Published: 31st December 2018
How this Bengaluru-based NGO is getting kids in India's Government schools to speak English
Teach For Change has been working to bring an education reform in government schools in Bengaluru and other cities
Learning to speak, read and write good English is every child's dream. Unfortunately, due to late exposure to the language, children in government schools find it difficult to cope when they step into college. In order to tackle this issue and help them improve their language skills at a young age, Teach For Change has been organising a literacy programme in government schools in South India. As part of the initiative, Teach For Change’s dedicated volunteers teach leadership and English language skills for children in classes III, IV and V.
Chaitanya MRSK, who started Teach For Change in 2014, had already worked to solve various social issues related to the community when he was as young as 12. He came across this idea when he met an ex-Microsoft employee who wanted to teach English to government school children. He says, "During our research, we realised that around 70 per cent of the children in India study in government schools and the quality of English that they learn is not good. The challenge in government schools is that there is only one teacher to teach all subjects and they might not be well-equipped with language skills. Hence, we decided to rope in some volunteers to teach them life skills and English."
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The team has designed a particular set of modules that the volunteers use. It includes step-by-step techniques to learn English — starting from alphabets and words, it also includes grammar and sentence formation. Apart from this, there are weekly workshops to teach them life skills like table manners, presentation skills, facing challenges in life, facing exams without fear, which are all taught in the form of a story.
When we asked him about why the programme has been restricted to certain grades, he says, "Initially, when we started the programme our volunteers were training high school children. The volunteers were not happy with the work because basic skills had already been compromised with high school children. Then we decided to work with primary school children so that we can mould them in their formative years."
Teach For Change is present in four cities including Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bengaluru and Visakhapatnam They have over 250 schools under their wing
Explaining the process of their work, he says, "We sign a MoU with a particular state government and this allows us to send our volunteers to the government schools. There has been a good response for our programme from teachers and children. The Education Department always wants us to expand this programme to other cities as well."