Implemented by AIF as a pilot project, 48 students of class X are covered under this programme

Special classes for weak students are almost crammed with lessons. If the students happen to be from class X, who will be facing the public examinations, they will probably not have the time to even breathe with teachers not tolerating any distraction. However, breaking away from this punitive approach, the Coimbatore Corporation has adopted a novel approach where motivating students is the top priority.

Taken up as a pilot project covering 48 students of class X drawn from six Corporation schools, the ‘Smart Brain Class room’ project, implemented by American India Foundation (AIF), takes a new approach. Under this, the first 30 minutes of each special class is set aside for innovative exercises that develop the self-confidence of students. Only after this session does the coordinator take up academics.

This approach, K. Gangadevi of the Corporation Girls High School, Puliyakulam, says, has helped students develop a positive approach to studies. With the special classes being completely different from regular ones, the students look forward to attending them.

Her classmate R. Helen Fathima says the subjects are shown visually with the help of a projector, which makes the lessons easier to understand. They are also taught techniques to improve their concentration.

P. Pavitra, AIF training coordinator, says exercises such as smiling contests are held. Students also discuss their favourite activities with an aim to improve their self-esteem. This has had a profound positive impact on their academic performance. V. Alexander, AIF Regional Coordinator (TN), Digital Equalizer, says individual interviews were held with all 48 students to ascertain their mindset and identify the problems affecting their studies. They were chosen based on their performance in the quarterly examinations held in September. The special classes are held twice a week and will run for 12 weeks with assessment tests held on a weekly basis. Mayor S.V. Velusamy and Corporation Commissioner G. Latha have evinced keen interest in this project with a view to extend it to all schools based on the performance this year, he added.

Around 2,300 students are taking the class X board examinations in the 27 Corporation schools in the present academic year. The six schools chosen for the project are Corporation Girls High School, Puliakulam, Corporation Higher Secondary School, Selvapuram, Corporation SRP Ammaniammal Higher Secondary School, R.S. Puram, Corporation High School, K.K. Pudur, Corporation High School, Maniyakaranpalayam and Corporation High School, Kovilmedu.

The Coimbatore Corporation had inked a three-year MoU (2012-15) with the AIF to implement a ‘Digital Equaliser’ Programme in all the 10 high schools, 16 higher secondary schools, and one special school of the civic body.