Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ban on English in Bangalore Schools

More than 100,000 English-speaking children in India’s information technology capital of Bangalore will soon have to switch to schools offering lessons exclusively in a Dravidian regional language, following a crackdown on more than 2,000 English-medium institutions in the state of Karnataka, reports the Financial Times in this news article.

The state government’s promise on Monday to enforce a widely flouted 1994 language policy requiring compulsory Kannada-medium education in primary schools reflects resentment at the influx of relatively wealthy English-speaking IT workers into Bangalore.

The crackdown has seen 800 schools stripped of their status and a further 1,500 face closure, according to an education department official.

This is definitely a backward step taken by the government. Hopefully a public debate will follow and oppose this move. Read the full article.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Perot, chalghatta & mummies

Chalghatta school, a nice looking govt. primary school with a small ground interspersed with Ashoka trees. The school houses 200 prince/princess. They really own this school, they make such ruckus, that some new volunteers go back home to terrible headaches (takes some getting used to, you see).

The school has a fundu HM Mrs Mary Angela (left most), a superb PR lady. And, another teacher Bhuvaneshwari, whoz fast becoming my favourite (rightmost lady). Bhuvaneshwari is real good at culturals, no wonder, we had so many children vying to sing/dance & perform.

Ha...oh..3 similar shots....lots of back light, so only this angle permitted decent shots. Hey, who are these lovely ladies ??? They are singing 'Hum honge kamyaab ek din'......well, Ladies & Gentlemen, Sep 2nd 06, over 20 employees from Perot systems dropped into interact with our kids. To keep matters simple, the 1st to 5th kids were let off at their usual closing time, and we continued interacting with the 6th & 7th. Amit, hardcore DSF volunteer, also happens to be a Perot, and so it worked cool for both parties ;-)

Event A was collage making. 8 teams with volunteers thrown in, and 30 minutes. The teams took on this with all seriousness, with volunteers majorly guiding them. And, soon we saw some lovely stuff.

Event B was to mummify.....yeah...seriously, take a kid and mummify....for bizzare reasons only girls got choosen....and turned out to be real fun.

Shot of the day.

The kids were all real excited by now....and the volunteers strongly identified themselves with their teams & kids. I guess, the event had achieved its purpose.

Yes, kids got a double-decker box with pencils/scale etc and nice snacks/Icecream.

Perot systems is also sponsoring a LifeSkills session here at the school for the 6th/7th on weekdays, conducted by Mrs Sadhna. A nice corporate-NGO partnership.

We still need people for the bread & butter stuff, my kids are pathetic when it comes to reading English. And Math ? not far either. So, if volunteering & making a difference at the primary level appeals to you, join us.

Friday, September 01, 2006

I-Day at Bellur Nagasandra School

After leaving school, this was the first time I celebrated I-Day. The functions began (as usual) with the preparations & lots of music. This was followed by a very unusual puja of Gandhiji's picture and of the flag post, followed by some very moving speeches by those present. Many of the villagers who have been involved in the school improvement committee as well as those who have been contributing to the school were present. Flag hoisting and the national anthem were next on the agenda and these were followed by distribution of sweets & pencils / erasers to all and geometry boxes for the 5th std.

Maybe going forward, we should work towards having the children more involved in these activities by teaching them some patriotic songs etc. Akash, lets try to target this for 26th Jan.. :)