Education  India Project #15466

Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly

by Adharshila Shiksha Samiti
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Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Help educate 600 tribal children in India yearly
Copies of the Competency Schedule
Copies of the Competency Schedule

Satellite Resource Centers (SRCs) has been a successful channel to expand the outreach amongst Sahariya Adivasi school goers. Catering to Adivasi school goers through SRCs has improved the coverage and learning outcomes amongst the community. Taking teachers to the hamlets made it easier for pupils to attend school and also it paved the way for a closer interaction between the beneficiaries and the teachers. The rising number of enrollment at SRCs and the students’ progression from SRCs to Adharshila Middle and High School (AMHS) has been an indicator of the success of this initiative. Over the last three years the student progression has increased and a total of 71 Sahariya school goers have progressed to AMHS.

Catering to rising number of students at SRCs and ensuring quality learning required making the teaching learning process student-centric. Thus we began the process of curriculum development for the SRCs by conducting various workshops, trainings, educational visits, and kept on incorporating our learning in everyday classroom to understand their effects with our peculiar context. 

The journey achieved a milestone in August, 2017 when the curriculum was evolved into a book called ‘The Competency Schedules’, made entirely by the teachers of our SRCs, with facilitation from the Teacher Educator and the Secretary. The book has a list of competencies that we understood as essential for primary level students in Hindi, English, and Mathematics. It also details the need of each and every competency, suggested pedagogy and assessment technique, along with required teaching aids. In addition, wherever required, competencies are organized for students of different learning levels, in order to cater to our multigrade classrooms. Teachers have already started working with the competency schedule. In the month of October, 2017, a review workshop was also held with the Teacher Educator to reflect on the challenges and achievements teachers have gone through till now.

We strive to provide quality learning atmosphere to our students by evolving teaching practices centered on the students. Your support and encouragement is a prerequisite to continue this practice. We’d love to have your suggestions and reflections on our work. This would help us in strengthening our initiative. We hope that you’ll continue to be a part of our journey.

Thank you,

Warmly

Review workshop
Review workshop
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Students during an activity at our new SRC
Students during an activity at our new SRC

Dear Donors,

Happiness multiplies when shared! Thus, we are overjoyed to share with you the news of opening two new Satellite Resource Centers (SRCs) from this session. We started the initiative of SRCs in 2012, with opening of our first SRC in village Badi Khajuri. The rationale behind opening village level SRCs was to make sure no child gets deprived of quality education because of lack of access. Observing the success of the SRCs, we slowly extended its reach to other villages as well, and now in 2017, with the opening of two new centers, we have a total of 17 SRCs in 17 different villages. These SRCs cater to nearly 1000 young learners from Sahariya community.

The vision behind SRCs was not only to provide easily accessible quality education to children, but also to provide employment opportunities to young school graduates. We always encourage our own students to join SRCs as teachers, learn new skills & capacity, and earn their livelihood to pursue their future education. This year as well, out of the 10 newly appointed SRC teachers, 6 are Adharshila graduates. Rammurti graduated from Adharshila this year; he says “I always dreamt of teaching and I’m glad that I got a chance to be a part of Adharshila team…Spending time with children and doing various activities to engage them is something that I enjoy…I have enrolled myself for BSc and will continue my higher education”.

Teaching children in classroom is just one aspect of SRCs. It also includes regular interaction with community stakeholders, constantly addressing their concerns related to schooling of their children, and connecting the community life of children with their schooling experiences. The idea of a teacher at Adharshila has always gone beyond the ‘transaction of curriculum’, and focused on ‘education for real life’. Our teachers are our actual torch bearers in this journey. For young graduates as well, SRCs become a mode of learning and gaining experience as teachers and community mobilizers.

Sirnaam has been our SRC teacher for 5 years now. He joined SRC in Nayagaon, soon after completing his schooling from Adharshila Middle and High School. He is known for his sincerity and hard work as a student and as a teacher. He is creative, has a deep insight on the schooling process, and always looks for opportunities to learn something new. At various events, he showcased his leadership abilities. Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise when he recently gave an interview for the SRC coordinator and got selected. The transformation in him after teaching 5 years at SRC was evident. As a Coordinator, he is now in-charge of 6 SRCs. “Teaching at SRCs have been a learning experience for me. I’ll try my best to do justice to the post of coordinator…earlier I had to manage 50 students and now I have the responsibility of 6 schools…I’m really looking forward to organizing the first major event of Kho-kho and kabaddi competition as a Coordinator”. As an organization, we feel very proud of Sirnam, and seeing his wonderful journey from being a student, to a teacher, and now as a coordinator, we are sure he will achieve many milestones in life. We wish him all the luck!

