Education  India Project #14762

Support a Rural School in the Himalayas

by Aarohi
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas

Namaste,

Attached is a brief report on our activities of our rural school during the period January to June 2020. There were many interesting things that happened at ABS during this period. However, towards the end of this academic year 2019-20, with the COVID-19 pandemic, our activities needed a fresh way of looking at things.This period has been a time for reflection, building our capacities and being hopeful of things to come for our children and their education.

We thank each one of you for your support and contribution, without whom we would not have been able to achieve whatever we have today.

Best,

Team Aarohi


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Clubs formation:

 

We started four clubs at ABS from November 2019 with the following objectives:

 

1. The idea of creating 'School Clubs' originated while discussing solutions to aspects of Creative Teaching-Learning at ABS. 

 

2. These School Clubs shall provide a free and open platform to kids in fields of their choice and interest. Through these clubs we look forward to witness 'learning outside Classrooms'. 

 The clubs we formed and the activities we carried out are given as follows:

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) - This club is related to research, developing stuff using waste materials. The club promotes the interest of science among students. It engages its members with hands-on experiments and a supportive environment to bring their ideas to life. The aim of the club is to apply science not just within the curriculum as it connects students to the science community outside school. The children have so far tinkered successfully with making a ‘’robotic hand’’ and a ‘’ light bulb’’.

Movie – In this club, the children watch inspiring and informational movies and then discuss the highlights of the movie. Movie clubs improve young children’s imagination and creativity as it also improves speaking, listening discussion and social skills. The children then write their own review of the film and this can really help their analytical skills. They watched movies such as ‘’Madagascar’’, ‘’Nil, Battey Sannata’’ and ‘’Coco’’.

Theatre - This is the club for all theatre enthusiasts. The club envisages developing the self-confidence of the child, improving his/her presentation skills, enhancing his/her public speaking abilities and providing an insight into various characters which he gets to enact. It provides much more than just academics and fills his/her life with imagination and dreams.

In this club, the children did role plays of characters in a hospital, railway station, bus stand, school – they learnt nuances of emotions, speech and acting. They entertained their audience with funny skits and drama! 

Cooking – A variety of food dishes have been created in this club to teach children names of pulses, herbs, spices and nutrition. Cooking with kids is a great way to educate them about good nutrition, what’s in season, planning and preparing meals, and reading food labels. It can encourage them to eat healthy foods, especially ones they may normally refuse to try. The children made a variety of dishes including soups and omelettes.


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Theatre is one of the most powerful, yet least utilised art forms in education. In the exploration of self in relation to others, the development of understanding of the self, and of critical empathy, not only for humans but also towards the natural, physical and social worlds, theatre is a medium par excellence.Dramatising texts is only one small part of theatre. Much more significant experiences are possible through Role play, theatre exercises, body and voice control and movement, and group and spontaneous enactments.Such experiences are important not only for teachers in their own development, but also for teachers to provide to children.

-NATIONAL  CURRICULUM  FRAMEWORK, INDIA, 2005

At Aarohi Bal Sansar, in preparation for our annual Independence day function, the children performed a skit called 'Krishna's Butter Bash'.

Do go through the photo story attached for the sequence of events!


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Introduction

Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS) has made accessible quality education to the children from marginalized families, making it possible for these families to live in their own region and not migrate to bigger towns or cities for better education for their children. 

School Performance

In the academic year 2018-19, 162 children from 11 villages (Chapad, Kafuda, Simayal,Diyari, Kumati, Chataula, Satkhol, Peora, Sund, Satoli, Nigran) were part of ABS out of which  85 were boys and 77 were girls.  

The school remained open for 257 days for teachers and 231 days for students. There was 88% student attendance and 77% teachers’ attendance, this year. Teachers’ attendance was low because 11 ABS teachers had enrolled for mandatory D.El.Ed and bridge course this year.

The school has 15 teachers, of these 9 teachers specialise in STEM subjects, 8 in languages and 2 in social sciences. There is one teacher each for Art and Crafts, Music, Sports and Computer respectively. The student-teacher ratio this year has been 1:11. Eleven Aarohi Bal Sansar teachers successfully completed D.El.Ed and bridge course.

