Reducing school drop outs in rural India

May 1, 2014

Bringing broad exposure to rural students

Students Dancing during the program
Students Dancing during the program

During the school year, students in the project schools participated in four type of competitions.  

The first was drawing competition; the drawing master who teaches the children gave three topics to the students in 3 to 5 and had the students make their drawings and color them using the project provided materials. Similarly competion was also conducted among the middle school students, 6th to 8th classes. The drawing master and school teacher served as judge and selected the top two drawings in each school. A total of about 600 students participated in the competion from all the project schools combined. 

The second was a competition for reciting Thirukkural, and each student was to recite a minimum of 50 Kurals (for 3 to 5 classes) and upto to 100 Kurals (for 6th to 8th classes).  The students were given one week to prepare for the competition and on the specified day, participating students in each school, presented / recited kurals in front of a panel of judges. In each school all students who could present/ recite the 50 or 100 Kurals without mistakes, boldly and confidently were selected as winners. 

The third was a competiton reciting multiplication tables. Students in class 3 to 5 only were to particate and were to present upto 16 tables. IN each school the students who could present the tables without mistake and selected to be provided prizes.

The fourth competition was a drama competition; each school students were asked to select a social responsible topic and present the drama during the after school tuition program.  The students were given one week to prepare, and students of all classes were allowed to participate. The panel of judges included the project staff, school teachers and community leaders. One best drama was selected, based on how well the students presented, and in how well they used materials locally available. 

Once all the competions were held, and best students selected a prize distribution program was orgnganized in our field office; community leaders, school teachers, project staff and parents of the school students were invited.  Nearly 100 children were selected and participated in the program, as they were selected for one of the above prizes.  Some students presented a dance and entertained the audience.  The school teachers and community were overjoyed at the level of participation and happiness that the children showed. A total of 43 students received prize for best drawing, 50 for Thirukkural recitation, 45 for reciting tables and 15 students from one school for the drama competition.  IN one of the project schools, a 1st standard boy, won the prize for reciting multiplication tables 1 to 16, without any mistake. He recited the tables and amazed the audience and other students present. 

The project is not only helping the rural children in their edcuation, and is exposing them to compeitions and providing prizes for encouraging the children.  This makes a tremendous difference for their interest in learning and encourages the parents to support their children's education.  We thank all the donors for making such programs possible!  Thank you very much for your continued support. 

Students provided with prizes
Students provided with prizes
Students presenting best drama
Students presenting best drama
Jan 29, 2014

Supporting primary and upper primary children

Children at workshop
Children at workshop

The school strengthening program has carried out the following activities in the last three months:

  • Scholastic assessments were conducted at the beginning and middle of the school year, among the primary class students. These reveal that the children all reading and writing and doing math at class appropriate levels.
  • All students have been provided with drawing note books, color pencils and other stationary materials, in the primary, middle and higher secondary schools.
  • Tamil English Tamil Dictionaries have been provided to all children from 5th class onwards, in all the schools.  New students entering 5th, 6th and above who do not have them were provided dictionaries.
  • School atlas has been provided to children from 6th class onwards in all schools.
  • Drawing competition was held among the students in each of the schools, and the best students were selected and recognized in school, and provided small prizes.  
  • During after school tuition program in the last three months, the children had fun doing arts and crafts exercises and developed creative materials for display or things they need for the school
  • Peer learning Educational program:  A peer learning program has been implemented for students in our adopted schools.  The initiative aims to impart school lesson by students in higher classes to those in lower classes. The principle is that if a class 8 student who is a good student is trained on teaching techniques, can help to impart lessons to students in four classes below (that is 4th class).  The class 8 student benefits as they have to prepare for this and the process of teaching will improve their own learning increase their self confidence and empower them.  The class 4 students will benefit as they learn more effectively by a peer teaching them and the class teacher in resource poor settings is able to spend time on other children.  Students from some adopted schools were selected and brought to IIT Madras for intensive residential training over 4 days.  They learned the essential principles of teaching and how to impart lesions to fellow students.   They were trained by experienced teachers and educators who helped the students to have confidence to perform.  These trained students have been teaching the fourth class students in the school. 
Student Learning at workshop
Student Learning at workshop
Student receiving Dictionary
Student receiving Dictionary
Implementing peer learning
Implementing peer learning
Student receiving atlas
Student receiving atlas
Oct 29, 2013

Strengthening school education for rural children

Dear Friends

We are happy to share with you on some of the key activities of the rural school strengthening project in the last few months.

One of the main challenges with many of the rural children is that their memory and concentration varies; we have found that they need individual attention on basic fundamentals and it takes one to two years for us to correct many of the learning challenges. Para teachers placed in schools by the project are addressing this critica issue.