You all have been our constant source of support and the journey that we have shared in last few years has been a memorable one. We have a long way to go and your support is a prerequisite to the success of this initiative.  Please spread the word about our work. We look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Warm regards

Our new SRC Coordinator
Our new SRC Coordinator
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Sunil receiving a sports prize in 2014
Sunil receiving a sports prize in 2014
Dear All,
Greetings from Adharshila.
This newsletter brings some heartbreaking news. One of our brightest young sparks at Adharshila, Sunil, lost his battle with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis last month. Sunil was diagnosed with TB last year, and had been undergoing the DOTS treatment. His situation began to deteriorate a couple of months ago and he stopped responding to the medication. 
We will miss his crazy antics, hilarious role play, brilliant shot-putting and happy presence in the school. We are keen to start a scholarship in his name and will also continue to help his family and his siblings (his younger sister studies at Adharshila). But the untimely loss of this bright and dearly beloved young man leaves a big hole in the life of the students, teachers and staff of Adharshila. Rest in peace, dear Sunil...
Helping our students to become good teachers
This year we focused intensively on developing the capacity and perspective of our young teachers, many of whom have joined us as primary school teachers straight after completing their higher secondary school at Adharshila. A series of trainings, exposure visits and regular in-house support has helped our teachers in building their skills.
During an 8-day workshop held this month, Deepa, a fresh graduate from Adharshila who has recently joined as a primary teacher, said, "As a student, I never thought teachers put any effort in their work or prepare so much. But now I think, it actually takes a lot to be a teacher".
Rekha, one of our teachers, said, "We didn’t even know we could design so many activities on our own. In this workshop we realized that we know so many things". Another teacher, Sultan shared, "Since we have designed the activities ourselves, it is going to be much easier for us to use them in class. We know what are we teaching and why".
LeapForWord Training
Please follow the attached link to learn about how Adharshila is harnessing the power of the Internet to get more people involved in training our teachers and reaching out to our students. This was a very exciting new development for us, and we hope to develop many more such partnerships in the future. In fact, some of you, dear donors, could become more actively involved with us if you want to give time for such trainings and interactions regularly! Also, we will be very grateful if you can suggest ways in which timely medical consultation and financial assistance can be made available to our community, so that we never have to meaninglessly lose another bright child like Sunil.
We hope to keep receiving your support for the difficult and challenging, yet deeply exciting work being done at Adharshila. Please do take a little time write to us with your thoughts and comments. 
Warm regards,
Asmita.
Sunil the shot-putting champion
Sunil the shot-putting champion
LeapForWord web-based teachers' training
LeapForWord web-based teachers' training

Links:

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Girls with their new bicycles
Girls with their new bicycles

We started the New Year reflecting on some of the persistent challenges that Adharshila has been facing and identifying measures to resolve them. Regular attendance at school by our students is one such challenge. Adharshila considers regular attendance essential for quality learning attainment. However, our students, given the extreme poverty in which their families live, find it difficult to be regular at school.

Older girls often face difficulties in reaching school regularly because they have to walk the entire distance, sometimes as much as 5 km each way. Many girl students reported that when they are walking alone, their parents are generally unwilling to send them to school, and sometimes they find it difficult due to the weather too. We decided to provide bicycles for senior girl students coming to Adharshila from distant villages. This has made a tremendous difference to their enthusiasm, and also helped them to reassure their parents about safety and security.  

Manisha, a class 8th student who comes to Adharshila in village Agara from village Ahirwani (8 kms away) said “My parents used to ask me to stay back at home and help in the daily chores. They said there is no need to walk miles to attend school, but now I don’t have to listen to them”.

Ramshree from Nayagaon, who studies in Class 8th at Adharshila, says “Getting a cycle is dream come true for me!”

A class 9th student Amravati, who walked 8 kms from village Ahirwani to Adharshila every day, said “Due to long distance it was becoming difficult for me to attend school on daily basis, but now I’ll be able to devote more time for my studies and will be regular at school”.

