Two years of pandemic has created a unique space for technology intervention in learning methods, across the world. Schools under the umbrella of The Satsang Foundation (TSF)— The Satsang Vidyalaya in Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh with Classes 1 to 10, and the Chanda Satsang Vidyalaya Primary School in Lathira Village (CSVL), Uttar Pradesh—have been striving now to bring the children back to pre-pandemic levels of learning. It is being done through the concerted efforts of the teachers and volunteers to provide first generation learners with free, holistic, well-rounded education and equip them with life skills and means to lift their families out of poverty.
Critical to this aim is parent engagement, since there is much that the parent and teacher need to understand about the importance of education for the child. With such meetings between the two, the teachers on the one hand, are able to understand the limited resources available for the child at their homes, while the parents get a better view of the benefits of education and how best to help their children.
After 50 days of in-person classes, The Satsang Vidyalaya in Madanapalle that caters primarily to the tribal Lambadi community and low income families from across the social spectrum in surrounding villages, held a Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM) with a parent turnout of over 95%. While PTMs are a common feature in private schools, for The Satsang Vidyalaya, it has been a definite focal point to increase parent’s attendance.
Volunteer Support and Teacher Training
Volunteer support has played a vital role in increasing the interest quotient in the child. Counselling sessions to better support primary children have commenced with the help of Ms. Anamika Bhalla, while Mr Sam Moo has started helping Math teachers to coach slow learners in grades 8-10.
The Principal of the school and 3 teachers recently attended an online leadership training programme conducted in association with the Government of Andhra Pradesh and The Central Ministry of Education. The participants were trained on leadership in academic and non-academic activities with emphasis on a collaborative approach, by including children and staff in school administration and management. The programme was in line with the school’s principles of delegation of responsibilities and team work.
As the term winds down and children prepare for final exams, teachers are providing individual care and support for handwriting, homework, projects and other subjects to ensure that children are not burdened.
Study Time at Home for Rural Children
Meanwhile, a typical scenario in the rural environs of CSVL: Six year old Kamini seeks the help of someone from her school to help lift a heavy bundle of grass and place it on her head to carry home for cattle, after school hours. On being questioned, she says her mother will admonish her if she doesn’t bring the fodder home.
CSVL has redoubled its efforts to conduct well-attended regular parents meetings, village visits and community outreach programmes to convince parents to give their children adequate study time at home.
Making Learning Fun
Since its inception 5 years ago, Chanda Satsang Vidyalaya has been striving to make a difference in the lives of rural children by providing them a caring and safe environment where they can learn through exploration, conversations, fun and games besides the regular but innovatively taught classes. Yoga, meditation, art and craft, drama, role play and current affairs add to their colourful basket of learning.
The tiny tots so love the atmosphere at school that they travel reluctantly back home to difficult situations where their parents, mostly farm hands and casual labour, struggle hard to make ends meet.
Beacon of Hope but Vision Beckons
While the school has recently installed a computer lab with five machines which the children have begun to thoroughly enjoy working with, there still remains the gargantuan task of setting up a new building, internet facilities and a full fledged computer lab, science lab, library and sports facilities.
Though CSVL has become a beacon of hope for the surrounding villages of Garhmukteshwar district in the short span of five years, the journey ahead beckons to fulfil Sri M’s vision of adding on classes till the 10th grade. These bright young children will then become capable and constructive citizens of the country.
Sri M lays the Foundation Stone for a New Building
During the recent visit to Delhi, Sri M visited the Chanda Satsang Vidyalaya and laid the foundation stone for a new building to house the school children. Sri M inspired the students to become a key contributor in making our country a world leader as it was in the days of yore, dispelling the pandemic pervaded gloom that had kept them away from their school for two long years.