Saurabh Garg @ Pratham.Org

I happened to goto Prathm with Nitin and Nidhi...

Here is a post which was to me made on about it. This post was written keeping in mind that Nidhi would post it and help get more volunteers.

Here is the unedited version...

About Pratham
They have divided the city into zones and then each zone has been divided into target areas. A target area generally is a colony where there are quite a few children who aren’t able to continue their studies for some reason or the other.

Once a target area has been identified, one coordinator is appointed by Pratham who reports to any one of the two managers for the zone. She (the coordinator) has to then carry out a survey in the entire target area and find about the number of students below the age of 14.

The aim of Pratham is to make the vision of basic elementary education accessible to all a reality.

After the survey is complete, they then mine the data and find out the number of children in the age group 3-5 and number of children in age group 6-14 and dive them into two sub groups. Group I is children with no knowledge of education. They cant read, cant write, cant count and even if they can, they are not hat good at it. Group II is of children who are better placed than Group I children. They would be able to either read or write or do both but not that effectively.

Then after this segregation, they make presentations and road shows in that area and coax parents to send the children to summer camps. Almost every gets ready and send the children for camps. After a child is sent to the camp, the Pratham people keep track of that child for entire 44 days (the duration of the prorgamme).

Their sub task is that after 44 days are over, the child should be able to read and write effectively. They call this a story reader level. Also they take proud in saying that if you pick any child at random from this target area and ask him to read/write/count, he or she would be able to do it.

Another major thing about it is that they make sure apart from basic reading and writing, the children know about environmental science, social science, respect, order etc. They say they are promoting education but they are doing much more than that.

Also I would say we should come out in numbers and volunteer. If you have even a slight thought about giving back to the society, you should join us as this is a well-laid path and you just have to walk on it. You would not be worrying about organizing things, routine problems, and administration. All you got to do is register with Pratham and help them reach their cause.

And just think if the volunteers there who are teaching and spend 4 hours daily there with the children and missing their own studies and house hold chores, why cant we spare just one day and that too when we are free and have nothing to do.

Anyways, today, me, Nitin and Saurabh went to the Pratham Study centre. We could see the following positives in the way they worked...

1. Enthusiasm in the students and especially teachers. Everyone there including the students, teachers, coordinators and managers were more than keen towards fulfilling their goal of helping children learn. There were small instances we could pick. A class is of 24 children and the teacher made sure that she attended to the individual child. She would give a question and tell everyone to write the answer and she would take rounds and see if every child has written it or not and would correct the basic mistakes. Also as soon as the teacher asked any question as a quiz, ALL the children would raise their hands in an orderly manner and would try to answer even if the answer was wrong. There was this guy who was their PT teacher and he RAN for almost half an hour without stopping in between in circles, trying to help them play a game. And it was no ordinary game; children were being taught counting, addition and subtraction with the help of this game.

2. The work they were doing reflected professional attitude and quality. The people working there were hand picked. They had immense interest in children and working very hard. They would repeat the same thing over and over again as many as 24 times (yes I counted it) to explain the thing. This teacher was would be say 17 years old was trying to tech Hindi and this child wasn’t able to pronounce a certain syllable, she repeated the thing 24 times and finally the child could pronounce it. Amazing level of commitment.

3. The education that they give there is complete and wholesome. Basically they teach Hindi/English and Maths but they teach them drawing, art, craft, sciences, social sciences, awareness, physical education and everything. The children in the age group 3-5 were only taught through games in a play way method. There methodology could beat even the biggest of the play way schools. The children were taught excellent etiquettes. Small things like wishing teachers, raising hand before speaking, taking permission before coming in and leaving, they were taught. You don’t expect a child who hasn’t studied to have these kinds of etiquettes and respect for authority. But they taught them. And more importantly children seemed to have learnt that.

4. They made sure that the child grows confident. They would call upon a child and ask him to speak in front of the class and even if the child would hesitate, they would call him again and again and help him talk in the group. And there were things incentives (other children clapping), punishments (didn’t see an example) there. Talking of clapping they were even taught a rhythm in which they were supposed to clap. one two ... one two three. And they were good at it.

5. They were professional about it. They know that they have 44 days and they have divided the entire program in 44 sessions and they make sure that complete the days plan. We were there as observers or auditors, we were to make sure tat they do things well and they didn’t try to act up in front of us. They went about their task in a routine manner completely ignoring us. And since we were auditors, one thing was clear that they have external auditors for better quality measure and control.

6. Once a week they hold an interactive session with the parents. Like a PTM. In this meeting they would show that how a child has grown and would perform skits etc. They would show that on day one the child was not able to read. On day 7, the child is able to at least read 10 alphabets. People know that something is being done and make sure that they send children for the entire duration. This takes care of the rate of absenteeism.

There were many other areas that we could have explored but we were only 3 people. I would request all of the Delhi people to come forward.

Till now, we have Nidhi, Nitin and Saurabh. Apart from this we have managed to get some more people who aren’t on Pagalguy and they are Nalin, Manan and Manish.

What about Sid, Apurv, Sulabh, Prateek, Shweta and Ankur? You guys were there for the meet but there was no response from any of you... Please try to take at least 4 hours off your packed schedule.

Nidhi, Nitin, Saurabh.

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