Education is one of the fundamental areas where our Integral Village Development Programme deploys its energies and resources. The Programme aims to take holistic education to the villages, focusing on the fundamental and integrated development of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual dimensions of the human self—adapting its delivery to suit rural conditions and status.
With persistent efforts since 2005, working as a catalytic layer between the government schemes and the village community, the Village Programme has been able to ensure 100% enrolment of the children from the adopted hamlets to attend preschool up to middle school; 90% of the eligible children now attend secondary schools. The high school students under the Programme guidance have achieved 100% pass results; their school one among only 3 out of the 23 schools in the taluk (similar to a ‘county’) to achieve this outstanding performance.
Simple, interesting and interactive methods of teaching, relevant to the rural surroundings and experiences, are used to provide vocational training in agriculture, handicrafts, rural and agro-based industries and services. Children with an aptitude for higher education are given support and guidance so that they are able to continue their academic pursuits in the neighbouring universities.
In addition to academics, the Village Programme maintains a concentrated focus on character and personality building in the process of imparting curricular and physical education to rural children. The aim is also to ignite the aspiration for self-development and self-reliance in them.
Improving infrastructure, enhancing facilities, creating awareness in the village community, motivating teachers, involving parents, expanding the domains to physical and cultural education and effectively aligning government support are the primary focus areas of the Village Programme in its efforts towards emphasizing the essentiality and importance of child education.
During the last year work was on going in these areas of education.
Children Corner: Evening tuition classes are conducted for all the students in all the villages under Creative Accomplishment Project. Gradually, many students have started to attend the classes and especially the students of 10th and 12th are highly interested in attending tuition classes punctually to help them clear the government administered State Board Examinations. In addition, 2,000 children attend the supplementary education classes at 15 centres in the project villages.
Also, at the Satyam centre, the Children’s Corner conducts regular informal gatherings of children from each of the hamlets. Over 1,750 children attend these gatherings each week and these are opportunities for children through Grades 1 to 10 to discuss issues, concerns and needs they may have, and to receive support and encouragement from the staff to work through any obstacles.
Educational Support: Apart from the additional tuitions that are provided at the Children’s Corner, SARVAM assisted in the placement and financial support of more than 125 students from the secondary school and higher education levels. Timely assistance in monetary terms benefitted them tremendously to continue their education, which is often scuttled due to lack of funds. The dropout rate for girls was alarmingly high and financial help is specially essential for the daughters belonging to poverty-struck or vulnerable families.
Health Programmes: Every ear, the Children’s Corner sponsors several health camps conducted by many local hospitals to check for physical, mental and social health of the children. Children are also tested for deficiencies, especially anaemia, to ensure that none of the kids suffer in the formative years due to lack of nutrition. The SARVAM coordinators also work with the village government nurses and doctors of hospitals to assist them in their care of those students who are found to be suffering of serious illnesses or deficiencies.
Summer Camp 2017: From April 15 to May 30, 2017, SARVAM conducted a Summer Camp in two batches for the children that belong to the villages under their care and adoption. More than 1250 children, in the age group of 6 to 18, participated in the Camp. It was for the ninth consecutive year that the SARVAM Summer Camp was organized. The two sessions, spanning over six weeks and 8 different village locations, involved 35 professional trainers, 25 SARVAM coordinators and over 50 volunteer teachers from the villages and cities. All these facilitators in addition to over 1,250 children needed to be fed lunch and snacks! Nearly 100 women helped cook over 120–150 kg of rice daily (in three 50-kg capacity pots!) on earthen stoves.
This year, some of the learning activities taught through the span of the Camp included: • Various dance forms; • Singing classes; • Art and craft classes; • Value education classes, emphasizing on qualities of teamwork, honesty, perseverance, leadership, attitudes, etc.; • Reading and writing Sanskrit slogans; • The Art of Storytelling; • Math and science made fun; • Public conduct and speaking; • First aid training; • Making and presenting puppet shows; • Theatre and mimes as a way of storytelling; • Sports and martial arts; • Spoken English, etc.
English Access Program: Supported by the United States Embassy in India, the Access Program started in April 2013 with the objective of upgrading English language skills in the village. The program was to run over a period of 20 months, and cover 110 students. The results of the project (both spoken and written English skills were tested) were so encouraging and greatly appreciated by the Embassy Officials that the project has got two extensions and will now continue till 2019. More than 375 students have benefitted from learning a global language which will help them in their future academic and professional careers.
As a result of the Village Programme’s persistent efforts, currently all the children in the hamlets (covered by the Programme) in the age group of 2 to 5 years are attending preschool. Through regular awareness and motivational initiatives, the Village Programme has been able to invoke an active interest in the mothers of the village towards their wards’ education, health, hygiene and well-being. Volunteers and non-governmental organizations in the field of child education regularly attend preschool and conduct fun classes for the children and their mothers. Outings and day tours are arranged for the schoolchildren, where their mothers are involved, both as organizers as well as participants in the Programme.
Primary School/High School
The Village Programme has been able to achieve 100% enrolment of eligible children in primary school. The pass percentage in the secondary examination has shown a remarkable leap from a mere 25% to 100%, with significant improvement in the performance of girls. The children, now highly motivated towards learning, are disciplined, respectful, inclined to build relationships with their classmates and participate in sports, cultural programmes and team activities. The Village Programme has also been able to sow the seeds of human values in the children. Also, teachers are role-conscious and are keen to improve the quality of education. Regular parent–teacher meetings help keep the parents aware and involved in the progress of their children. The new school building allows separate play area and dining space for the children. The overall change in the school environment is very positive and inspiring.
Educational Support for Students
The Programme identifies marginalized and needy students and provides academic, social and material support to them so that they can overcome the adverse economic and family circumstances and continue their education. The Programme provides financial support in the form of scholarships and loans to poor, deserving students and also helps in conducting evening coaching classes.
Extracurricular Activities at Children’s Corner
The Programme has implemented a unique concept of weekly cultural sessions for children, where they get the freedom and opportunity to cultivate their interests in dancing, singing, sports, art, handicrafts, drama, etc. Children’s Corner provides the right environment for children to grow, communicate and develop as confident individuals. Camps are often organized with focus on specific art forms/skills are opportunities where children can learn and enhance their potential. There is a lot of involvement from the village community in a joyous spirit of self-reliance in the activities of Children’s Corner.
Summer Camps are an extension of the Children’s Corner, where the concept of holistic development of children is the core theme. The various curricula adopted in the summer camps where children participate in large numbers include vocal and instrumental music, martial arts, science and technology, computers and multimedia, art and craft. The camps also include unique workshops conducted by experts on building character, integrity, confidence, leadership attitude and entrepreneurial skills, on controlling emotions and on nurturing values. The highly motivated children take responsibilities for the daily chores of the camp with exemplary ownership and collective pride. Read about the Summer Camp 2017 here
A unique initiative, in partnership with Hewlett-Packard, Project Ringtone helps in cultivating computer awareness and expertise among the village students to enable them to design and implement its use in the rural context and setting. Training is given to children in the age group of 10–16 years primarily on two applications—‘Movie Soup’ helps them to learn animation and visualize and narrate a story through it. ‘Scratch’ helps them develop their analytical and mathematical skills while learning the basics of programming.