The foundation of great nations is laid within the four walls of a classroom. Schools are not mere factories to manufacture literates. They touch our lives in a way no institution perhaps can.
The story goes about an Indian soldier who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. His army comrades found a scrap of pale-yellow paper in his pocket. The crumpled note had warm words written about him by his classmates, possibly as part of a school-bonding activity. But for the young boy, it was a life-altering experience that stayed with him till his last breath.
The soldier and many unheralded heroes are offshoots of a sound educational system that cultivates minds towards social, national and spiritual development.
With a futuristic mindset, schools can bring the knowledge so latent in us to the highest possible level. They offer platforms to analyse, think, respond, encourage conclusions and develop life skills instead of just allowing students to be prisoners of curriculums.
This is the vision of Tata Projects’, Holistic Education Programme, part of the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
With the world changing at a frenetic pace, merely cramming information to clear semesters isn’t enough. Students need constant monitoring so as not to feel vulnerable and disconnected from school.
According to a National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), conducted in 2019-21, lack of interest in studies remains the foremost reason for school dropouts. Nearly 36% of boys are less enthused about academics as opposed to girls (21%), claims the study. Migration limited financial backing, a general lack of interest in learning, parents’ indifference to education, poor school infrastructure and inadequate teaching staff are also contributors to school drop-out rates.
Our Holistic Education Project is keen to make a difference in these areas. Our Magic Bus Curriculum is a hands-on, engaging activity that provides opportunities for ‘learning by doing’ – essentially, you get skilled at something if you practise it diligently and acquire your own experiences. Additionally, the curriculum promotes physical activities through sessions, camps, tournaments, events, exposure visits and workshops. The curriculum includes sports-based activities, joyful learning sessions, soft skills and career awareness workshops to cope with stress and build perceived self-efficacy among adolescents.
Furthermore, we conduct baseline, midline and endline evaluations for the life-skill programme. For the Foundational Literacy & Numeracy component (FLN), we have baseline and year-end evaluations. We realise that as educationists, we have an obligation to address learning gaps. It’s with this objective that we have established an after-school programme at Community Learning Centres to develop FLN competencies in students.
And for sure, girls’education is at the heart of our activities. We offer scholarships to meritorious girl students from weaker sections. We also have a specially designed project only for girls to ensure continuity of education, inculcate strong values and help them achieve proficiency in functional numeracy and life-skills.
The Indian education system has long changed from mechanised learning to an innovative one, making it at par with global standards. It’s Tata Projects’ objective to integrate students with mainstream education, constantly provide academic support and create career awareness. Our support extends to making education accessible to the underprivileged by providing them scholarships.
And at every step, Tata Project upholds the vision of JN Tata who believed students should work under the direction of great teachers. Our teachers are hired through job portals like DevNetJobsIndia, Naukri, Indeed, Apna, NGObox, LinkedIn...We hire two sets of facilitators – for life skills and foundational numeracy and literacy – imparted through our Learning Management System (LMS).
Now, we are keen to do even more by making adolescents employable through modules related to digital literacy, financial literacy, functional English and career awareness. Our programmes are designed to strengthen the entire ecosystem by working with panchayats, village education committees, school management committees and Self-Help Groups (SHGs)such that children across different communities have access to education. For the statistically inclined, 51% of Indian students from our project area are from the Affirmative Action community.
If we can stoke students’ love for learning and shape them into well-integrated personalities, we would consider ourselves amply rewarded.
Chief Human Resource Officer,
Tata Projects Limited