Academic Performance of ABS Students

ABS holds half-yearly and annual exams for classes 1 to 8 to assess their academic performance. The exams are both written and oral. Child’s overall performance is assessed through the child’s participation in various co-curricular, extracurricular and sports activities.

Co-Curricular and sports activities

The ‘School Farm Project’ was initiated this year as part of the project ‘Contextualising Rural Education to Agriculture and Ecology’. A greenhouse has been constructed based on a model made by the students of ABS. Two compost pits have been made on school premises. Children collected indigenous varieties of seeds to be propagated in the school nursery with the help of their parents. Preliminary attempts were made to connect language learning with farming. Children learnt Kumaoni, Hindi and English words for farm tools, farm techniques and local vegetables. This allowed the parents to participate in their child’s education since they could connect learning goals with their everyday life of farmers.

Hindustani classical music is being taught at Aarohi Bal Sansar, grooming further the innate talent of the children from the region in singing and dancing. Currently it’s a month-long programme orienting children to music in a more structured way.

A film club introducing students to the best of international cinema, sensitizing them not only to different cultures but also to the art of cinema, was initiated this year. Films such as God’s must be Crazy, Bicycle Thief (Italian film), Songs of Sparrow (Iranian film), The way home (Korean film) were screened through this film club. Swiss Films on Wheels, an initiative by the Swiss Embassy screened ‘Heidi’, a film based on a book by Swiss author Johanna Spyri.

Students of class eight experienced the production of a feature film, to know the science and the art of film making. They interacted with film director, cinematographer, sound designer and art designer of the feature film, 'Limited Story', which was shot in the area. Students could experience the real-life application of what they study in their classrooms.

A day-long visit was organized to the Army Training Center, Ranikhet. Students got a glimpse of rigorous training a soldier from the armed forces goes through. A visit to an all religion site at the training centre with a gurudwara, a mosque, a temple and a church led to a discussion on the concept of secularism and unity in diversity. 

A two-day workshop was organized by London based organization 'Timeless Lifeskills’ on creative thinking, logical and analytical thinking. Using the medium of robotics and animation the children were introduced to various approaches to problem-solving.

A model based on mathematical calculations with which one can tell anyone’s age was developed by ABS students during the Mathematics fair. The fair was organized to demystify mathematics and know its application in everyday life. Students exhibited various models based on mathematical calculations.

Mini sports day for the little champs from pre-primary was held on 27th December 2018. Annual sports day for the students from the primary and upper primary was held on 31st December 2018.

Aarohi Bal Sansar students participated in various sports events at Panchayat, block and State level. ABS team won the Kabaddi and Kho-Kho matches at the district level. Chitra, Sakshi and Ishika from class 8 and 7 were selected at the state level. Girish Kumar, a student of the class of ABS won the district level 100-meter race. He represented the block at state level athletics. ABS girl’s Kabaddi team secured second place at the district level and two of them were selected of the state level Kabaddi team.

Teacher’s Training and Exposure

Aarohi Bal Sansar teachers received training in project based learning and contextualized teaching. A two-day workshop was held at Madhuban, in Ramgarh, on project based learning. Through various projects, teachers were oriented to teaching methodology with an emphasis on learning by doing.

As part of their annual exposure visit, the teachers visited field area of ‘Eklavya’, a Bhopal based NGO doing pioneering work in the area of education. It exposed the teachers of ABS to various approaches to rural education and innovative educational programmes designed by Eklavya.

The principal of Aarohi Bal Sansar attended a workshop organized by Avishkar, an NGO from Himachal Pradesh, on current education policies and its impact of education.

