaikatty ? • Mrs. Rangachary has been working with balwadis or play schools in the tribal villages in and around Annaikatty and therefore familiar with the area and requirements. • Most families work in the brick kilns as coolies • some graze sheep and goats others collect forest produce like goose berries and honey. • Their income will be on an average Rs.1500 per month.
AnnaikattyChildren • Before Vidya Vanam was launched, we had a meeting with 40 head men of the villages from a 10km radius from Annaikatty. • They felt that the government school was not giving them any head start in life as less than 50% of them are able to complete 10th .So they go back to their homes and have to start allover again • The children who live in the vicinity of the Annaikatty town have access to the government schools, but those further away do not go to school. • These children who are not educated tend to live in their villages and go for wage labour.
Annaikatty • The parents felt that they need better education and they see the importance of learning English to go for higher learning. They seem to see it as a passport to better life. • Parents though not schooled are aware of the opportunities that good education brings. • Woman in tribal societies are more ‘equal’ than other societies and so the girl child is also likely to continue their education
Student Body • Current status – 97 children • the students are in primary – up to 2nd standard • 09-10 : 140
Curriculum and Methodology • Curriculum will be provided in English and Tamil. The medium of instruction is English. Hindi is offered as an additional language. • The focus is to integrate child-centered activity-based learning with a curriculum that ensures verbal, written, computing skills and individual thinking. • The curriculum also includes Art and Craft, Pottery, Weaving, Dance, Drama and Music.
Curriculum and Methodology • The curriculum integrates teacher directed and child directed activities. Children will learn from work cards and sheets • A multi-age group classroom of 20 students, work in groups of 2 to 6 students. • Such grouping is based on interest, needs, learning style, problem solving, skill instruction and reinforcement. • In addition, the school recognizes and nourishes the tribal culture and background of the students by integrating their songs, stories and legends into their learning
Curriculum and Methodology • While the curriculum strives to ensure the literacy of children during their early years of childhood, the teachers and advisors ensure that there is a balance in striving towards academic, social and cultural excellence. • The children and prepared to be most importantly self learners with appreciation of the world around them.
Stages of developmentFoundation stage (3-5 years) • The kindergarten classes are exciting places where children are introduced to a variety of activities, such as painting, games, story telling and songs. • These activities are aimed at developing personal, social and emotional well-being; positive attitudes towards learning; social skills; attention and persistence; language and communication; literacy and numeric skills • Physical co-ordination; creativity; and a knowledge and understanding of the world. • The educational progresses of the students are closely monitored and their profiles are discussed with their parents during parent teacher meetings.
Stages of developmentKey Stage 1 (ages 5-7) • Key Stage 1 aims to provide pupils with a solid foundation in the major areas of English, Tamil, mathematics and science, while, at the same time, developing pupils` knowledge and skills through integrated learning. • Emphasis is placed on English and Tamil, both written and oral, so that the children learn to read fluently and with understanding. • The pupil at the end of Key Stage 1, is ready to take the National open exam for grade 3
Stages of developmentKey Stage 2 (ages 7-11) • The Key Stage 2 curriculum covers the full range of subjects, expanding on the knowledge gained in Key Stage 1. • We recognise the importance of preparing our children well for middle school by instilling good study habits and developing them as independent learners. • Children are encouraged to make increasing use of resources to study independently. • At the end of key stage 2, the students take the 5th grade exam offered by the National Open School.
Reading & Writing • The children take home a book once a week – to develop the habit of reading at home. • At first these are picture books, but the amount of text they include will gradually increase as the children move through the school. • The books are in either English or Tamil. The children learn to read through a combined approach, using phonics, look and say and contextual clues. • We teach a simple, clear handwriting script. • A structured phonics program (English) is used throughout KS1 to enhance reading, writing and spelling skills.
