Teachers improve the quality of education in remote areas
With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the dedicated target (SDG 4.c) recognizing teachers as key to the achievement of the Education 2030 agenda, World Teachers Day has become the occasion to mark progress and reflect on ways to counter the remaining challenges for the promotion of the teaching profession. On this special day, we bring you Aide et Action’s interventions with teachers to improve the quality of education in schools across India.
Education for all, is a global demand, explicitly expressed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Governments are under pressure to invest in Education and include those left out. In India the efforts to promote Education for All has undergone exemplary changes in the past decades through the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Government of India’s flagship programme for the achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group. The programme implemented in partnership with State Governments covers the entire country and addresses the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations. Limited capacities of school teachers to ensure quality and inclusive education, limited budgetary allocations for ensuring quality school education by local bodies, access to schools in inaccessible and remote rural areas are few issues which are detrimental in ensuring uninterrupted education to children.
Develop innovative models
To address the challenges, Aide et Action has developed and field-tested some innovative models pertaining to improving access and quality education of most marginalized communities in various geographies in India. The teachers were trained on developing customized teaching-learning aids to aid the children, especially in tribal areas where they are often forced to study in a medium of language alien to them. Aide et Action has encouraged teachers to adopt and teach using locally available material which is easy for the child to relate and understand. “I participated in a 5-day language training programme organized by Aide et Action in Gujarat. This has helped me in understanding the issues & challenges faced by tribal children who are predominant in this forest belt. Now it has become easy for me to teach them,” says Samuthirapandiyan, a government teacher from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.
Introducing ICT in teaching
Moving a step ahead, a digital teaching application based on adaptive teaching algorithms and simple gamification principles was introduced to make teaching practices easy and interesting. The app, which works both online, and offline, has multilingual capabilities and adapts to student moods to help teachers find new teaching ideas and lesson plans aligned with their curriculum. This technology is aiding teachers in the reserve forest belts of South & Central India. Children are now enjoying attending the school where they have the chance to learn and play using their mother tongue along with the language of instruction. “After the tablets were introduced, we have developed and uploaded many local rhymes, songs and plays into them. The children get attracted and participate in the class with enthusiasm,” says Vrishbendra, a teacher at the primary school in Girijana colony, Mekalamalli, Bandipur.
In the same forest terrain, Aide et Action revived the defunct Government Cluster Resource Centers to add value to education through learning and sharing. These CRCs with a full-fledged library and working laboratories in Language, Science, and Maths were renovated with the support of Wildlife Conservation Trust. The centers have transformed into knowledge hubs where teachers get a chance to upgrade and hone their knowledge & skills. “The resource center is very useful for teachers like me who are from the arts background. I get to learn so many new techniques which are useful in teaching the children,” says Ravi, an assistant teacher at the Baragi Government primary school, Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
Create a safe learning environment
The formation of ‘Teachers Resource Group’ in the states of Madhya Pradesh & Karnataka by Aide et Action is yet another innovation aimed at collectivizing teachers and seek their inputs in improving the standard of education. The collective, in Madhya Pradesh, authored an entire volume on the languages in Central India, which is being used as language-transition support tool for children attending schools in tribal areas. “The books developed by the teachers part of TRG is helping tribal children refer to their mother language as well as the language of instruction and understand the concepts better,” says Pravin Bhope, Regional Manager – Bhopal, Aide et Action.
Aide et Action believes that building capacities and introducing adoptable & locally available teaching and learning materials will help the teachers in creating a safe learning environment for children and improving the quality of education in schools. In 2018, over 5,600 teachers were capacitated by Aide et Action which has helped bring hope in the lives of 105,000 children in the most remote areas in India. These innovations and approaches can offer solutions, ensure education for all the children, especially from marginalized communities, and help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.