a) Focused support at schools
We reinforce our commitment to Lifelong Learning by supporting programmes that help in building capacity at schools and enhancing skills of students:
English language programmes
The objective of the programme is to develop reading skills at schools. This helps students express themselves more confidently and improves their comprehension and spoken English. We donate books, and our staff and their families read to young students regularly to improve their proficiency in reading.
We have set up libraries to reinforce the importance of reading:
Our reading programme was developed by the Hippocampus Reading Foundation at these libraries. It is a programme designed to cater to the reading needs of students by providing books that are aligned to a child’s reading ability, instead of his/her age. The programme helps improve comprehension and in turn encourages children to read more.
These centres provide a learning experience that is supported by innovative ways of teaching through technology. A software provides modules with different scenarios to help improve spoken English and comprehension of students. Each module is a combination of instructor led sessions and computer based training. The programme allows students to practise these skills and helps build vocabulary.
A special programme developed by consultants who have a vast range of English teaching experience. The programme complements and structures all our other English language initiatives and focuses on lesson planning, developing interactive exercises and worksheets.
Investing in teaching
Consultants conduct lessons along with teachers to help them use teaching tools such as audio visual material, theatre and music more efficiently.
We collaborated with the British Council to place Teaching Assistants at three of the schools we support. They helped create an environment that encourages students to communicate in English and provide assistance to slow learners.
We sponsor the salaries of experienced teachers at schools we support. This helps ensure that children continue to learn from skilled instructors and also helps the school with its operational overheads.
We have set up computer labs at schools that help students access educational material online and enhance their learning. The knowledge of basic software and use of technology to function effectively is a must-have for students.
We set up a computer lab at Gurukulam, a school run by Trust Children in Chennai, and helped them get a high speed internet connection which had been a challenge owing to the remote location of the school. This helped the school initiate a research based curriculum which encourages in-depth learning.
This programme was introduced to highlight the importance of financial planning at an early age.
Our Deal Advisory team developed a training module for students from grades 5 to 12 to help build an understanding of key financial concepts systematically.
The programme encompasses a series of sessions, and the concepts covered include managing finances well, importance of savings and planning a budget.
Junior Achievement (JA)
JA India works with educators, industry and volunteers to help young people understand what the world of work involves and how their interests and abilities can lead them along different career paths. With an emphasis on hands-on experiential learning and interaction with real life role models and mentors, JA students develop practical thinking, competitive skills and gain confidence to pursue their dreams.
The modules have been customised as per the age group of students, and our people volunteer to conduct these modules in classrooms.
Recognising the crucial role that nutrition plays in the development of young children, we support nutritious meals at the schools we support.
We have supported schools with their infrastructural requirements. Our support in the past has included furniture for classrooms, equipment to enhance the safety and security of students, school buses and solar and rainwater harvesting projects.
This year, we completed solar projects at three schools, with a total capacity of 27 kWp.
Girls’ education is a strategic development priority. Better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and enable better health care and education for their children, should they choose to become mothers. All these factors combined can help lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty.*
Our Aspire programme helps build skills and abilities of disadvantaged girl students through quality education, mentoring and other significant contributions, with the objective of enhancing their employability.
*Source- Girl’s Education, World Bank
b) Empowerment through Education
This year, we provided over 230 scholarships to children of housekeeping and security staff at our offices, to help them meet their tuition fees and expenses for books.