Akshara Foundation

Akshara Foundation's mission is to ensure that Every Child is in School and Learning Well. Our work focuses on universalizing primary education. We work both at the primary and pre-primary levels. We work towards our goals through innovative, scalable models.We believe that our generation has a unique opportunity to bridge gaps by bringing equitable access to high-quality, relevant education to all. We emphasize on performance management,technology usage and creating volunteering opportunities.
Dec 6, 2016

From teachers to community - Journey of GKA

GKA Classroom practices
GKA Classroom practices

Akshara Foundation's long envisioned objective of improving numeracy skills and facilitate classroom teaching of Mathematics among students in Government primary schools saw light in the form of Ganitha Kalika Andolana (GKA). Since the launch of GKA, we have witnessed a large number of inspiring stories emerging while making the Math learning effective for around 3 lack children of class 4 and 5 in 7515 schools in 6 districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

An empowered teacher:

One of the major expected output from this intervention was to empower the teachers for their Math classroom practices. The approach was to provide Math teaching aids and to build the innovative pedagogic practice through training. Mrs.Mary a Math teacher in Government Higher Primary School Sukalapete of Sindanoor block in Raichur district is  one such empowered teacher. Mary says "By adopting the principles of GKA like Concrete-Representational-Abstract phases and principles of group activities, it as made me a facilitator of math learning than an instructor, which I used to be earlier. These colorful materials are attractive and holds the concentration of learner a longer time".

There are 41 children in grade four and 49 in grade five, we could see all 50 children practicing the representational stage, which helps in the transition from concrete teaching aids towards learning abstract concept of Math. She has made a large banner with pictures of all the Teaching aids provided as a part of GKA and displayed in the classroom. It was interesting to see that children have made replicas of most of the Teaching aids provided with the kit. Mary as maintained a separate profile for all fifty children to track the progress of their Math learning. During the class, she displays a chart with a problem, children will pick of their choice of Teaching aids relevant to solve the problem and works with different groups to solve the problem. Mary says, when children work in group it helps slow learners to pick-up the pace of learning. As a spill over effect, the Teaching aids supplied for grade 4 and 5 is used to facilitate learning in grade 7 as well. 

Monitoring, a shift from Field Coordinator's of Akshara Foundation to Cluster Resoruce Persons (CRPs) of the Education department, Government of Karnataka:

Akshara appointed Field Coordinators for monitoring the program and to provide on-site support for teachers. A SMS based monitoring mechanism was introduced in the academic year 2016-17. Field Coordinators of Akshara will send responses for questions related to GKA during their school visits. An instruction was sent from State office of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to CRPs to send the SMS during their school visit. This exercise has a spill over effect in clusters like Jalihall cluster of Sindanoor. During the process of sending the response, Mr.Prakash, CRP of Jalihall cluster has become familiar with the Teaching Aids of GKA and the method of using it. He has made sure that every school in his cluster uses Teaching aids of Ganitha Kalika Andolana during the Math classroom. This a good example of effect Cluster leadership on functioning of schools and effective implementation of education initiatives.

Transferring of responsibility for sustainability, from Akshara Foundation to Community based organization:

Participation of community in the school's administrative as well as the learning process, plays a major role in delivering quality education in the school system. Political decentralization makes local self government a key stakeholder in the school process. To make school porous to the community and strengthen the involvement of local self government, Akshara is organizing Gram Panchyath Level Math competitions for children of grade 4, 5 and 6. These competitions are held in partnership with volunteers of the village, Local Self Government and other community stakeholders. Conducting these competitions has optimize the stakeholder involvement in Andolana, meaning movement. To sustain these competitions it is important that community stakeholders continue these events in the absence of Akshara Foundation's Field Coordinators.

Bhaknal Gramaabhivridhi Sanga of Ladwanthi Gram Panchayath has taken up the ownership of organizing one such event. Bhaknal Gramaabhivridhi Sanga is a community based organization with 180 active members. Apart from organizing the Math competition for children, the organization is also considering the option of arranging remedial classes for children with the help of volunteers from the community.

Field stories like these motivate us to put extra effort to accomplish the objectives of our programs. At the end of the day, the beneficiary of all these efforts is a innocent child learning and enjoying mathematics!

Gram Panchayath Math contest inauguration
Gram Panchayath Math contest inauguration
With winners of the Gram Panchayath Math contest
With winners of the Gram Panchayath Math contest
Sep 1, 2016

MAKING MATH FUN FOR 300,000 CHILDREN - THE ONE YEAR MILESTONE

It’s been a year since the launch of Akshara Foundation’s biggest programme yet, Ganitha Kalika Andolana - the math programme that was implemented in six districts of the Hyderabad Karnataka region namely, Gulbarga, Koppal, Bellary, Raichur, Bidar and Yadgir. Around 8,000 teachers, 682 Government Resource Persons and 718 Cluster Resource Persons have been trained on the methodology, so that 300,000 children in 7,515 schools could benefit from this programme.