 

Support us by donating on the Global Giving link: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/aarohi-bal-sansar/      

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 BACKGROUND

Upholding the vision of holistic personality development in a joyful environment, Aarohi Bal Sansar(ABS), a middle-level school, was started in the year 1994. ABS is a vibrant learning space which is sensitively designed, nurturing children through quality education using the appropriate curriculum, creative teaching methodologies and sufficient infrastructural resources. ABS today is a model school, providing education which is sensitive to the changing aspirations of the people from the rural and remote parts of the Kumaon hills in Uttarakhand,  Northern India.  

SUMMARY

Starting with the visit by the members of Aarohi Schweiz, in January, the new year at ABS began with a colourful cultural event presented by the children of Aarohi Bal Sansar.  Honing their skills in folk dance and music, through this event, the children were also introduced to the folk dance from the Alps.

Rising from one-month long winter hibernation, ABS once again got into action in February, with the beginning of the summer session. Keeping low on co-curricular activities, these months were more about revising and preparing for the annual exams. 

Sandeep Marmi, the Principal of ABS resigned from his position as the principal ABS, in April 2018. Brijesh Kumar, a young and an enthusiastic education profession with seven years of intensive work experience with Pratham (a premier NGO spearheading the quality education in India), joined in as the new principal at Aarohi Bal Sansar.

With the aim of making education relevant to the children from the rural mountain communities, we started our efforts to contextualise the national curriculum framework to the rural mountain realities. We initiated the School Farm Project and with the help of a volunteer, Nischal introduced the concept of contextualising of education to the teachers. The aim is to connect the learning goals as defined by the National Curriculum Framework of India to the aspects of farming and ecology. Teachers were also sent for training on ‘project-based learning approach’.

Considering the transition at the senior leadership level, in Aarohi, including the school, it will take some time to bring in that much-needed stability prerequisite for growth. We are slowly moving in the direction, sailing through these times of transition and uncertainty.

 

 PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

 This year we have 167 students from 14 villages.  Thirty-one new students joined ABS in this term.  Of the total students, 85 are girls and 82 are boys.

We continue maintaining a healthy student-teacher ratio of 9:1.  There are 18 teachers, with 2 teachers for the pre-primary section and 16 teachers teaching in the primary and the upper primary sections.

ABS has a beautiful combination of academics as well as co-curricular activities. Arts, Crafts, Music, sports are given equal importance along with the academics. Life skill programme further prepares them for the challenges of the modern world.  

 

  Academic Performance – Annual Exams

 Students in classes 1 to 5 are performing well in languages (English and Hindi.  49% of students from classes 1 to 5 scored above 80% (A Grade) in Hindi, with 43% scoring above 80% in English. In Mathematics 24% of the students scored above 80%.  Majority of the students in these classes fall in grades B and C ( between 50% to 79% ), which is average to good performance.

 

Academic performance of students in classes 6 to 8 in Yearly Exams

On an average, 13% students have scored above 80% in Hindi, English, Mathematics and  Science in classes 6 to 8. While the majority of the students fall in B, C and D grades (50% to 79%), the number of those performing below 50% of marks in these classes is also considerably high. 

33% of the students have scored less than 50% of marks in English and almost 31% and 29% of the students have scored less than 50% in Maths and Science. The students seem to be performing better in Hindi with only 12% students scoring less than 50% in this subject.

While systematic efforts are being made to reduce the variance between high performing and low performing students, bridging this gap in the higher classes has always remained a constant challenge. 

 

CO-CURRICULAR AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Maths Workshop/ Fair

Maths Workshop was organized for the students of 6th, 7th and 8th classes from  May 30 to June 2, 2118.

In this workshop, students formed groups and prepared Mathematics Models around the concepts referred to in their textbooks. After designing their models, students discussed the concepts in groups and presented their models to the entire group.

On June 2, the students organized a Bal Ganit Mela on ABS campus. The fair was visited by students of classes 3rd, 4th and 5th, all the teachers and the staff of Aarohi. A major learning for everyone from the Mela was that Mathematics is everywhere.

The models titled as ‘Aao Bazar Lagayen’( lets set up a market),  ‘Khelen Jee Bharke’ (Lets play), ‘Ham Aapki Umar Bata Sakate Hain’ (We can tell your age) and ‘Har Mod Par Nayi Kahani Kagaj Ki Jubani’(a new story on every turn) were set up which were received very well by all. .

