Vidyodaya Nursery & Primary School – a MODEL SCHOOL
Vidyodaya school has been the turning point of the education programme with the adivasi community seeing for themselves that their children were able to do as well as any other child. It has been a source of inspiration to many people not just the community here. Even amongst the schools in the town of Gudalur they are now welcoming the children who finish from here. This is a major achievement.
The methodology, curriculum and the entire system of managing the school has been different providing an atmosphere of freedom with discipline, joy with industry, learning with caring. Setting aside of time specifically for handwork, project work where they are exposed to various vocations and skills, saving money that issued for their school needs, have all been innovative and important aspects of the school which has made an impact on the alternative education scenario in the country.
- The school has evolved as an adivasi school with incorporation of adivasi history, culture, songs and stories into the school’s curriculum. Children are encouraged to speak their languages and teachers also take the trouble to learn atleast one of their languages. Adivasi elders and leaders are also asked to make presentations about their lives and their understanding of life. It has brought out publications in the Paniya language of a primer and book of stories and songs.
- The school has a non-competitive and cooperative approach which goes well with the ethos of the adivasis
- Teacher-student ratio being around 1:10 helps children get individual attention and improve academically.
- As Teachers in the pre-primary and early section are adivasis who can speak their language, children are able to interact freely and happily.
- The school has a group system rather than a class system allowing for the mobility among children depending upon their levels. Children are assessed every quarter and changes in group structures are made.
- Parents, community members and elders being present in the school to observe or teach about their cultural forms has helped tremendously in boosting the self-image of the children
- Co-curricular activities particularly handicrafts is given equal importance.
- Children are now vocal and have developed tremendous self-confidence.
- A positive and close relationship with parents has also helped to instil confidence and ownership. All major decisions are taken in consultation with them.
- The Children’s Bank in the savings of the children in the school has grown from a mere 3000/- a year to around 12,000/- a year.
- A major achievement of the school has been the transfer of management of the school to the team of the Teachers led by Shanthi and Janaki. Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust has members from the community and so the school is now an institution owned and run by the adivasis.
- The school has been the base for providing in-service training to teacher trainees in multi-grade teaching techniques. Besides it has been a source of developing and providing teaching/learning aids.