Archive | May, 2010

TFI seeking Campus Ambassadors

31 May

Teach For India is now seeking campus ambassadors and young professional ambassadors. Ambassadors will give 2.5 hours per week to represent Teach For India at their institutions – serving as a liaison and creating awareness about the 2 year Fellowship. They will experience first-hand how an ambitious and global campaign operates and receive weekly training on developing themselves as communicators and leaders. Please e-mail recruitment@teachforindia.org if you would like to interview for this role.

My experience as Teach For India’s Youth Ambassador for GOA:

Although the very first time I spoke to Shveta Raina, National Manager TFI recruitment she asked me if I can be of any help in spreading the word about TFI in Goa, My actual work began very late since somehow the work of sending me info on TFI was delegated to someone and it never reached me until December when Shveta called me up again only to find out that I never recieved any documents from TFI. Anyways by the time I reached Goa, the third and final deadline for applying to 2010 fellowship was approaching and I chalked out a two pronged approach to let people know about the fellowship in whatever little time I had. The very first thing I did was post a lot of stuff about TFI on my blog and social networking pages. Steered a few discussions with friends and took contacts of the general secretaries of various Goan Colleges through DePP i.e. Department of Publicity and Public Relations of my college. My friend Abhay helped me a lot in finding contacts in Goan colleges. Infact we hired a bike and went to the Colleges together. Few of the things that I did were:

  • Spoke to the coordinator of Department of Journalism and Media Affairs of BITS Pilani, Goa Campus and arranged to publish an interview of Madhukar Bhanuri, a 2003 batch BITSian and TFI 2009 fellow in the monthly newspaper called BITS HERALD.
  • Spoke to the placement committee of my College and asked them to put up info on the placement division website, so that people can avail the opportunity. However, this couldn’t work out. But still documents containing info on TFI were spammed on our LAN.
  • had a meeting with the Principal of MES College of Arts and Commerce (he was aware of the movement but hadn’t informed students in his college and was unaware of the final deadline). So gave him a few printed notices which were put up in the college. He even informed me about a principal’s forum which constitutes the principal’s and heads of various other colleges of Goa and they were planning to have their next meeting and I could have addressed all of them together but this possibility faded since we were too late.
  • had a meeting with the placement coordinator of Dhempe College of Arts and Science, she was receptive and agreed to put up the notices which I gave her about TFI.
  • Similarly, noticeswere put up in Salgaocar Law College.
  • I was not really sure if Diploma Holders were elligible to apply for TFI still I met the Principal of GPP(Goa Government Polytechnic) and put up our notice(recruitment Flyer) there.
  • Similarly I had a meeting with the Principal of Goa College of Architecture and briefed him about TFI and handed him the flyers which he agreed to put up on their notice boards. Further he also agreed to forward some of the information about TFI to his past students through mails.
  • Apart from this there were three other colleges i.e. GCE, PCCE and St. Xavier’s amongst which the first two were closed and exams were going on in one so I forwarded some online stuff to their General Secretaries who agreed to spread the word through mails in their colleges.

However, since the deadline was very near and the application procedure is also lengthy all I expected of this was that these guys would have had a look at the website and would atleast know about the movement. 

Suggestion to the new CAs and YPAs

It’s a great opportunity and you will get to meet a lot of awesome people. Start off your work early so that more and more people could use this opportunity. Be on the lookout for opportunities to publicize the movement, and I am sure you will be able to find many such opportunities.

All the Best!!!

P.S.: I am attaching a few files which will help you get an idea of the movement.

Recruitment Flyer

FAQs

Change Your Life and the Nation

Beyond_fellowship

Teach_For_India_Information

Poor Quality of Education in Government Schools

30 May

India is currently in the midst of one of the worst educational crisis which is being followed by huge inequity in the socio-economic status of its people. While there are a significant number of people falling under the upper and lower middle class of society in India, there is a huge population lying below poverty line with no major efforts towards the elevation of their status in society. 

  • 40% of India’s population is illiterate.
  •  Indian classrooms are understaffed (1 in 4 teachers will be absent on any given day)
  • Teachers are not engaging ( Only 50% are likely to be teaching at any given time)
  • Drop-out rate is unusually high (More than 1 in 3 children who begin primary school will drop out before reaching 5th grade)
  • Education spend is relatively low (India spends only 3.3 percent of its GDP on education, compared to an average 5.8 percent in developed countries) (Source: India’s Educational Crisis, Teach For India)

 “Perceptions and Myths on the Education System in India” by Child Rights and You (CRY) states that results after rigorous research and interaction with parents from the underprivileged sector shows that parents want to send their kids to schools regardless of which section of society they belong to and one of the major reasons of their kids’ dropping out of school is that they don’t witness any changes being brought by education in their child’s life. Further they also believe that the public or government schools are not functioning well as the teachers are generally absent or even if they are present they hardly show any inclination towards engaging their class through active presentation and child management skills. 

Thus, unquantifiable improvements in a child’s mental abilities, lack of immediate results and the sorry state of public schools are the major factors behind the drop-out rate being unusually high in India. 

The approach of the government has been to ‘provide’ education by ‘producing’ it through a vast network of government schools managed by state bureaucracy. However, government schools are failing the poor. Though Education spend is relatively low in India in terms of GDP the high rate of teacher absenteeism is not due to low salaries. In fact, in India, the ratio of average teacher salary to per-capita income is more than 3.5. The corresponding figure for US and UK are less than 2.0 and those for East Asian countries are less than 2.5. (source: Business Models for Providing Education to the Poor, Ayan Sarkar)

The problem is systemic – the government simply does not have the organizational wherewithal to ‘produce’ quality education for all. Fiscal measures have proven to be incapable of mitigating systemic inefficiencies and failed leadership. 

In order to provide education based on improvements in communication and life skills while increasing the confidence, spontaneity and other soft skills within a sustainable framework to children from vulnerable back grounds I visualize that a self sustainable educational model with alternative revenue sources can be an answer to the problems of schools running on grants or low economic backup by the government.  

This can be achieved by starting with a pilot project where we need to work with the education scholars and develop study and training modules with single minded devotion to develop English speaking ability in kids and help them get over their fear, gain confidence and acquire excellent communication skills. This is because English which is needed to get a good job is nonexistent in public schools. The vernacular medium of instruction does not leave the children with the confidence to study further, given that all higher learning is only in English. Even those who pass out of these schools and go further have little ability and confidence to get equal access to the new age jobs. Hence, the huge gap between those who have benefitted from economic liberalization and those who haven’t keeps on increasing day by day. (Source: http://www.parikrmafoundation.org/) 

This would also provide a quantifiable model, where changes in the overall personality of students and their standing in the class can be measured based on their acquired abilities and confidence levels. Further, the model would encourage children to take up subjects of their choice and make informed decisions through availability of unadulterated information. This information will not only provide consulting while making career choices but would also help them develop into creative and informed individuals who will bring positive changes in their respective communities. This would be our first step towards an India where all children will attain an excellent education.