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When all trees have been cut down, when all animals have been hunted, when all waters are polluted, when all air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Single Teacher Schools

In the long list of interesting people who have made a big impact, that I have been meeting in the recent past, this one takes a place high up there. Not only becos he has done so in a field so close to my heart (rural education) but due to the system he has evolved and the efficiency with which its running!
Single teacher schools are run by Swami Vivekananda Rural Development society. It’s the amazing brainchild of Shri. S. Vedantam and the concept behind is simple enough “ If children cant go to schools why cant the schools go to the children”

The implementation is very practical and considerate of the ground realities of a typical village. To ensure maximum attendance, school is conducted in the evenings between 5:30 and 8:30. The most educated young literate in the village takes on the role of the teacher. Constraints like proper infrastructure are no deterrents. Classes take place under trees, in temples, by the river side - wherever sufficient space is available. A blackboard and chalk are all that is required. The school atmosphere is casual, cordial and enjoyable.

More impressive than even the educational aspect of the school is that the students are taught the importance of basic hygiene, behavioral do’s and don'ts and morals. Coming from a teacher this has more value than from anyone else. The whole syllabus has been prepared by an eminent panel of experts.

Single teacher schools are for children of the age group 5 to 12. Children who have had the benefit of participating in these schools more often than not opt to continue on to secondary education in regular schools. That shud be considered the greatest achievement of this project as enrolling for higher education means a few kilometers of walk, needing a very high motivation to pursue studies. There are 540 functional STS as of now and Shri.Vedantam wants it to be 1500 with in an year. Apart from a teacher each school is also having a health worker (ofcourse from the village itself) who is trained to attend to basic first aid and teach the kids health and hygiene. They keep a close watch on the child’s health and also assist parents on basic health issues.

So ladies & gentlemen – If u wanna help this to reach more villages and want to be a part, Donate by visting them in person or their website and/or contact me. I wish to definitely do more than collect donations from folks, so keep me informed if u want to /can help this great effort apart from donating. And BTW, the donations for STS are eligible for 100% tax exemption under section 35AC. (I am told this is far more difficult to achieve than the normally mentioned 80G)

Pl do see this video. (sorry I could upload only partially, but shall upload a fullish better version soon)



Update: You can now see the full video here

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