University of Hyderabad students teach Government school children as part of Project Akshara
In India today, 4% of our children never start school. 58% don’t complete primary schools. And 90% don’t complete school. The fact that only 10% of our children go on to college is both a matter of sadness and anger for any responsible Indian.
Every child can and must attain an excellent education. No child’s demographics should determine their destiny. To all of us, the end of educational inequity is the freedom for all children to have the opportunity to reach their potential. And the day that all children reach their potential is the day that India reaches her potential.
It will take a movement of leaders with the idealism, belief, skills and commitment to actualize this vision. We all must be committed to finding, developing and supporting India’s brightest, most promising leaders for this to happen.
It is a proud moment for us at University of Hyderabad where our students under the Young Economist School associate with Government Schools and are involved in teaching the children as part of Project Akshara.
Project Akshara is a twenty two hour comprehensive programme organized by Samvedhna, the Social Service and Eco Club of the Young Economist School, University of Hyderabad under the guidance of Dr. K. Laxminarayana. Scholars across disciplines from the University of Hyderabad have been taking one hour classes, six days a week at two government primary schools in Gopanpally, a village near South Campus of the University. It had its first session on 04th February, 2013 and it continued with seventy volunteers, who call themselves ‘Pioneers of Project Akshara’. The course ended on 28th February, 2013. In addition, the course included two days of parents’ mobilization and two days of evaluation.
Project Akshara is based on the vision that there will be a day when every child in our country gets an excellent education. Every pioneer is passionate about the project and that passion is gearing the successful completion of the same. Project Akshara aims at building in children an interest towards every subject they learn, boosting up their confidence, improving their English communication skills etc. Project Akshara is all about sharing a few privileges each of us were destined to have with a few who were destined to be born a little less privileged.
Sahil Chopra, MA Economics “Even when we go after a day’s classes at the University, the enthusiasm and eagerness in the children gives us a lot of positive energy. The best part was that I could see myself as a child in them. I don’t call it a selfless work. It was selfish indeed because I derived a lot of pleasure teaching them and seeing that they learnt what I taught.” Hokato Aowmi, MA History says “It takes a lot of effort and patience on part of the pioneers but the kids have improved a lot and it is encouraging to see them speak in reasonably good English. When the session got over, it was difficult to ascertain who was happier – the kids or I?”. Sarah Wheeler, a Study India Program (SIP) student says “Children were very excitable, eager to participate and friendly. It was my first visit and they were all able to introduce themselves to me in English. They wrote down the new words, participated in the games and most students were willing to answer direct questions in English”.
Vinitha Rachel Varghese, a student of School of Economics says, “Project Akshara is not an alternative to the existing school system. It is an attempt to make all the stakeholders of the present education system responsible enough to be a vocal lobby for these schools. This interference for just a month helped in getting three more teacher posts, 13 more students getting enrolled and speeding of construction of more classrooms in these schools. We deem it a privileged if not to stop but at-least to slow down the pace of demise of government primary education in this country. Project Akshara is definitely a model to be replicated in every other University of the country.”
Dr. Laxminarayan of School of Economics who has been guiding Project Akshara throughout says “I salute the members of the YES Samvedhna Team for developing an extremely good model. This must be the first time any Central University has taken up something of this sort. I appreciate the members who have been spending day and night in developing the course structure for the programme. Every Central University in the country should replicate this model of Project Akshara”.
Kudos to our wonderful students.
Please see the video of Project Akshara on https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6g_iyXWvnGA