The low standards of education are in part caused by the fact that there are not enough teachers appointed which means the ratio of teachers to students is very low. Despite low numbers of teachers the schools are required to complete the syllabus set by the government. A further problem is that the teachers are not able to give special attention to the children who are under achieving academically. The academic environment provided by the school therefore does not inspire or engender an interest in learning.
If the school was able achieve the necessary academic improvement there would be no need for supplementary programs. It is clear that the children in these communities are in need of additional educational opportunities.
Unfortunately there are few opportunities for tutoring and reinforcement of school learning. Some parents who are committed to their children’s education, and can afford it, are paying for evening tuition classes. However most parents cannot afford this expense and their children are disadvantaged further.
Typically in urban communities children’s education is monitored constantly and they are tutored by their parents in the evenings. Unfortunately in rural communities such as Kaddapakam and Alamperai, 90 % of the parents are illiterate and are therefore unable to monitor and tutor their children.
For primary level children the focus is on improving literacy skills. In a survey of failed 10th Standard students, there was a reported lack of concentration on English as a subject. The students said it was a struggle to remain interested in such a difficult subject. To avoid these problems, 10th Standard children are given extra tutoring in English. This programme has helped the children to return to the mainstream.
The number of students progressing to SSLC and Higher Secondary level was very low, however after TEWFI’s efforts to reduce drop out rates during the middle school began there have been some improvements in these rates. In the academic year (2009-2010), more than 30 children are studying at 10th Standard level. The number of girls in that group is equal to the number of boys. TEWFI is also delighted that, for the first time, five female students from the targeted communities are receiving a higher secondary education.
It is the first time that 5 girls from the fishing villages obtained 12th Std education. They are all very confident in all the subjects except English. They have approached the Social Worker at TEWFI to coach them in English. Our Social Worker provided that assistance and taught them the English Subject Syllabus. As a result they became more confident and all of them passed and they are now graduating from the Universities where distance Education is offered.
A boy who was from the fishing community and who has been coming regularly to all the programmes offered by TEWFI – such as Life Skill’s Education, the English Class programme, ICT education, basic computer classes etc – has obtained 2nd place in the school in 10th Std public exam. This is the first time a boy from the fishing community of Alamparai has achieved above 400 marks. The boy was rewarded for his achievements by our Foundation. This has happened as a result of the efforts and intervention of TEWFI in improving the standard of education in the local area.
A proposal to extend this project to all the communities in Edaikazhinadu Panchayat is under preparation.