BENGALURU: Over the last academic year, Classes 6 and 7 students across 30 government schools have learnt to speak fluent English, and had fun in the process.
They are part of a NGO-CSR collaborative programme, Arivu-Disha, which enables digital learning in the state’s government schools.
Arivu, a three-year initiative, focuses on reading, listening, speaking and comprehension of English, along with digital literacy and life skills.
Disha is a two-year career guidance and life skills programme for high-schoolers. It aims at preparing the students for life after school — vocational and academic opportunities open to them. This is conducted for Classes 8 and 9 students across six schools.
A group of 40 volunteers from NGO Headstreams visit the schools regularly.
Mohammed Hayath, a teacher at GU Higher Primary School, Kolar, says, “They come here every Wednesday. Since the learning is activity-based, there is a lot of excitement among the students.”
The weekly visits have made the children, many of whom live in slums, speak English with confidence, he adds. “Earlier, they had an inferiority complex,” he says.
The volunteers share a rapport with the students, and this also aids learning, says Sangarsha, who teaches at Sugatur Government Higher Primary School.
“Our syllabus is formal. But this programme helps children to learn through interaction,” he says.
Smitha, a Class 7 student of A Narayanapura Government School, agrees with the two teachers.
Her classmate Murali adds, “The games, songs, worksheets and the tablets have also increased our confidence.”
Divya, a Headstreams volunteer, says, “We nominate one teacher from every school for the follow-up activities.”
The increased confidence has also give the students’ self-esteem a boost, the volunteers believe.
Dr Meenu Bhambhani, who heads the CSR wing of Mphasis, the IT firm supporting the project, adds says there has been a 20 per cent improvement in the students’ English.
Fedora of Headstreams says, “This academic syllabus, we will engage with the students for longer durations.”
For its second year, Arivu-Disha is also launching more initiatives. These include a digital learning app, activity content and comic book, Arivu-missed call service and distribution of tablets to schools.
Puneet Bhirani, Chief People and Administrative Officer, Mphasis, says, “Learning from the past, the modules are customised to make learning more fun and impactful. The app eliminates the fear of learning a new language.”