Jawaharlal Nehru, 15th August 1947
As a concerned citizen of this incredible country, it really disturbs me that even after being an independent nation for more than 73 years, we still haven't managed to awake India to life and freedom.
The root cause is a miserably failed education system. A system that could not develop confidence in these voiceless communities, so they could fight together against the injustice. A system that could not teach empathy to the people in power, consequently, and unfortunately, making most of them deaf to the hue and cry of these helpless citizens.
The gravity of this situation magnifies exponentially in the rural education setup. The main reason is the lack of involvement of the families in the overall growth of the child. There are a couple of reasons – lack of ability, lack of intent, and sometimes, the lack of belief in the fact, that education is indeed a very powerful tool.
Tell us about the school
Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya is located in a very remote village in Dharwad district, Karnataka. With the help of a successful Child sponsorship program, the school provides free academic, music, food and residential facilities to more than 200 kids who come from the underprivileged background. Around 90% of them are the first generation learners. The average monthly income of some of the families is less than Rs 5000
What is your plan?
I want to transform this school into a source of community development. I have a three-stage plan to execute this idea:
Stage 1: Assessment and Support
- Topic-wise extra classes so that weak students from different grades can learn together
- Intense classroom observations and one-to-one discussions with the teachers in developing a deeper understanding of their challenges
- Designing a process of a constructive feedback mechanism for the teachers and student
- Developing master trainers in the school
- Field visit for teachers and students to different organizations to give them a first-hand exposure of best practices, and supporting the teachers to integrate the ideas in their classes
- Developing a culture of an Arts-based curriculum
- Master trainers will conduct quality training for the teachers and senior students
- Senior students (mostly girls) will conduct capacity building sessions for the parents
- Students will design an Arts-based curriculum to spread socio, economic and political awareness in their communities
Cost per child: INR 650 per month (annual increase~ 15-20%)
Total Children: 230
Duration of the project: 5 years
- Professional services:
- Full-time/Part-time employees
- Teaching aids
- Props and aids for arts-based learning
- Music instruments
- Field visits for teachers and students
- Content development
- Workshops for parents
- Programmes for community development
- Travel, food, accommodation
It was amazing. I came as an English teaching volunteer in 2017. There were drama projects where the students were encouraged to write their own script, dialogues, and then perform it in the class.
Being a musician, I was also involved with the music department, supporting the teachers in strengthening their classes.
After completing my one year of volunteering, I was very much at peace with the things around and I decided to move back to the corporate sector. But a few months later, something tragic happened and I started realizing that the root cause of all such issues, which have paralyzed society is a failed education system. There was this humble realization that a long-term commitment is required to bring an impact.
So, I came back last year and have been actively involved in strengthening the academic department. There were regular trainings for the teachers in Educational psychology, Vedic Math and Memory techniques. The intent was to support the teachers to become more empathetic towards the emotional and learning challenges of students. We also conducted a baseline assessment to get a quantitative idea of the learning level of each child. There was room for improvement and the school supported me in designing and implementing all the necessary interventions to address all such issues.
What is your vision?
My vision is to develop and promote a culture of an Arts-based curriculum. I am not limiting my imagination to teach only concepts, but taking it a step further.
Imagine there are a couple of hungry plants who are searching for food. We provide them with water and sunlight, and they start burping. Sounds cool, right? But, I don’t want to stop at just teaching photosynthesis. I want them to act and show society what happens to those hungry plants when someone feeds plastic or harmful chemicals to them. I want to create a Greta Thunberg in every school in this country!
An Arts-based curriculum will be instrumental in spreading awareness about government policies/schemes. We will save hundreds of billions of dollars spent on advertising campaigns.
My name is Sahil Dogra. I was born in Himachal Pradesh and brought up in Delhi. My father is a retired Delhi Government school teacher, and I feel he is the main reason why my interest in education developed over the years. This journey started in my second year of engineering at Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi. I got involved in teaching the kids in the slums of Dwarka with some of my friends. This was later followed as an English teaching volunteer in the orphanages in Delhi while working with Make A Difference (MAD).
After observing the challenge that the students were facing in Mathematics, I ended up initiating a project on my own to help the 10th standard students of Arya Anathalaya, Daryaganj. The passing percentage increased from 55% to 90%. This idea was later conceptualized into a national project and is currently running in more than 23 cities.
After graduating, I worked for two years with Deloitte as an analyst in Hyderabad. Additionally, on the weekends, I worked with the Becoming I Foundation as the project head of Project Leap where, with the help of about 60 volunteers, we were involved in giving basic music, dance, drama, and sports training to more than 500 children in eight shelter homes in Hyderabad.
The project was a huge success and after noticing the drastic improvement in the confidence level of the children, I started wondering about the scale of impact that would come, if I could start working full-time for children like them. Fortunately, I found one such opportunity with Avanti Fellows. They were building up a team in Raghogarh, a small village in Madhya Pradesh, to help aspiring students compete in the engineering exams with a strong focus on peer-to-peer learning.
After a few months, I started managing their operations in Bihar and had the privilege to get exposed to the rural education setup of the state. After working with Avanti, I had the amazing opportunity to work with the Boston Consulting Group. We were working with the education secretary of a state to transform 40k public schools into model schools. It was all going well, but then there were multiple triggers that made me question the meaning of things. I decided to take a break from this race and came to this school in 2017 as a teaching volunteer.
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