Report on Project Poorna Vidya
February 20, 2004
Background to how the proposal came up-
In December 2003, Sri Vijayakumar a member of the PittsMacdonald Lodge,
approached us at Asha Chennai with the proposal that we work with them to
improve the quality of education at a school. Since august- September some
of us Asha Volunteers Shanmuga, Rajaram, Lakshmi had been involved with
the Chennai Citizen’s Forum (CCF) an informal group of people involved
in assessing what intervention could improve the quality of the teaching
–learning processes in corporation schools in Chennai. Ms P. Sarawathi,
who has been a resource person for Asha Chennai teacher training
initiative is also one of the members of the CCF, was also at this time
looking for resources to help schools in Zone10 of the Chennai
Corporation. So the dreams of all of us put together resulted in the
choice of the school and starting the work there.
Ms. Saraswathi is the Chief Guide for the project. She and Lakshmi (
facilitator) drew up the proposal. Asha Chennai members formally approved
of the proposal. Ms. Vijayakumar got the approval of the members of his
Lodge, and all this happened in a short time of just two weeks.
January 2004 saw the following things happen-
Satyapriya ( M. A. in Social
Work) from Asha Chennai, and Thangadurai, a graduate in Tamil Literature
and a person involved in drama and art, started to be in the school from
10am to 3.30pm (as interns learning and facilitating the change processes
of improving quality) to facilitate the process of the use of material and
conducting the reading and art and craft activities that were being newly
initiated in the school. The teachers of the school were already exposed
to the use of child friendly techniques but were not able to use them
effectively for many reasons. Ms. Saraswathi P is guiding them closely-
the facilitator interns Satyapriya and Thangadurai. Both Satyapriya and
Thangadurai are on a stipend.
Purchase of library books and
reading material in Tamil worth a little over Rs7000. ( Ms. Sarawathi took
it personally to choose the books)
The eight teachers of the
school and Thangadurai underwent a one-day training in use of Montessori
material in Maths at the Montessori Training Centre run by Ms. Uma Shankar.
(Ms. Saraswathi has planned to take Maths improvement as focus for the
three months – Feb , March, April till the school closes for the summer.
Summer months will see special classes for art, sports and other inputs
for the children).
The materials required for
the pre-assessment of the student levels in Maths and Tamil reading were
prepared by teachers of a
progressive neighbourhood school for children of similar background and
required expert guidance. (The sheets are designed so that level of
reading skills, concept formation in Maths, colour and shape concepts and
some thinking skills could be assessed.)
February 2004 till date-
Montessori and other teaching
learning materials worth over Rs 15000, storage cupboards, colours have
been purchased with great care and arranged in school.
Worksheets for drawing and
colouring are being regularly used. Reading to children and by the
children is part of the daily routine. The intern- facilitators have
settled down to a tight routine and started enjoying their work as well.
Assessment work has started
with Stds 3, 2,1 in that order. Std 4,5 are being exposed today. The
teachers who have designed the sheets are also helping the children and
the facilitator interns and the teachers with support in administering
these tests. The preliminary report is children of all classes are
enjoying working on the sheets. Class 3 students’ readiness for the
assessment was good. Reading skills were fairly well developed. Attendance
in class was high. Even children who had gone home in the middle of the
morning session came back in the afternoon and participated with
enthusiasm. A very bright and extremely quick child has been spotted in
the group. Children responded quickly and showed ability for independent
1 and 2 showed great interest but children just tend to copy from a group
leader or from the board. Reading skills are not adequately developed.
Class attendance was about 50 to 60% of the number on roll on the day of
assessment. Today the test administrators will see if more of the children
of Class 1 and 2 are in school and have them participate. Formal reports
are to be prepared.
The interns were paid their
stipends for their 15 days in January. For effective communication between
the guides and the interns a mobile phone with a prepaid card (low end
scheme) has been provided.
Activities in March 2004
water source in the school’s kitchen directly to help the kitchen staff.
estimate for year Jan 2004 to Dec 2004= Rs 3lakhs
as on 20/ 2/04.