Inadequate warm clothing similarly causes sharp dip in attendance of younger children during harsh winters. We decided to distribute woollen sweaters to all the younger students enrolled at the satellite schools to help them deal with the bitter cold and focus better on school activities. It has been a heart-warming sight to see the children snug and warm in their new sweater, attending their lessons actively and with enthusiasm despite the cold winter this year.

It is support from generous donors like you which helps us to make things better for the kids at Adharshila. We’re grateful for your support, and we hope you will spread the word about our initiative in your circles. We’ll be delighted to receive your comments and suggestions on our work.

Overjoyed after getting new sweaters
Overjoyed after getting new sweaters
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Volunteer during the assessment session
Volunteer during the assessment session

Adharshila is located in village Agara which was one of the host villages for the relocated Sahariya tribes displaced from Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, India. The tribal villages inside the sanctuary were resettled in and around village Agara. It was a challenge for Adharshila to mobilise Sahariya tribal children from nearby villages to get enrolled for the Primary classes because of the villages are distant from the School. It was then decided to reach out to the children in their own villages and teach in the dysfunctional government school buildings. Before that, it was needed to collect household level data in each of the selected villages to understand the need of intervention, and also run a baseline learning level assessment for the children. To collect the baseline learning level data, we adopted a widely used assessment tool in the field of education. The tool was to test the levels in Hindi language on the scale of 0 to P (0: Nothing; L: Letter; W: Word; and P: Paragraph) and in Mathematics on the scale of 0 to D (0: Nothing; NR: 0-9; NR2: 10-99; S: Subtraction; and D: Division).

Initially it came out as an effective tool for Adharshila School to start its intervention through Satellite Resource Centres (SRC) in the selected villages. The analysis of the assessment data gave a clear picture that most of the children were in 0 levels in both Hindi and Mathematics as they never attended the school. Few others were able to get through levels 1 in the both Hindi and Mathematics. It alarmed a need for Adharshila School to intervene through our SRC. It took around two years for teachers appointed at SRCs to reach to a level where most of the SRCs’ students who were in level 0 initially, now reached up till level 2. The students who were in level 1 initially, by now reached at level 4 and 5. The assessment tool at this stage did not give much chance to the students performing well to reach to the next levels, as there were no further levels defined. As the SRCs evolved, classroom teaching was more than what the assessment tool was assessing. The team now knew that the students know much more than what we are assessing by using this tool.

With time we started understanding that language development is more of an emergent process where the child learns the language with putting their realities into the new language. This means the child starts comprehending the world around in the new language with genuine meaning making. The process does not start with an alphabet or a letter but with a more meaningful comprehension. Keeping this approach in mind, our pedagogy underwent a major shift. This new pedagogic approach demanded a new kind of assessment which would focus on meaningful language development rather than near technicalities.

Similarly in Mathematics, children use a variety of skills while dealing with daily mathematical concerns. Another major concern was that the existing tool was assessing children in a very linear way whereas under each subject a more comprehensive approach was required. This gave way to an understanding that not only one but many skills, which are equally significant, under each subject need to be a part of the assessment tool.

The team then thought of developing a new tool for children’s learning level assessment. We needed a tool which is more flexible, to which learning levels can be added at later stages, if needed. The assessment tool was designed with an understanding that each child is unique and their understanding may differ with each subject and competency. The tool assesses children in Hindi and English languages and Mathematics. As per the whole language approach both the languages were divided into four linguistic skills i.e. are Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Each of four is divided in three levels with given codes. These levels were conceptualized keeping in mind the context and developmental stages of children. Similarly four basic competencies were identified for Mathematics as well related to the daily lives of children. These competencies are Number sense, Number operations, Estimation and Approximation, and Geometry. Under each competency, three levels were coded.

All these levels in Mathematics and Languages were conceptualized as per the principle of concrete to abstract. This means level 1 engages the child at the most concrete and experiential level whereas level 3 demands a more abstract and relational thinking.

To ensure appropriate usage of the assessment tool, all the SRC teachers were given an orientation by the team. Along with this, the tool was piloted in front of teachers with four children of different age groups. Teachers witnessed the entire process, and it helped them greatly while implementing the tool in their own classrooms. We envision to regularly assessing the learning of children through the assessment tool, which will be modified as per feedback from teachers at regular interval.

Team orientation
Team orientation
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Organization Information

Adharshila Shiksha Samiti

Location: Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh - India
Website:
Adharshila Shiksha Samiti
Asmita Kabra
Project Leader:
Asmita Kabra
Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh India

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