On a mission to hone English skills of tribal students

APTWREI Society leveraging technology to improve learners’ language proficiency

Published - July 25, 2021 12:05 am IST - VIJAYAWADA

APTWREIS Secretary K. Srikanth Prabhakar giving away study material to a student in the Paderu ITDA region.

APTWREIS Secretary K. Srikanth Prabhakar giving away study material to a student in the Paderu ITDA region.

English being the most commonly used language in the corporate world, and knowledge of the language being the most important employability skill, the government has embarked on a mission to hone spoken English skills of tribal students by leveraging technology.

The management of the AP Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions (APTWREI) Society has employed software applications to equip the students with effective communication skills in English language.

Two apps

“We impart training to teachers in English-speaking using apps such as EnglishBolo and ReadToMe, and they in turn help the students master the language,” says K. Srikanth Prabhakar, Secretary, APTWREI Society.

The app, ‘EnglishBolo’, delivers online classes, including translation, pronunciation and meaning of words with picture dictionary, helping the learners improve their proficiency in the language, besides boosting their confidence and encouraging them to integrate it in everyday life.

‘ReadToMe’, on the other hand, is a multi-sensory English reading and comprehension AI software that assists the learners to read and comprehend English textbooks.

“Our teachers attend classes regularly and there is already a marked improvement in their English teaching skills,” says Mr. Prabhakar.

Competitive exams

The Society also trains students from the tribal hamlets in competitive exams such as IIT and NEET.

“They are good in academics, but low in confidence, primarily due to lack of proficiency in English language. Our effort is to fill this gap,” he says.

Teachers have been asked to use ‘ReadToMe’ app at least three days in a week and encourage students to use it for self-learning.

“Regular tests will be conducted to measure their learning outcomes,” says the Secretary, informing that students of classes 6, 7 and 8 with smartphones have been asked to install the app.

The Society, which runs schools for some of the most backward tribal children, is trying to equip them with the power of knowledge that will help them find a place in the sun, says Mr. Prabhakar.

Based on their academic scores and aptitude, the students are selected and trained for competitive exams such as NEET and IIT-JEE Main.

Eighty students who scored above 85% in the first year Intermediate are undergoing coaching for NEET, while 107 students are aiming to crack the JEE-Main through coaching imparted by a team of teachers who are subject experts and volunteers.

Mr. Prabhakar recently visited the students and distributed study material to them.

Source of inspiration

The Atal Tinkering Labs sanctioned by NITI Aayog to 45 of the tribal welfare schools in the State are a great source of inspiration for the students to push their boundaries and think innovatively, he informs.

To overcome the COVID-19 blues, the Society has mapped its students with teachers available in the mandal to facilitate effective monitoring of the online classes attended by them. “The result is overwhelming,” says an upbeat Secretary.

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