Introduction:Akshar Forum, catering to about 100 children, takes a holistic approach to the eradication of poverty. Akshar Forum connects underprivileged children and parents to the vast knowledge resources of the internet to teach them how to earn a living, start a business, initiate development work in their own communities, and act as stewards for their local environment.
The MODEL:Students teaching Students: Every student in Akshar Forum is trained and "employed" as a tutor and instructor to children in grade levels beneath them. This way children with uneducated parents can still receive essential individual attention.
Student teachers are paid a small “wage” in toy money, which they exchange for school supplies, clothing, food, etc. This affords poor children the opportunity to secure their basic needs, but still feel like they are earning it themselves. Their wage is commensurate with their academic grade level and skills as a teacher. In other words, students with more knowledge, greater patience and compassion receive higher wages for teaching.
Despite having only one year of data, we have had great success with this approach.
Since they can proceed through the curriculum at their own pace, and since their grade level determines their wages, we saw a marked increase in the amount of schoolwork performed by students both at home and during free periods.