Student Leaders at the KER Summit
At Teach For India, our goal is to put every child that we work with on a different life path. We measure our impact as progress to this goal on three levels - academic growth, values and mindset, and exposure and access. Central to all our impact is leadership. We aim to develop student leaders who show transformational change both in themselves, in their classroom, school, and community.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the education system in India failing to create impact as it continues to suppress the voice of its most important stakeholder: the student. The education system has been focusing on disciplinarian structures and outdated curriculum that isn’t equipping kids with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. Students in most schools across India aren’t given the chance to explore their interests but are forced to fit into the straightjacket that’s been handed to them since their admission. With the world being divided like never before, we consider it important that schools become a place for kids to become empathetic individuals, who can lead the change towards a better world.
We’ve all heard of Malala Yousafzai, whose fight for girls’ right to education won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Malala created a worldwide movement that increased awareness and brought about real change - all when she was just a teenager.More recently, Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old girl from Sweden, has created a worldwide movement towards demanding that concrete action be taken to tackle the issue of climate change. Greta started protesting independently in 2018 when she started skipping school to protest outside the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, where she hoped to influence people before the general elections. Her friends soon started joining her and it slowly led to first a national, and then an international movement of students. On 15 March 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her call in the striking and protesting.Through these examples of student movements around the world, we have seen how kids know what they want and are not afraid to be leaders and create real change. We have seen many such examples closer to home as well, and through The Kids Education Revolution (KER) we hope to amplify the voices of such kids by giving them a platform to speak. Listed below are few such proof-points of student leadership :-
Almas, Grade 10
Almas, a 10th grader from Mumbai, started a project called 'Basket of Joy,' which is an online organic fruit basket company that aims to create social impact by providing work to disadvantaged communities. The fruits for the baskets are sourced from organic farmers in Pune, whereas the baskets are woven by Kashmiri women and sex workers in Mumbai. Almas was part of a one year entrepreneurship program called the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) and also won the IE Social Impact Business Plan Start Up this year
Hajeera, Grade 9
Hajeera, a 9th grade student leader from Hyderabad and a member of the KER National Committee, is currently working on two different projects along with her teachers and classmates called 'Each One Teach One' and Canteen. With Each One Teach One, she aims to create peer to peer learning circles for students and with Canteen, she aims to provide nutritious meals to the students of her school at minimum or no cost.
Sanmyukta, Grade 10
Being a champion for mental health, Sanmyukta has founded various safe spaces and support groups for adults and kids alike! Through ‘Open Book’, she celebrates the individuality of every student participant at her school. She has also constituted ‘Sanvad Katta’, a place where adults and kids join hands to solve problems in their society! Sanmyukta is also working on spreading awareness on mental health and menstrual hygiene in government schools in Nashik, where she spends her summer holidays every year.