Principals and teachers from government schools participated in capacity building workshops with Isha Vidhya, as part of Isha Foundation’s Government School Adoption Program.

As part of Isha’s Government School Adoption Program (GSAP), 3-day workshops were conducted for the principals and teachers of 99 primary and upper primary schools from the districts of Cuddalore and Villupuram in Tamil Nadu. Held from 20th to 22nd January, the two workshops were aimed at equipping these teachers in their work of interacting with young students.

Inaugural session of the workshop for Government school teachers.

Isha’s Government School Adoption Program supplements government efforts, bridging critical gaps in delivering quality education. With interventions on various fronts – teacher training, remedial classes, yoga, sports, extracurricular activities and nutrition supplements – GSAP benefits more than 25,000 students in 31 rural schools every year, imparting necessary skills to create a bright future for the children.

The thinking behind this initiative was that although there are sufficient primary schools to provide education even at the rural level, the quality of facilities and services are not up to the mark. The current student-teacher ratio is 70:1. Furthermore, a majority of the teachers lack the necessary skills to be effective, and need training. Studies show that many 9th standard students are unable to read and write their first language or do simple addition and subtraction. The health condition of children is poor and they are not aware of proper hygiene. 60% of the children were found to be anemic during screening tests.

Government school teachers perform skit during the workshop.

In order to equip teachers better, the workshops conducted in Isha Vidhya schools, were held in both districts, and about 50 schools each from Cuddalore and Villupuram were chosen for the pilot. The workshops were aimed at enabling teachers in handling student-related problems in regular classroom situations. The participants learnt to approach issues in a positive manner without compromising their emotional balance and, at the same time, taking care not to inhibit the emotional and social wellbeing of their students. Teachers were given practical training by putting up skits depicting typical classroom situations, group discussions, debates etc. The participants got a taste of lively games, which not only energized the proceedings but also gave them ideas on how to break the monotony of the normal teaching process.

Smt. N. Latha, Joint Director (Admin), Directorate of Primary School Education, Tamil Nadu, made it a point to visit both workshops and interact with the participating teachers. The participants found the training most useful and were looking forward to implementing what they had learnt. They were all very impressed with the atmosphere and energy at the Isha Vidhya schools in which the workshops took place. The teachers were inspired enough to request yoga classes for their children as well.

To Contribute: There are 6,300 government schools in Tamil Nadu and GSAP hopes to reach out to at least 3,000 of them, especially those located in the more remote areas. You can help by contributing to this venture: Contibute online or send a cheque/DD in favour of Isha Education sent to Isha’s Government School Adoption Program, 17, Govindasamy Naidu Layout, Singanallur, Coimbatore – 641005.