Speaking and Listening • If children cannot speak properly and express themselves clearly, they will not be able to write fluently • This is a very important part of the National Curriculum, and we devise a range of activities to ensure the children develop an aptitude in speaking and listening skills
Science and Mathematics Mathematics • In the early stages of school, children are provided with a rich variety of hands-on experiences, which provide building blocks for mathematical understanding. • This includes plenty of mental math, as well as formal recording and investigative and problem-solving work. • The Abacus scheme is used alongside a range of supplementary materials Science • Environmental sciences - starting with what is around them • Animals, mountains, rain, metal etc. • We want children to be curious about things they observe, and explore the world about them with all their senses • importance and value of health, hygiene and nutrition
Faculty and Material • Teaching experience and have also undergone training in Montessori methods, using Activity Based Learning (ABL) material and the Glenn Doman methods of teaching • Vidya Vanam places great emphasis on training the teachers with regular training programmes • Faculty who understand the rural way of life • Special aide who is committed to tribal development, assisting in material development and a bridge with the parents • Study material prepared by academicians who have 30 years’ experience and involved in rural life and education
Besides studies.. • 1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. activities consists of music dance, craft, drama outdoor play, pottery. • Taught by Mr.Thapa, Masters in Fine Arts program,, Santhiniketan • Painting workshops • Nok Wanvisa, a native of Thailand and currently doing her final year in Art at the Art Institute in Santhiniketan, spent 3 days at Vidya Vanam. • Taught them to make shadow puppets. She also explored with the teachers the possibility of using all the natural materials available around for art. • Children used mud for painting, and did printing with banana stems, leaves and flowers.
Measuring Performance • Evaluation is continuous process • The rigid classroom structure is done away with, in a mixed age group ability classroom the children move at their own pace • The card system has built in evaluation cards which gives the teacher an idea as to whether the student has understood the concept • Examination process is not at the end of each year but when the child is ready for it • The national open school gives us the autonomy and the flexibility to send children up at the 3rd 5th and 8th levels
Measuring Performance • Though the materials are similar to other methods (cards worksheets etc.) the material is handled by trained teachers and the student teacher ratio is < than 1:20 and therefore the system becomes more efficient • We hope to be able to have a group of children who have developed their thinking skills and confident to express their ideas .and communicate with ease in English
Other facilities • Food • Breakfast, lunch and evening snack • Transport • Children are picked up in van from a 15 km radius
Parent Teacher Communication • The school communicates with parents regularly • Parents are welcome to speak to staff or the head teacher at any time
Classes and Infrastructurecurrent • 3 Phase construction • Phase one, which is complete, consists of an administrative block, kitchen and dining room, assembly hall, toilet block, security room, storage room, two rooms that will serve as class rooms for the current student population and two faculty quarters • In addition, a safe and secure play area with outdoor equipment, an open-air auditorium, library with computer assisted learning tools, music room and an art and craft rooms are planned for the current academic year
Classes and Infrastructure • Student body to increased to 97 for the academic year 2008- 2009. • To accommodate the increase in the number of students, a four classroom block has been built • In addition, a dormitory block that will provide lodging for permanent and visiting faculty is planned.
Classes and Infrastructure • Phase 3 will serve to fulfill a student body of 140 students. • The third phase consists of an additional four class room block that will be completed by the end of the rainy season of 2009
Future Plan 2010 • Beginning 2010, Vidya Vanam board plans to develop a middle school program that will be transition students from the elementary school to classes 6 through 10 • All the children who pass through class V may not want to go for higher education. • So we intend to start a vocational stream to give the students an option to earn soon after 10th or 12th • This phase will include the building of vocational schools that will dovetail with the educational curriculum and provide practical experience for students completing 10th grade
Budget Status (Rs. Lakhs)for the school This is only for the school and does not cover other initiatives of Bhuvana Foundation such as health care etc.
Sponsorship • Donations are accepted to cover costs for children education, mid-day meal and snack • Estimated cost per child is as follows: • Education costs (teacher salaries, books and school supplies) Rs. 4000 per annum • Food and transportation costs Rs. 3500 per annum • Total costs to educate a child for a year (approximately) Rs. 7500