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Most children from lower and lower middle income families in rural Tamil Nadu attend either Government run schools or small private schools. These schools do not focus on or deliver learning quality for students.
Data on learning outcomes (Source: Annual Status of Education Report 2012www.asercentre.org) shows that 70% Class 5 students in Tamil Nadu are unable to read Class 2 level text in Tamil, which is their mother tongue. Almost 60% Class 5 students in Tamil Nadu are unable to solve a simple 2-digit subtraction problem. 76% are unable to read simple sentences in English.
The rote teaching methodology in these schools fails to motivate children to come to school and learn. Many of these schools also suffer from poor infrastructure and do not focus on fostering extra-curricular skills of children. Children find school boring and irrelevant. They are often rebuked in class and are hence, even afraid of school. The school internalizes in the child a sense of inferiority.
These schools reinforce the assumption that children from disadvantaged economic or social backgrounds cannot learn as well as other children since they are first generation learners, who do not receive parental support or other resources which more affluent families can afford.
In this context, the learning environment in Eureka School is a stark contrast.
Eureka Nursery and Primary Schools were founded in 2006 by AID INDIA and BancaSella, with the vision of providing high quality affordable education to rural children.
Our teaching methodology is outcome oriented and the school learning environment is "non-threatening", thus making learning at Eureka Schools both fun and effective.
Our core belief is that every child has the same potential. We ensure that every child acquires the skills expected of their age and class. We conduct periodic skill assessments to keep track of a child’s learning. We provide special attention to those who fall behind and ensure that every child learns.
We lay a strong emphasis on empowering our teachers and upgrading their skills through regular training programs with both internal and external resource persons.
- Learning through fun activities, games, puzzles, projects, festivals, field trips, group discussions.
- Teachers encouraged to develop own teaching and learning materials.
- Periodic grade specific skill assessments to understand what each child knows and needs to learn.
- Children encouraged exploring, thinking, speaking, questioning and experimenting.
- Every opportunity to develop a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
- Work and play given equal importance. Emphasis on extra-curricular activities like Karate and several sports.
Our schools rest on the following pillars:
Eureka School teachers engage children in hands-on activities, experiments, projects and field trips involving real life materials, which enable children to relate what they learn in school with daily life. They begin with what children know and then proceed to introducing new concepts.
Attractive learning material
A dedicated research and development team focuses on developing teaching learning materials which are colourful and attractive for children. These materials are also made simple for both teachers and children to use. In addition to concrete materials, worksheets are also provided for each subject.
We have a team of dedicated teachers who are ingrained in the Eureka School philosophy. These teachers mostly come from the neighbourhood where our schools are located. The fact that our children consider Eureka School a home away from home can be attributed to the teachers’ friendly relationship with them. Apart from the resources provided centrally, teachers make their own teaching learning materials.
Focus on learning outcomes
In Eureka Schools, there is a strong focus on attainment of learning outcomes for every child. Teachers’ deliverables include every child’s achievements and not just an overall class aggregate. Apart from using effective methodology in the classroom to reach out to the maximum number of children, teachers also focus individual attention on every child to ensure that s(he) is not left behind. In order to ensure ability to give individual attention, our teacher-student ratio is maintained at an average of 1:20. Teachers are also provided periodic intensive training to ensure focus on learning outcomes as well as good practices in the classroom.
The classrooms and other facilities in Eureka School have been designed keeping the children in mind. There is a lot of space for children to play, display their work and explore. The rooms maximize the use of natural ventilation and lighting. The walls and the corridor also serve as learning aids.
Adopting this philosophy, Eureka School makes a promise to all its children that they will achieve their full potential, irrespective of their social and financial disadvantages.
- Janice Li
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