In association with Vidyashilp Education Group, Vidyashilp Community Trust (VCT) seeks to improve the quality of education in rural India by nurturing children to be agents of change and focusing on holistic education. The trust is committed to the creation of a more equitable, merit-based society by empowering individuals through transformational education to bridge the socio-economic divide.
In line with this, VCT has adopted 21 Government Schools in the N4 region of Bangalore with the goal to reshape the educational landscape in the state by helping these schools become future-ready. Since the inception of the program in July last year, more than 4000 students have been benefited.
VCT also facilitates holistic development of children through sports, health and environmental awareness by introducing co-curricular activities into the government school’s academic curriculum. Additionally, the intent is to monitor the quality of academics, attendance of students by making their learning spaces appealing and working on tangible improvements in the student’s academic scores.
Under the guidance of Dr Kiran Pai, Director at Vidyashilp Academy, VidyaShilp School and VidyaSagar Pre-schools, the vision is to step in wherever education is marked with glaring inequalities. This is steered under the leadership of Radhika Pai, Head, Vidyashilp Community Trust who is ably assisted by Arnawaz Bastawala, Program Development Officer at the Trust.
Building brighter and well-equipped schools
To make learning spaces more aesthetic and appealing to students, nine schools were repainted in association with a few other organizations. A team of volunteers worked on weekends to ensure that the learning spaces were alluring for more than 1600 students.
Sports play a key role in the development of language and reasoning skills for children, encouraging autonomous thinking and problem solving along with improving their ability to focus and control their behavior. With this philosophy in mind, playground equipment was provided to 5 schools along with implementation partners People4people. The plan is to install similar equipment in five other schools this year.
To promote students for active participation in class with the right ambience, VCT encourages the Nali Kali classroom process and thus provided 250 chairs and 41 round desks to students of 7 schools to recreate their classrooms with a dynamic and engaging energy for over thousand students.
Through raised funds, six digital classrooms were created with projectors and in built lessons as per the school textbooks resulting in close to 1500 students today having the benefit of using digital media to learn.
In order to recognize further gaps in the school infrastructure, a committee was set up comprising a student and a teacher from VSA (VidyaShilp Academy), a Government teacher and a retired Government school member. The committee drafted a physical space questionnaire around facilities such as ventilation, classroom walls, laboratories, computer rooms and so on. The first round of the survey has already taken place in 9 schools and will be extended to other schools once they reopen.
Focus on Health
Free Health check camps for eyes, throat, ear, teeth and general health were provided to over 3300 students along with CERNER. A team of senior specialists and para-medical staff carried out a comprehensive camp at 19 schools to ensure students have access to healthcare facilities.
Further to a dental camp, a session on oral hygiene was organized to educate children on the basics of the same. More than 4200 students attended the talk and were provided with toothbrushes and toothpastes at the end. A song was also curated with the intention of keeping children interested and excited about dental hygiene.
In three government schools, a programme on educating children on the Indian Constitution was organized. The interactive session, attended by close to 1500 students, was conducted with children playing the devil’s advocate and then recapturing the learnings through a presentation. Students also received a copy of the preamble along with the oath to the constitution of India.
Students from Japan, visiting India under the AFS (American Field Service) Intercultural programs, spent a few weeks with the VCT students and taught them about their culture and language.
On the occasion of Environment Day, a tree planting drive was organized in eight schools where over 2500 students were gifted saplings to be planted near their dwellings and schools.
Together in COVID-19
During lockdown, VCT raised funds to serve daily meals to close to 50,000 camp workers and daily wagers for two months.
To protect children, masks were distributed to over 2500 students of the N4 region who appeared for their SSLC EXAMS this year.
The vision of VCT is to ensure opportunities for all children including those from marginalized backgrounds. The trust intends to keep providing age-appropriate learning with a broad curriculum that is based on active learning. So that students can be exposed to a variety of subjects such as language, mathematics and develop skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, use of technology and collaborative learning.