Published: 17th February 2021
These NRI students are all set to teach English to over 3000 children of migrant labourers. Here's how
Arushi Mishr and her team based in Singapore and India have started The English Literacy Project and with their unique curriculum, they want to teach English to 3,000 kids of migrant workers
According to a recent survey, at least 12.18% of Indians speak English — which is approximately 125 million people. However, a lot of people don't get jobs though they are well qualified and a lack of good spoken English is one of the reasons. That's why Arushi Mishr, a student from Singapore started The English Literacy Project, specifically targetting the children of migrant labourers.
But what led a Singapore-based student to start English classes back in India?
Arushi was born and brought up in Mumbai and it was in 2017 that she shifted to Singapore with her parents. She explains, "I have always driven towards teaching underprivileged kids who lack access to quality education. When I was in Mumbai, I volunteered with Mumbai Mobile Creches, an NGO that sets up creches to educate children of migrant labourers in construction sites. It was during this short stint that I began teaching English to these kids. Learning English is essential for all as it helps get a good job and earn a decent living. Hence, when I shifted to Singapore, I wanted to start this project."
So who are part of this project and how does it work? Arushi has a total of 12 members in the team and while nine of them are her friends living in Singapore, three of them live in India. "Even before the lockdown, we worked together and designed a curriculum for children studying in Classes 1 to 9. We have collaborated with an organisation called The Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT). Our curriculum is a video-based curriculum but students can watch it offline without any internet. We have borrowed these videos from BCPT and designed some worksheets to go with the video. Since we wanted to make it a self-learning process and less of a teacher-dependent programme, the worksheets are simple and easy to follow. By the end of the programme, we want to reach out to more than 3,000 kids of migrant labourers," says this 18-year-old.
Arushi and her team wanted to implement The English Literacy Project this academic year. But the children of migrant labourers are yet to come full time to schools. If everything goes well, they plan to implement the programme for the academic year 2021-22. Besides this, Arushi and her team wrote to the Prime Minister's Office about their programme. She says, "We did not expect any response to our letter and email. However, the PMO was kind enough to reply and told us that they have proposed our programme to the Education department. Once the schools resume working full time, we are hoping to implement the same in government schools."