Beyond the blackboard

Sep 05, 2013, 04:08 IST | Dhara Vora

On Teacher's Day, Dhara Vora speaks to three organisations that are going beyond the classroom to teach Mumbai's children a combination of different life skills

Akanksha Foundation
Vandana Goyal, its CEO says, “We have a set of goals for our students in order to provide high quality education. For this, we go beyond the basic SSC textbooks and also merge National Curriculum Forum (NCF) certified sets for teaching and have a skills-based approach.

Students using tablets at Akanksha's DN Nagar school
Students using tablets at Akanksha’s DN Nagar school

The teachers work to build different activities centered on the syllabus to engage the children. Also, our schools run 25 to 40 % longer as compared to municipal schools.” Akanksha has eight schools in Mumbai and seven in Pune in partnership with The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Pune Municipal Corporation, respectively.

Home visits to develop relationship with the students and the families are conducted. Recently, it organised a pilot project where students worked with tablets, which were run on a system built especially for the classroom (hence it excluded the use of broadband Internet); the content for the session was created by Khan Academy, another international organisation that works towards education.

Make A Difference (MAD)
This organisation uses different modes of learning at numerous orphanages and shelters in the country. They have formulated The English Project that looks at different levels of learning. “We make use of Cambridge University Press’s books for our project.  The teaching process involves different games and use of collateral material to make the sessions interactive. Apart from English language skills, MAD focusses on making children aware of careers to be followed post school. We conduct different workshops on art, photography dance, etc and also visit different corporate organisations,” informs Chandni Shrivastav, Head, English Project, Mumbai.

Apni Shala
The involvement of youth is crucial with organisations like Apni Shala, which was founded by young TISS graduates last year. They work at Municipal and low-cost private schools where they either work with organisations that are already present there or with assistance of the school. “Our aim is to help children learn different life skills through development programmes, which are created with the help of games, drama, storytelling and other activities. We help children build their confidence, communication skills and also develop creatively,” shares Amrita Nair, one of its co-founders.

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