Communities unite to help the students

Multiple local communities and organisations in Bengaluru have taken it upon themselves to help government schools

A government school on Bannerghatta Road. Pic: Arindam D S

Government schools in Bengaluru have been facing a faculty shortage for a while now. Many communities and organizations are coming up that want to support these government schools and help the society grow.

Anupama H, started a volunteering drive in Malleshwaram, almost by accident. She had gone for a garbage workshop where the teachers conveyed that the school didn’t have enough teachers. She had a Facebook group of  Malleshwaram residents, and she decided to contact them, and see if anybody was available. Surprisingly, the response was phenomenal.

“We had so many volunteers, some even over-qualified” says Anupama. This facebook group has developed into a community of concerned citizens, coming together to help these students and their schools.

But youngsters aren’t the only one who are participating in this noble activity. Dr Parthiv, 62, is a regular volunteer at a government school based in Bannerghatta Road. He says “I retired from lecturing years ago. But I love teaching these innocent students; it gives me a sense of satisfaction.” He used to be a physics professor, but now enjoys teaching basic mathematics from 4th to 10th graders.

Apart from self made communities who volunteer in government schools , a few organisations have also come up to support the cause. One Billion Literates Foundation (OBLF) was founded  five years ago, and they focus on teaching English to deprived kids.

OBLF works with schools in Kaikondalahalli, Kasavanahallli and Haralu. Since it can only reach a few places at once, OBLF also employs a few “coordinators” from rural areas, who learn from the volunteers and pass on their knowledge to the people of their specific region. This allows for a more dynamic model of learning.

This organization also allows students from diverse backgrounds to learn together. They teach everyone at a pace they are comfortable with. They teach them word by word, hence anybody can learn.

Jayashree, a volunteer at OBLF, says, “our intention is to teach English to more and more children, so that they can develop further. We understand that a few kids have no background in the language, that’s why our syllabus is very different to the prescribed course. We teach children at a slow pace; we bridge the gap.”