The excitement of the new academic year has just about died down, and classes are now in full swing. The beginning of an academic year brings with it new aspirations, and new goals. There is always a drive to do better than the previous year, to learn more and achieve more.

The timing is perfect to step back and take a look at how far we’ve come, how the programme has motivated the children and whether learning levels have indeed increased.

The stories of Husainbi and Vinay are perfect examples of how much our programme has impacted the likes of them and made them fall in love with math.

13-year old Husainbi lives in Doni village, along with her parents and two siblings. Doni village falls 30km away from Mundargi town, north of Karnataka. While her father works as a daily-wage labourer in the fields, her mother is a home maker.

Husainbi was a 1st grade drop out and her parents never forced her to go back to school. Instead, she remained at home taking care of her siblings and helping her mother with household chores. After a lot of intervention from the Akshara resource person, her class teacher and even her head master, they managed to convince her and her parents about the importance of an education, and why it was essential she go back. They finally managed to get her into the 2nd grade, at the age of ten years.

Three years later, on her sheer dedication, interest in academics and further insistence, her head master has promoted her to the 6th grade. She can now read and write well. In fact, she even manages the class during the absence of the teachers.

Most importantly, the teaching learning materials in our math kit are a huge attraction for her. She even comes forward to act as a facilitator/leader during the math class. She loves solving problems in a group, with the help of the math kit. It’s her favourite subject! This genius in the making wants to become a teacher when she grows up.

Vinay on the other hand, comes from Hanumasagar, in Gadag district, also in north Karnataka. He stays with his parents and two brothers. His parents, both educated till the 10th grade, shifted to Hanumasagar just so the kids could get a good education. And Vinay is definitely making the most of it, right from the 4th grade.

Vinay has a new-found love for math, and he says it’s all because of the math kit that Akshara has provided in his school. He never wants to go back to Gajendragad because he will never find such colourful and fun ways of learning math. He even helps his friends in class while using the math kit. He has been put in charge of all the materials, to ensure everything is in order.

His mother meets the teachers regularly, and even wanted to become the SDMC member to help improve the learning quality in the school where her children learn.

A great start, with a long way still to go. It’s inspiring stories like these that keep us focussed and more determined than ever, to ensure that our math programme soon covers every government school in the state.

Jun 13, 2016

The update on India's coolest robot and its team.

Meet E-bot Max, the coolest robot in India.
Meet E-bot Max, the coolest robot in India.

In 2013, Akshara Foundation with support from the Lego Foundation, set up a robotics lab in a government school, in Bangalore.

It’s overwhelming to see how the children have progressed from not being able to turn ON and turn OFF the computers to gaining the expertise in building Robots and programming it using computers.

Just over 2 years later, in February 2016, these geniuses from the Seva Bharath Trust, made us all proud. Fighting against all odds, they were recently placed First in the ‘Dance’ category of the Robocup Junior National level Robotics competition and fourth among 39 teams in the First Lego League 2015 national competition, earlier this year.

They now have the opportunity to represent INDIA at the International level of the Robocup Junior competition.

And their achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. They have driven Local and national media into a frenzy with their accomplishments!

All the links to the media coverage they have received so far are right at the bottom.

But these young geniuses remain unfazed with all the limelight on them. They are busy prepping for the next step, their next competition in Germany. They walk in to the lab every day, roll up their sleeves and immediately get to work on bettering the E-bot Max. 

Akshara Foundation had registered on two crowdfunding sites (one for donors in india and one for our supporters outside of India).

We are floored by the support that's poured in from every corner. Within a couple of months, we have managed to collectively raise the amount required to send our robotics champs to the international level competition of Robocup Junior.

And while they are busy ensuring the coolest robot stays perfectly coordinated, we have been busy getting their paperwork in order. As of now, work on their passports and visas is still in progress, but we hope to complete it at the earliest, as time’s running out!

We also need help with their boarding and lodging in Germany and are looking into it.

And while they are in Germany, we are also trying to get them to visit a local school there, so they get to interact with the children there, and get an idea of how things work.

All this goes to prove that given an opportunity, anyone can reach for the stars. 

As a small tribute to these WHIZ KIDS, we have created a video that highlights them at their creative best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcx46hw97zw 

Watch it, enjoy it and help us spread the word as we wish them all the very best for the month ahead.

................................................................................................................ 

Meet the team behind the coolest robot in India – the Master Minds. 

From left to right: The Instinctive One (Ameenuddin), The Collaborator (Balachandra), The Mechanic (Aravinda Reddy), The Thinker (Lawrence), The Silent Programmer (Ramesh) and The Challenger (Ramakrishna).

The team behind E-bot Max - the Master Minds.
The team behind E-bot Max - the Master Minds.
Article by The Times of india
Article by The Times of india
Livemint feature - all praise for The Master MindS
Livemint feature - all praise for The Master MindS

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