Monday, April 20, 2009

Teach for India

Today as we had our farewell in the VGH, someone mentioned the Teach India campaign and I just remembered the time when I was a part of it just when it got launched but for some reason that our undergraduate life demands, the reason just got blurred.Probably it was the system or maybe it'll take time to stabilize but, the Teach for India campaign can surely be way more successful and effective that say the Teach for America-the place where it all started.In times of recession of career uncertainty it sure does help to have alternate career plans that you've always dreamed of like' being the change you want to see in this world'. I don't know what prevents us from running start ups,we do have the talent, y fear? Below I've an excerpt from how the Teach for America (on which Teach for India is based on) got actually started.I think if you liked abhigyaan you surely would love to do something like this:

"At Princeton, after another student expressed an interest in teaching, I had an idea: Why didn't this country have a national teacher corps of recent college graduates who would commit two years to teach in urban and rural schools? A teacher corps would provide another option to the two-year corporate training programs and grad schools. It would speak to all of us college seniors who were searching for something meaningful to do with our lives.

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that this simple idea was potentially powerful. If top recent college graduates devoted two years to teaching in public schools, they could have a real impact on the lives of disadvantaged kids. Because they had themselves excelled academically, they would be relentless in their efforts to ensure their students achieved. They would question the way things are and fight to do what was right for children.

A national teacher corps could be huge, I thought. This could be the Peace Corps of the 1990s. Thousands would join, and we would fundamentally impact our country."

Excerpted from One Day, All Children... by Wendy Kopp, Copyright 2001

So where did it all start?

On April 12, 1989, the day after I turned in my thesis, I went back to the computer room to turn it into a thirtypage proposal. I was excited to be moving forward but anxious about what needed to be done in the less than two months before graduation.
I needed a seed grant so I could survive after college with no other source of income and so I could spend my summer traveling around the country meeting with education leaders, school districts, and as many potential funders as possible. Without a grant, I would have to get a real job and there would be no teacher corps.
So I went to Princeton’s library. This time I wasn’t searching for volumes about the state of education or the history of the Peace Corps but for a reference book. I needed the names and addresses of the chief executive officers of major American corporations. I picked companies I recognized and also those that had surfaced in my thesis research as being committed to education reform.

Read more here

Click below to check out The Teach for India campaign and how you can be a part of it.There's even a section to convince parents on the site.In case someone does have an Idea relating to anything above or below please do comment.

Abhigyaan can do a lot more than what it does now.Please help make it bigger, better!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My experience

Unlike Divesh I didn't get selected for Abhigyan the first time I tried getting in, that was almost my first day in BITS '06. 2 years down the line I finally got a chance. Nothing could be a more motivating reason to wake up early morn other than helping someone learn something that could change their lives.

My student's name is Raju.He doesn't know when he was born and neither does he have much of a clue of his last name.He know's hydraulics even though he is just learning the language fundamentals. That's coz he is a crane operator in Birla.The reason he joined Abhigyaan is something that we all take for granted: education. He dropped out of school in the 4th standard, was never serious when given the chance to study till now.Why the sudden transition? He is skilled enough to do the job he is good at yet he was denied visa/work permit to go abroad since his communication skills in English weren't as good as the rest.Now we need to ensure that he gets compatible enough to clear a 10th class private exam.I'm not aware if Abhigyaan has helped anyone get an exam done, but I told him I would help with the exam, there are a few agents around who do this but is there anyone in Abhigyaan who could help with this?

Teaching students@ Abhigyaan is quite different from teaching students at a private tuition which I had been doing since past several years before coming to BITS.When marks are the only thing at stake students do anything to get marks.So disinterested are most in their studies that they go to school only for the Sports, friends and those free little things you get on chips.It's more a problem of under-education than illiteracy. The Finnish school system is reported to be the best. Finland 1 and Finland 2 will give you an insight. We may not be able to adopt it but we can surely adapt to it.We just need a few good people to get working.Times of India's Teach India Campaign has been a wonderful Initiative on paper though I have no clue of what kind of results they have obtained. We are also trying to use this MAD platform to help us in doing the same. Whatever the platform we may use, if each one of us can make a constructive difference to one person/year , it would make a lot of difference.

We sure do have a legendary tag line "Knowledge is Power Supreme" but What use is Power if we don't use it properly.

Ciao :)