 

CAREER COUNSELING SESSION

Aarohi conducted a career counselling session on June 14,  for a group of about 115 students in Peoda Inter College. While most of the attendees were the current 12-grade students of the college, there were a few students who graduated from the school last year. The session lasted for about 2 hours.

The session was anchored and delivered by Nischal, Archana, Neha and Brijesh. Nischal started with a presentation on various categories of skills – Language Skills, People Skills, Logic Skills, Design Skills and Body Skills. The focus was on helping students reflect on, understand and explore their own strengths and interests. Various job opportunities available for each of the skills were discussed. Later, Archana dwelled into Entrepreneurship as a possible career option. She exhorted students to consider problems around them as opportunities and explained to them what makes a successful entrepreneur.

In the second half of the session, counsellors took questions from students and dived into the specific career options available for specific interest areas. In the end, students were given numbers to reach out to Aarohi in case they needed any further information.

 

 SCHOOL FARM PROJECT

School Farm Project was initiated in this term with the aim of contextualising education to farming and ecology to make education relevant for the students from the rural areas. The levelling of the land (20 ft x 30 ft) is complete. A compost pit of length 15 ft, breadth 6 ft and depth 1.5 ft has been dug entirely by the students. Compost required for the plants in the greenhouse will be created in this pit. The design of the greenhouse is also complete. Tools for the project were purchased in the middle of the May.

  Apart from contributing to the construction work of the greenhouse, students were shown the design of the greenhouse and they built a model replica using it. Through the process,  the children learnt about dimensions and measurements. Students were also taught the English names of the tools and their uses. Tools were then labelled in English. They also have been taught about the budget estimation.

6th-grade students did a survey in their villages to figure out which vegetables could be grown in which months and to find out how long would they take to grow. Then students collected seeds and put them in pits filled with compost. The pots were also labelled.

Students have been divided into teams and each team is made responsible for recording various details of the project. They are taught how to use Excel and PPT to enter data and make presentations. By the end of the project, students would be making a presentation.

 

 A VISIT TO ARMY TRAINING CENTER – RANIKHET

On 9th June 2018, 16 students of 8th grade were taken for a visit to the army training centre in Ranikhet. Students were taken through the entire training centre and explained how the soldiers are trained for recruitment in the Army.  Students also saw the war memorial, gymnasium, drill, firing, and trap setting. Later, students were taken to a bunker and detailed about the ways in which soldiers fight from them.

They also saw the museum exhibiting the photographs, weapons and uniforms of the deceased soldiers. They then visited the all religion site.

 

PERSONNEL

We were joined by Brijesh Kumar as the new Principal of ABS on 1st May 2018. He has with him seven years of experience of working with Pratham, a premier organisation revolutionising education in India. Passionate about teaching, Brijesh has interesting ways of teaching Mathematics, which we hope will contribute immensely to the academic performance of our students in Mathematics.    

 

CONCLUSION

Owing to the succession plan, there has been constant change at the senior leadership in the school and at the organisational level. While we are trying our best to cope with this transition, it is difficult to sustain any long-term plan unless we achieve a certain level of stability.

Knowing the growing variance in urban and rural learning we now want to work towards making the curriculum relevant to the rural children from the mountains by contextualising it to their immediate environment and realities.

Investing in teacher resource is extremely important to maintain the quality of education, reduce attrition and motivating teachers. Our teachers are as qualified as any government teacher and far more motivated to teach. Their salaries, however, are less than half of what the government teachers who are mostly absent from duty, draw. Sourcing institutional funding for salaries is getting difficult by the day. This year we would like to encourage individual donors to adopt one ABS teacher as a patron and mentor, at least for a year.

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Organization Information

Aarohi

Location: District Nainital, Uttarakhand - India
Website:
Project Leader:
Neha Jacob
District Nainital, Uttarakhand India
$52,197 raised of $60,000 goal
 
408 donations
$7,803 to go
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