REACHED OVER 8 LAKH CHILDREN
Education influences children in a profound way. Wholesome education helps young minds to blossom. A cheerful mind can then go on to scale peaks of success one after another, in a journey towards reaching its full potential. Focused keenly on this vital area of societal development, we are serving communities by bringing the benefits of mainstream education to underprivileged children. Our finely curated efforts provide supplemental inputs, from fundamental to technology-driven tools, for enhanced learning, with the added benefit of higher confidence and self-esteem for the learners. The holistic approach eventually propels them towards rewarding careers and fulfilling lives, thus putting them on equal footing with the rest of the society.
Project Akshar, initiated in 2010 at Nandurbar in Maharashtra and Sagar in Madhya Pradesh, has transformed the way in which early-age education is perceived and imparted here. Over the years, Project Akshar has evolved into a mass movement. The beneficiaries are several tribal populations that are spread across numerous hamlets in these regions.
The mega project covers 1,059 villages, with no school left behind, thus touching the lives of more than one lakh underprivileged pupils in this area. During the initiation of the project, one of the somber facts realised was that children here were dropping out of schools well before finishing their primary education. In fact, most of them did not even reach standard 5. Among the reasons behind this was the variety of dialects in use in these areas, which was creating impediments in comprehension, reading and writing. In order to address this situation, a methodology was soon developed and ‘Read India’ was launched with the aim of building reading and arithmetic skills in children of standards 3 to 5. A multi-pronged crusade was launched by roping in government agencies, teachers, volunteers and parents. Necessary pre-requisites, such as teacher training, were taken up.
The project has been implemented to improve learning levels of students in language & Mathematics.
The program has been redesigned to meet the intended level of learning such that it also enables the learners to reach the intended level of learning for the grade as per normal curriculum applicable to the concerned state. The project is targeting the students from 1st to 8th Standard.
The project envisages to achieve the deliverables using the following four interventions:
1. For Std. 1-3 – Readiness Program with Mothers:
In this intervention, where mother & / or guardians will be given a short orientation in literacy related activities.
2. For Std. 4 to 8 - Camp Model - From foundation to Grade Level:
A ‘learning camp’ is an intense short burst of teaching-learning activities (6 to 10 days at a stretch) which is repeated in the same school/village during the year, to span a total of 30 days.
3. Training for Government Teachers
Training for the teachers is organised in each of 1059 schools-villages in Nandurbar district with the support of BPCL. In such training camps, at least one teacher from each of the government schools in the district will be expected to participate.
4. Library Intervention
To support the learning interventions conducted in the school, it is important to have ongoing learning activities in the community as well. The library intervention is aimed at building a learning environment in a village, where parents are involved and interested in their child’s learning process and children with their friends can do learning activities on their own.
Akshar focuses to give an all-round focus on the learning levels of children. The long term goal is to enable children to read grade level content with ease. 17 Grama Shiksha Kendras (GSKs) have been created across Nandurbar dist. These are common reading halls which are run and maintained by the villagers.
Seven-year-old Divya can now read fluently, something which many of her peers could not accomplish earlier. She practices reading at a common Reading Hall in her village, which is maintained by villagers. With better quality of education she is receiving in the classroom, she finds arithmetic interesting. When asked about her ambition in life, she says, “I want to be a math teacher.”
When you think of computer language programming or dabbling in digital art, the image that appears in mind is that of someone in their late teens or twenties. But when you visit one of the CAL-assisted government schools in Mumbai, do not be surprised to find a seventh standard boy juggling computer programming codes, or a 10-year-old girl aspiring to be a digital film editor. Sheena, well versed with basic movie editing, says she can already make the kind of small videos that we often see on social media platforms, with some cute digital effects to boot! Digital painting, another creative domain, is no longer a preserve of mustached computer-savvy artists or seasoned techies. Instead, every boy and girl here dabbles in this art form quit effortlessly.
The most amazing thing is that these children do not have computers at home and they mostly belong to migrant labourer families living in neighbouring slums.
Behind this success is Bharat Petroleum’s-support under digital education initiative that encompasses ‘Computer Aided Learning’ (CAL) and ‘Digital Literacy as Life Skill’ (DLLS) programs. The initiative aims at providing a level-playing field to children from economically disadvantaged communities by helping in bridging the gap of digital literacy between them and the society at large. Under this push, Bharat Petroleum has implemented the CAL project for students of low-income schools in Mumbai, Jaipur, Lucknow, Uran and Solapur. In the scheme of things, BPCL upgrades the computers to the requisite specifications and classroom education is provided by municipal school teachers trained for this purpose. This digital literacy initiative is for students up to 10th standard, who undergo a one-year foundation course, followed by a syllabus training in digital learning. At Mumbai, the project has been replicated in 50 low-income schools run by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), roping in around 55,000 children. Project CAL is also deployed in 20 schools in Washala, a tribal village in Thane district of Maharashtra.
Our Teacher Training Program – Saksham – is one of the flagship programs of the corporation. This project prepares teachers to be in sync with the evolving education paradigm. They are encouraged to use new techniques for teaching and classroom management as well as to develop enhanced teaching materials as per specific needs, especially by leveraging digital technologies.
Through the project it was aimed to impact not only individual classrooms but entire school environment.
In last 8 years, more than 1000 primary, upper primary teachers and Head Masters graduated from this program from more than 350 schools which comprise of low income Govt. recognized private schools or BMC Schools. The Head Masters & teachers from Primary (1st to 4th Std) and Upper Primary sections (5th to 7th Std) are trained by expert faculties on innovative ways to teach different academic concepts Mathematics, Science, Classroom Management, Leadership Skills, Financial Management and Importance of Sports in everyday life.
BPCL volunteers are also actively involved in activities like value based story-telling, conducting games etc. for the students. Mobile library, learning camps, educational trips are also an integral part of the project which induces mutual learning and positive environment.
Darrang District, situated in the central part of Assam and on the northern side of the river Brahmaputra. BPCL is supporting construction of 80 additional classrooms with allied facilities in identified 30 Government Primary Schools and they are situated at different locations in Darrang District. The allied facilities includes benches, desks, tables, chairs, etc. and the project aims to create an advantageous & safe learning atmosphere for the school students. The main beneficiaries will be around 10,000 students including both boys and girls in this 30 schools.
A new hostel block for women at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is supported by BPCL under its CSR interventions.
IISc is India’s premier institution for higher education and research. The Institute is keen on encouraging more women students to pursue careers in science and engineering, in order to address the gender inequality in science and technology. It has produced several outstanding women scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs of India.
Some of the brightest women students and researchers from all over India are admitted into IISc. Several women students also come from disadvantaged sections of the community and from backward regions and far-flung areas, and therefore require sufficient, secure and comfortable accommodation on campus. Contribution towards the nation building has always been the constant endeavour of BPCL and we strive to take it to greater heights every day!
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