Karnataka

Pratham Mysore’s education model kindles interest, poised for expansion

Children of Government Higher Primary School at Muthathi village in T. Narsipur taluk engaged in digital learning.

Children of Government Higher Primary School at Muthathi village in T. Narsipur taluk engaged in digital learning.  

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The NGO’s idea of a model village helped deal with factors impeding learning processes among rural children

A remote village sequestered amidst harvested paddy fields in rural Mysuru may be an unlikely setting for a science exhibition.

Scores of students – mostly from Classes 4 to 7 — were agog with excitement, setting up working models of exhibits covering various aspects of basic science and the environment. It was testing time and an occasion for them to showcase skills and knowledge they had imbibed in their respective schools, at Mutathi village in T. Narsipur talulk on Saturday.

Drawn from Muthathi, Sujjaluru, Mavinahalli, and Hyakanuru in the rural hinterland, the students go to government schools, some of which are devoid of even basic furniture let alone the sophistication of smart classrooms of urban centres. Despite these infrastructural deficiencies, when it came to learning skills, these students proved they were second to none.

Be it environmental issues such as the need to increase green cover through seed balls or explaining the principles of electromagnetism through experiments, the confidence of the participants was matched by their mastery of the subject and fluency of expression.

The students’ ability to shore up their learning skills from these villages came about through a combination of factors. For, supplementing the efforts of the government-appointed teachers was the role played by Pratham Mysore, an NGO engaged in improving learning quality in schools.

Ashvini Ranjan, Trustee, Pratham Mysore, explained that they conceived the idea of a model village in a bid to fill up the gaps that were impeding learning processes among rural children. “We conducted a survey and found that the ability of children to read and comprehend was low and thought of remedial measures,” he explained.

Livelihood problems

A ground-level analysis of the scenario led Pratham to realise that they had to provide a back-up to parents as well, whose immediate concern centred around livelihood issues. So sewing machines were distributed and the beneficiaries were trained in tailoring to increase their incomes, said Bhamy V. Shenoy, who is an advisor to Pratham Mysore.

This was crucial as the livelihood issue was taken care of to an extent ensuring the parents would not disturb their children’s education.

Learning Space Centre

To improve learning skills of children, Pratham Mysore established a Learning Space Centre in the schools, provided computers complete with internet connections - made possible through another NGO. Two facilitators – one for providing computer skills and another to engage with students to shore up reading skills – are part of the programme.

The computers installed with software that makes learning interesting, enhanced their understanding of science and languages. The net result after two years of effort is qualitative improvement in the learning ability of students as was evident at the science exhibition.

“Today, the children who come from economically weaker sections of society and whose parents are daily wagers, are also digitally literate and adept in operating the system. Their learning skills are superior to children from villages where this intervention is not present,” said M.V. Rajendraswamy, headmaster, Mutathi Government Higher Primary School.

The concept has kindled interest among other NGOs working in the education sector and some more villages have sought Pratham Mysore’s intervention. Mr. Ranjan said Pratham would expand the model to other villages in due course and was prepared to provide the know-how to other NGOs and corporate bodies if they were keen to make a difference in children’s learning.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:03:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/pratham-mysores-education-model-kindles-interest-poised-for-expansion/article30552754.ece

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