Background & Introduction
The education initiative – “ILAM MOTTUKAL” of Sterlite Copper Tuticorin is committed to provide quality school education to every girl child with an enabling environment so that she can realize her fullest potential. The project was started in 2012 to support 5,000 girls studying in class I to V.
In 2014-15, the project provided quality education and material support to 6830 girls. The project, in the next 3 years, will add grade VIII.
At the moment it provides after school continuing education in Tamil Nadu to almost 8000 girls in order to improve critical thinking and develop curiosity. It also provides students with school bags and different accessories – flip flops, stationary, dictionary and a nail cutter for instance. Distributing this amount of school bags together with the other supplies is quite a job for more than a few days, in fact it is still going on in this very moment but ought to be done till the middle of this month.
Our main tasks will be to prepare the tutor’s weekly training-workshops, visit different schools and classes in order to evaluate the results of our training, mainly how it is being implemented, where we can improve our workshop next time and last but not least, how do the children respond to the new learning methods.
The classes take place in the afternoon, after regular school classes. Although it might seem late, enrolled students attend almost at all times regularly.
To teach children critical thinking is one of the most challenging tasks for tutors, as we could see, but highly rewarding capability for each and one of the girls.
Apart from that we will create a database to monitor accurate number of student, their progress and success of each class and training help with official documents and case stories, exchange the knowledge with coordinators, improve their English and provide short trainings and actively participate in everyday’s tasks.
Our first task then is to get familiar with and observe how the lessons are being held and what can be the possible improvements to ensure creativity and individual development of each child. We visited the mainstream education classes as well as afternoon classes where children from 1st to 8th grade gather for more knowledge.
The time is short and after finishing their homework the girls start with a task from our work book, which they have received together with the school bag and other school supplies. This year English is the headline, so we are in the right time in the right place. Most of the children can speak basic phrases in English, but as we were informed and experienced a little they might not always know what they are saying and this has to be improved.
Our first visit took us to the village Thalamuthu Nagar (although it was not a real village as we have never left the city premises). We just caught the time when governmental classes end and ours begin. Many children left home, however many girls have returned to classrooms with the donated bag on their backs as well.
Second visit lead us to the regular school classes. We could observe the teaching of the tutor and reaction of students as well as getting familiar with the school environment, which is very different from ours. Each class doesn’t have its own classroom, but they share a space divided by room dividers into 2-3 classes sometimes.
Third visit was to A.V.S. primary school in Muthiah Puram. We met the headmaster of the school, who informed us of its new improvements (they have security cameras now, for example). We met with teachers and observed their teaching methods. In 5th grade we had the opportunity to talk with the students in some English.
As we expected the children are very eager to learn and excited to speak English and become friends with us, but on the other hand, the teaching goes from reading to repeating mostly and so they have all learned perfectly few phrases but is difficult for them to have a conversation.Here is big space for improvement for students and tutors and we are ready to take the challenge!
Next week we will concentrate on a preparation of the very first training of all 256 tutors, which will take place the week after, before the regular full-day-trainings/workshops with 20 tutors at once will start.
A big task ahead of us is to get ready for a Science Fair, where about 3000 children will take part in and present 225 experiments. This will happen in the end of August.
Follow our posts to read more about our time as volunteers in India. Read all about our School and our Programs on our website.
Marketa & Laszlo – May Team 2015