What follows requires just three minutes of your time to understand my mission, journey till date and how I need your help in my journey to continue adding value to our education system and consequently students, especially the underprivileged.
I have always been a believer of the ground up approach to social upliftment. The society’s growth is hugely dependent on the improvement of the underprivileged and people with low social capital.
Which is why I started building my knowledge of the Indian education system and policy making by working with “Teach for India” - a prestigious 2-year fellowship program that works with over 300+ rural/urban government schools across the nation.
Post-induction, I started my terms as a teacher at a public school in the city of Chennai, teaching 129 students, striving to give them access to quality education and opportunities to unleash their full potential. These were students that were subjected to numerous social deterrents like poverty, malnutrition, lack of access to learning materials, corporal punishment, and under-equipped systems to support girls with learning disabilities. On top of that was the deep rooted issue of the problem of gender discrimination. My involvement there enabled me to understand first-hand the reality and the causes that resulted in deterring their quality of education.
I spent the two years solving as many problems as I could by running individual fundraisers, reaching out to good-will individuals from personal contacts to assist some specific cases of students. It was heart-breaking that I had the capability to help only a few and there were many more that needed help and there are societal problems that can be solved by better policies. The next obvious step was to work with the state where the planning and functioning of the system happens from.
I started working with the state education department under the guidance of R.Nanthakumar IAS, Commissioner of School Education and R.Sudhan IAS, State Project Director, Samagra Siksha, Tamil Nadu. Together our team in the past one year has implemented more than 4 new initiatives and received great response during the testing times such as the pandemic.
There is still room for improvement and I believe in the great mission and see the drive from the government to continuously improve access to quality education.
Inorder to further dedicate myself to the mission, I decided to upskill myself and have looked for opportunities that will enable me to contribute more to the current Dravidian Vision.
I have been admitted for the second time into the The Education Policy and Analysis program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University - recognized as one of the best programs for education in the world. I am sure this will help me augment my skills gained through my experiences with knowledge relevant to understanding the education system across the world and how they make sure that every girl child, especially in rural parts of developing and underdeveloped countries, deal with the combined impact of gender, educational and socio-economic inequities.
The major reason I couldn’t pursue it the first time was because of affordability concerns. Simply put, I just couldn’t afford it. Realizing the irony is that I am caught in the very cycle of educational inequity that I want to break. I am aware this is bigger than me, and in the last two years, my belief in the vision has only gotten stronger. This time I tried bank loans, which have been futile because they don’t think I have enough to cover the costs.
As a last attempt to not miss such an opportunity, I am reaching out to the believers of the vision to provide equal access to quality education to every student of Tamil Nadu and India, to raise funds for my post-graduation in Education Policy and Analysis program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University.
Please find details of my work below: