The first dimension of our Jharkhand Program focuses on the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. Avanti Fellows in partnership with Tata Trusts has expanded to 2 additional Navodaya centers in Jharkhand to the total of 7 centers. Typical beneficiaries of this program are from lower-middle-class backgrounds. The bright students from these backgrounds choose to study in JNVs due to the high-quality teaching at no cost. Though the teachers are good at teaching CBSE, they are not trained to teach for competitive exams, due to this, Avanti’s low-cost program is helpful to prepare these bright students to perform well in competitive exams like JEE Mains and JEE Advance. Based on the encouraging past year results, along with the continuation of 5 schools in the state of Karnataka, Avanti is adding 2 additional schools in the state of Jharkhand thereby increasing the schools to 7 and the beneficiaries to 540.
The second dimension of our work in Jharkhand aims at Hindi Content Creation that caters to a very broad pool of students from Hindi speaking (medium of instruction) geographies. 49 percent students in India are studying in Hindi-medium schools. The Hindi language still continues to be the prime medium of instruction in schools across India. There are only 17 percent students studying in English-medium schools. The combined percentage for other languages is around 33 per cent. However, good quality of Hindi content productively consumed by students and easy to be used by teachers is difficult to find.
Although NCERT and SCERT (of different states) provide academic materials in Hindi, most students in the government school systems across the country do not have access to good quality content in Hindi which could enable students to be appropriately prepared for competitive examinations. Most competitive examinations demand proper direction, clarity of concepts through efficient and enjoyable methodology and consistent and rigorous practice. NCERT books which are still a large scale good content available to students does not have adequate reach. Moreover, the typical method of delivery does not ensure preparedness of students for competitive examinations. Students, therefore, end up in:
- → Dropping out of schools, stop further education,
- → Migrating to nearby towns where they study in a medium they are not used to (English),
- → Opting out of a career in science.
Thus, there is an urgent need for high-quality usable content for large Hindi speaking belt of India (particularly rural). Avanti, over the years, has developed the capability to deliver high quality video lectures and interactive content to students that are:
- → Well placed to benefit from technology and yet not overly dependent on internet bandwidth issues commonly witnessed in the rural area.
- → It places a high emphasis on self-learning and collaborative learning to break the cycle of rote learning and regurgitation and
- → Help students improve their critical thinking and problem-solving faculties.
To begin with, Avanti plans to create content for grade IX to grade XII to be consumed by Tata Trusts focused geographies and eventually be available as open source for benefit of a larger student population.
The third dimension of our work in Jharkhand caters to Education Development. Avanti plans to synergies the efforts of CInI by building Math and Science capability in students with teacher training/capacity building and helping bright students get admission to better engineering colleges.
In January 2018, Avanti Fellows conducted a survey in CInI affiliated schools in Khunti for checking the feasibility of Avanti® program in schools. Lack of student awareness was one of the key highlights of the observations. Most interactions with the students revealed that their aspirations are limited to their observations – mostly government jobs. Thus, even the bright students of Khunti do not get admitted to the top engineering colleges of the country. Thereby calling for better awareness and high-quality programs in math and science. This also implies the immediate need to create a capacity building of teachers who should be provided with high-quality pedagogy & content. As part of the holistic effort, it is important to simultaneously target bright students for admission in top colleges of India. The need also calls for proper training, monitoring, and evaluation and student counseling system. Avanti plans to do this by:
- → Training 38 teachers with help of a master trainer from Avanti by establishing concrete feedback and monitoring system.
- → Providing high-quality content created by Avanti® which is convenient for teachers and students.
- → The number of students who would benefit in year 1 would be 300-400 (from IX to XII grades).
This multi-pronged effort by Avanti Fellows is a robust model for education enhancement in secondary and higher secondary school education in math and science. In year 1, the program is likely to cater to around 900 students directly and thousands of students indirectly.