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Pre-school initiative launched in 60 villages of Mysore

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Helping hand: Children learning to read at a village anganwadi in Mysore district.
Helping hand: Children learning to read at a village anganwadi in Mysore district.

Shankar Bennur

MYSORE: The learning outcome in Mysore district, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), is much below national and State numbers. The annual survey, which is facilitated by the NGO Pratham, is undertaken to assess infrastructure in schools and children’s learning outcome. The report emphasises the need for a more concerted intervention to improve the learning performance of children in the district.

Realising that the time has come to do something concrete by targeting children at the pre-school age (3 to 6 years) and in-school age (6 to 14 years), Pratham, Mysorehas now expanded its activities to the rural areas. It has replicated its successful models in pre-school education, reading, and mathematics in order to create an impact and bring about a positive change in learning levels of children.

The rural initiative has been launched in 60 villages of the district in partnership with NGOs based in each taluk of the district. Under the initiative, each partner NGO will identify young village-based volunteers who will visit village anganwadis and work with the anganwadi teacher in imparting pre-school education.

“The volunteers will use Pratham balawadi kits containing locally developed, cost-effective and safe materials to kindle the child’s interest in learning,” said the chief coordinator of Pratham, Sheshadri.

Other volunteers will carry out activities in village government schools and assist the teachers in handling Pratham’s reading (Kannada Vachana) and mathematics (Nagu Nagutha Ganitha) programmes.

These packages are designed and developed by T. Padmini, Pratham trustee, and a retired professor of education.

According to Mr. Sheshadri, the Kannada Vachana programme, which is used for building language skills in children studying in classes one to seven, is a remedial package intended to correct the graded difficulties at different levels of reading and pronunciation.

Nagu Nagutha Ganitha, a package for fostering basic arithmetic skills among primary school children, was first tried out as arithmetic skill programme in Mysore in 2006. In 2007-08, the finalised version of the programme was rolled out through government school teachers to cover 1,486 children across 47 schools in the city.

The rural initiative programme comprises 100 sessions of two to three hours every day beginning from October 2008 and closing by January 2009, aiming to improve the learning levels of children in the period.

“It is aimed at reaching 5,000 children from 60 villages,” Mr. Sheshadri said.

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