The para teachers placed in the schools are helping the children who are behind or slow learners.  Special play and learn materials have been provided and these help the children to learn better. Para teachers also meet and interact with parents and families of children. Most children’s parents have very less time for them due to their socio-economic situations. However the project’s efforts are also to ensure that the parents understand their children’s needs and try to increase their awareness so that the parent can better help the child’s education.

Evening tuition is conducted by para teachers daily for one and half hours after school. The children are gathered in a common place in the village. The focus of these sessions are to help students having the most challenges in learning.  During these evening classes the para teachers help the students to strengthen their fundamentals, gain general knowledge, practice tests, helping them to do their home work and also have time for fun and play.  Now the children are also doing projects, on special topics, which they prepare and present to other children.  These sessiosn are fun for the students, and at the same time they learn better.

A number of students have been provided a special educaiton support to continue in school.  The project has selected girl students from local villages who are good students but have difficult family situations.  These students are provided educaiton aid, which will help them to buy school uniforms, notebooks, school bags, shoes and pay for their other school needs.

Jul 31, 2013

Strengthening rural children and schools

Para teacher teaching children
Para teacher teaching children

The project is supporting rural schools and children through para teachers.  The para teachers have been placed in each school and are supporting the Headmaster / teacher in the instruction of children.  Para teachers are ensuring school regularity and special coaching of children who have learning challenges is also being taken up.  We have also encouraged these para teachers to take up the computer education of the students and this being implemented as well.  The children are also encouraged to participate in special competitions, such as multiplication tables recitation etc and prices are being provided for the best students.

Feedback from parents:

A coolier worker from local village: ‘Three teachers could not manage, due to the high school strength. It is very useful to have one para-teacher from Kalanjiyam project. My son did not know to write a phone number before. Now he is doing arithmetic well and able to read the paper, We thank TNF project for making this possible.’

Students are more regular to school: ' ‘Previously I and others used to come to school late. Now we come by 8.30 daily. Previously the teachers came late to the school, but this has changed now. After Kalanjiyamproject has come, I am punctual in coming to school and enjoy being with my classmates.’

The increase in school regularity is ensuring that children are able to learn effectively and this is positively reflecting in their school marks.  The children are also happy to come to school because we are teaching computers in school, and all children in the project schools are digitally literate. 

Children learning computers
Children learning computers
May 2, 2013

Helping rural children to read

Para teacher helping children to read
Para teacher helping children to read

Kalanjiyam education program is supporting 800+ children going to rural schools in Maduranthakam block of Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.   A primary focus is on strengthening children’s education in elementary school, by providing education aid for children from very poor families and supporting the local schools by providing para teachers.   The schools where the programs are implemented are multi-grade classrooms with one or two teachers to teach all the subjects.  The para-teachers placed by the project are making a tremendous difference in supporting the teachers to ensure school regularity and that children are learning effectively in the classroom.

Vaishnavi, studying in 5th standard in the one of the project supported schools reports:  ‘I had lot of difficulty reading in Tamil and barely could read my text books.  Due to this I did not like to study and felt ashamed in the class room.  I often avoided coming to school.  When the Kalanjiyam appointed aunty started coming to my school, she identified the children who were not coming to school regularly.  She came to my home and spoke to my mother.  I started opening up to aunty.  She started spending time with me in school and many times after school, to teach me to read in Tamil.  Slowly, I was able to read more and more, and now I am able to read Tamil fluently.  I don’t feel afraid to come to school now. I am happy that I can read and also able to focus on my lessons.  I am enjoying doing math more than other subjects.  Our school teacher is also happy with me now.  I am glad that aunty came to my school and helped me. ‘


Pavithra studies in 5th standard.  She is a good student.  Her father passed away two years ago due to a sudden illness.  She has a sister in 7th standard.  Her mother has to do wage labor to support their family.  However the money she makes is not sufficient.  

Pavithra saysI like to study, but when my father passed away my mother could not educate both of us.  We found out about Kalanjiyam and approached them for support.   It is only through this support, we are able to buy uniform, bag, notes and shoes etc to go to school. Besides this they also encourage and support me in my education.  I am happy and able to continue to study well.

Sumathi, mother of Pavithra saysWhen my husband died, I was worried about how I would educate my two daughters; I was not sure I would be able to support their studies. I used to feel very frustrated seeing other children going to school.  I could not even buy the simple things like note books, pencil, bag, etc. for even one of my children.  Once I approached Kalanjiyam for support, they agreed to help me and my daughter.  Since the last two years, I have been able to get education aid through Kalanjiyam. This has been a stepping stone and allowed me to believe that my daughter’s future will be better than mine.  I am very thankful for the support .’

Student receiving education aid
Student receiving education aid


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Project Leader

Raviraaj Munusamy

Chennai, Tamil Nadu India

Where is this project located?