If you think technology is made accessible only to the affluent section of the society, think again.
Dharavi, which is Asia’s largest slum is spread over an area of 175 hectares, has a population of between 600,000 and 1 million people! And after the association with Danny Boyle s Academy Award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, Dharavi is in the spotlight once more for a ground breaking venture to improve the English skills of the slum teachers.
In its unique initiative, Landmark International Institute for Empowerment (LIFE Trust) has introduced a path-breaking technique of teaching English to the Anganwadi school teachers of Dharavi. It is conducting a 2-month pilot project in the slums for 25 Anganwadi teachers. Based on the success of the project, LIFE Trust plans to extend the same to 950 teachers during the year.
Anganwadis are pre-school centers established by the Central Government to engage children in rural, tribal and slum areas across India up to 6 years in an integrated manner. The scheme has been successful in not just teaching slum kids, but has also generate huge employment opportunities that are once for a change not being manipulated by the dirty hands of politics.
There are already schools like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM) School operating in Dharavi (which has an impressive attendance of 228 children). The school has been doing some excellent social work by providing good private education at affordable prices.
But in this new endeavor, LIFE Trust has gone a step further and identified a need to extra empower the teachers in language usage and has developed a project around the global language – English, as a start. It has created a unique ‘English DVD’ for this initiative and the teachers will be trained on ultra-modern portable DVD players! The DVDs contain visuals and a voice over to make English learning interesting and interactive. The classroom sessions would be enriched with discussions and role-plays to deliver all round quality learning. Additionally LIFE Trust will also record all the teaching sessions over the 30-day period which will help enhance the module when they expand later this year.
The LIFE Trust currently monitors 475 Anganwadis in Bandra and Dharavi slums, which caters to a whopping total of 9500 students and 950 teachers. Their main priority right now is to equip the Anganwadi teachers with the necessary skills to develop interesting teaching aids for their students, and create a level playing field for pre-primary students from private and public education institutions. Over the years, LIFE Trust has formed a close association with the Education Department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Council (BMC) in Mumbai in providing non-formal and creative teaching aids. It undertakes multiple projects for 49 schools such as Career Counseling, Effective Study Habits, Math Made Easy, and Industrial Trips etc.
All these initiatives have been extremely successful, and the constantly improving mark sheets of the class 10 students in BMC schools are a testament to this. LIFE Trust is confident that their newest initiative will be equally effective – empowering children to embark on an exciting journey of education and school life.