Education Quality Addition, (EQU+) update

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Education Quality Addition, (EQU+) remedial teaching/learning program

Introduction – Glenn Fawcett:
White Lotus began implementing a school based remedial teaching/learning program in 5 villages at Mewat in September 2016. The program recognizes substandard outcomes in government schools right across the country and seeks to create a village based model with cooperation and input from teachers, departments of education and training, school going children and their families. The objective is to show that by using a novel, interesting and engaged approach to teaching/learning, children’s learning outcomes at government schools can be vastly improved and up to what is expected at the level they attend. It is our hope the government of Haryana will then be inspired to roll out a similar program across the State, based on lessons learned in this pilot and which will then become an inspiration for other states.

Interaction with EQ+ children: Suraj Kumar, Project Coordinator 06/02/2017

We’ve been running classes in a program we called Education Quality Addition (EQU+) since July 2016 in five villages in Palwal district of Haryana. We are now in the last month of classes being delivered by this program, as the children will sit for annual exams in their schools next month. On February 5th we conducted tests to evaluate the children’s progress and what they have learned through and since beginning the program. We decided to make the evaluation process different from the conventional method of writing exams and kept it interactive. We asked Mr. Jitendra Yadav, a Lecturer at District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Gurgaon as a third party evaluator, to conduct the session and visited classes and students of two villages, Durgapur and Bichpuri.

We spent about two hours at each centre interacting with children and asking them to tell us the names of fruits, their spelling and how they taste. The children were also asked to identify certain flowers and what they smell like. The children were even asked to give a flower to the child sitting next them and ask them how it smells. They were asked to name birds, their spelling and to fly like a bird. Some children ran around the classroom with their arms spread like birds in flight. The children were further asked to name animals, spelling those names and make the sound of the animal. Children that made the best animal sounds were awarded with appreciation from all present.

The children were also asked to write some numbers and words dictated by the teacher, in their notebooks and then were asked to write those words and numbers on the black board while the students were asked to check what they have written in their note books and allot marks for the right answers themselves. None of them were below average in results.

The children enjoyed this ‘other’ way of learning and evaluation a lot we were surprised when all the children participated in every exercise enthusiastically. Those who were shying of making sound of animals or to speak in front of the class were asked to stand with us and not to sit till they made the sound of one animal. Children came out and made lots of sounds and noises. I was surprised and very happy to see the very young children aged 3-4 participating very actively and enjoying every minute of it by shouting the most, laughing and smiling with abandon.

We plan to conduct this exercise in all five villages in the coming days and will prepare a final report detailing outcomes of this program at the end of the academic session in March 2017. Overall performance of the students shall be verified against a baseline of their capabilities we established in October and also compared with annual exam results from their school reports.

Though EQ+ is a small program experimenting with 150 children from grade 1 to 5 in five villages, we have realized that the children at government schools are not poor performers. They have proved that they are the good learners and can learn more than their allocated syllabus within 7-8 months. To make the evaluation authentic, we have involved the trainer from government college of teachers training i.e. DIET Gurgaon, a government institution of repute. There were cases of slow learning also but rare in numbers, one at each centre. It is also evident the children’s learning and participation can be improved dramatically by making education fun while engaging them in exercises that relate to concrete objects such as flowers and animals and having the freedom to honk and snort and bark as loud as they like.

We will write a detailed report in end of March and will share the report with the government also to request them to replicate the EQU+ process in all villages of Haryana so that both struggling and the most capable students benefit from this type of remedial education delivered in a fun and engaging way.