Jyoti, a student from Khati Primary School
With the end of monsoons in July, the work in Aarohi takes a different dimension. The school gears up for its winter session. With the days getting shorter and the winters setting in, students enjoy their outdoor classes, basking in the warm mountain sunshine. Most of the staff is seen sitting with their laptops in the open with hot cups of chai. Despite the biting cold, shorter days and cold office premises, Aarohi is a buzz of activities, keeping the spirit of the mountains alive. July to December is a time for Annual Himalayan Haat, School sports day, Annual sports events, regular medical camps and many festivals.
Aarohi BalSansar (ABS) is a Hindi medium school from Kindergarten till Class 8. It is part of the development effort of Aarohi, a Society for rural development based in the village of Satoli in Nainital District of Uttarakhand. Started in 1994, ABS was an expression of community need.
We presently have 157 students (78 girls and 79 boys). The school has come a long way over the past 2 decades and we try our best to strike the right balance between academics, sports, cultural and co-curricular activities leading to the 'holistic development of children in a joyful learning environment'!
1.1Academic Performance in the Half Yearly Examinations
The school conducts semi-annual examinations. This analysis is for the school’s half yearly examinations for the subjects Hindi, English, and Mathematics.
- In Hindi, 48% of students scored above 80% marks (Grade A). 28% of the students scored between 65-79% (Grade B). 22% scored in the range of 50-64% (Grade C), and 2% scored between 35-49% marks and were rated as Grade D.
- In English, only 28% of students scored above 80% (Grade A), and 34% scored between 65-79% marks (Grade B); there were 38% who scored between 50-64% marks (Grade C).
- In Mathematics, 48% scored above 80% marks (Grade A), and 24% of the students scored in the range of 65-79% (Grade B); 4% students scored a between 35 to 49% marks (Grade D), and 4% scored a Grade E (less than 34% marks).
- In Hindi, 19% of students scored above 80% marks (Grade A). 23% of the students scored between 65-79% (Grade B). 33% scored in the range of 50-64% (Grade C), and 23% scored between 35-49% marks and were rated as Grade D. There were 2% of students who scored less than 34% marks (Grade E).
- In English, only 7% of students scored above 80% (Grade A), and 19% scored between 65-79% marks (Grade B); there were 21% who scored between 50-64% marks (Grade C), 48% of the students scored between 35-49% (Grade D), and 5% scored less than 34% marks (Grade E).
- In Mathematics, 14% scored above 80% marks (Grade A), and 35% of the students scored in the range of 65-79% (Grade B); 37% students scored a between 50-64% (Grade C), and 14% were in the range of 35-49% marks (Grade D).
2.2. Scholarship Update
The Bal Sansar Scholarship Program was started in 2008-09 with just ten students. The scholarship program covers the tuition fees, books, school uniform, and stationery expenses for students. We now have 59 students supported under this program. All these 59 students are currently supported by AarohiSchweiz.There are presently 20 students from class 8 till intermediate who are supported through Aarohi’sAlmora scholarship program – tuition fees of up to 50% are covered for education in a residential school in the nearby town of Almora.
2.3. Science Workshops
It was an engaging experience for the school children when the Pratham Science team came over to conduct workshops at ABS. The Alliance for Science (AFS) program team from Pratham works extensively with children across rural India on direct experience-based science learning. They design multiple resources activities to deepen the learning impact for children and the community. The workshops were held in August for classes 6, 7 and 8. The topics covered were the Skeletal System, Human Anatomy and Internal Organs, and Astronomy. The children had a lot of fun learning about the skeletal system and the organs of the body.The inquisitive and curious nature of the students and careful arrangements made the event a huge success!
In October, 46 of our students participated in the village games and were selected to play at the Block and District level. At the district level, the girls’ team won the 1st prize for Kabaddi, and boys’ team won the 2nd prize for Kho-Kho. Of these 10 students were selected to play at the State level games.
2.3. Education Outreach Program
October 1, 2016, Aarohi launched its education outreach initiative with an aim to consolidate our effort of holistic education of children of marginalized mountain communities. Aarohi has partnered with 4 private schools and 9 Government kindergarten schools in the districts of Nainital, Almora and Bageshwar. This projects aims to provide better preparation of children for primary school education by providing them with a fruitful pre-school education. Aarohi will provide these schools with learning-teaching aids and invest in capacity building workshops for the teachers to help bring learning levels to acceptable standards. The aim of the project is to build interest, capability and confidence in subjects like Mathematics, Languages and Life-skills through regular teaching activities and subject specific camps for accelerated learning.
2.3. Case Study
MukeshBisht, alumnus from ABS, was the first batch of the Almora Scholarship
Program. He graduated in 2015 from Koormanchal Academy, Almora. The transition from a Hindi medium to an English medium school was a difficult journey, but Mukesh shared that the exposure helped him to think creatively. Mukesh has always had a desire to live with a higher purpose and goal, and so we at Aarohi, were really very excited when we heard that he cleared the defense services exams, and was selected to join the Indian Navy. On August 15 last year, India’s Independence day, Mukesh started his training as a sailor with the ship INS Chilka in Vizag. It was indeed a proud moment for Aarohi!