Only 11% of children make it to higher education. Many drop out of school because they find it dull and uninspiring, intimidating or disconnected from their lives. Through the Shiksha initiative, four sets of parents from Dadri, Naya Gaon and Sarai Dulha villages in Bulandshahr and Gautam Buddha Nagar districts of UP have noticed a sea-change in their children’s attitude toward school and learning.
Ambuj Mishra was terrified of going to school. His father had to leave his own work and go and sit in school for 3-4 hours on many days to ensure his little boy stayed in class. Now Ambhuj rushes out of the house every morning to attend school, never forgetting to wish everyone in the family good morning.
Riya and Diya’s mother had to take them out of private school due to straitened circumstances and put them in a government school. Now she is so happy with their schooling, how they are learning and how sensible they have become, that she has abandoned her plan to put them back into a private school in a couple of years.
Gopal was a worry to his father too, but now he is enthusiastic about school and keeps chatting about all the things he learns on the computer in class. His father is also impressed by how he behaves, speaks to people… everything has improved so much.
Anshi’s father used to worry about his little daughter – she didn’t particularly like school and was not benefitting from it much. Now, after 2 years with the Shiksha programme coming into her school, she is delighted to see the change in her. “She comes home and tells everyone what she learned in school. She does her homework herself and loves her teachers. She has learned to behave properly too. We are all very happy with this programme,” he explains.
Using the very curriculum set by the government for reading, writing (literacy) and numeracy, the Shiksha initiative has developed simple ICT-based tutorials embellished with sound effects and music to enhance children’s learning and make classes fun. Teachers are trained to use these materials so that education and learning become engaging and experiential. This aids in attention and retention greatly, as children lap up the videos and computer exercises. It also frees up teachers to take the discussions further and make the time to answer questions. Most of all, children learn to apply the knowledge they have gained… and acquire an open mind for lifelong learning.
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