Supported by: Wipro
Organization’s Vision, Mission and Strategy
Shiksharth is a not-for-profit educational initiative designing and implementing contextualized positive childhood experiences for children from spaces of conflict and adversity by strengthening pedagogy, systems, and community in an integrated approach.
Currently, the initiative is based out of Sukma, Chhattisgarh in Central India which is a region suffering from 4 decades of armed conflict because of left-wing extremism.
As part of the initiative 480 schools and 20000+ children in the Bastar region are supported with volunteers, learning materials, and school improvement support.
The vision statement of Shiksharth – is ‘Positive childhood experiences for every child irrespective of any adversity and conflict.’
Shiksharth has been working in Sukma since 2015 with the proximity of problems in an immersive mode. Among various pressing issues, we decided to get engaged with fundamental educative challenges in tribal areas i.e., the difference between – the medium of instruction (Hindi) in school and children’s mother tongue and authorized state curriculum, content, and context of children while we also address the issue of safe spaces for children who are traumatized by the ongoing violence in their daily lives.
Shiksharth at the core believes in a community-led model of education and is currently working on ways by which the community, its wisdom, culture, and customs can be contextually incorporated into classroom content and pedagogy.
The mission statement of Shiksharth – By 2028, Shiksharth will enable access to positive childhood experiences for 1 million children coming from spaces of conflict and adverse geographies.
The strategy/model of Shiksharth:.
Personalized Learning Solutions (Subject Lab) is considered a platter of in-house designed, and existing, learning solutions for rural and tribal schools. The program intends to provide contextually relevant learning solutions for children that can enable them to be independent learners by integrating socio-cultural elements into the curriculum and developing pedagogical approaches that provide for differentiation.
The subject lab is a breakthrough pedagogical solution that replaces the idea of classrooms in schools and introduces subject rooms that are in alignment with 21st-century skills and bring in contextually relevant teaching-learning opportunities to enable self-paced and self-designed learning that caters to different learning styles for a child in an elementary classroom with multi-grade, multi-level and multi-lingual diversity. Enhancing learning outcomes and creating community involvement tools in improving the education standards and quality in the region.
As part of our effort towards providing contextually relevant learning solutions, we have developed multiple solutions and seen their impact on learning outcomes and improvement in the attendance of children. Most of these solutions have been tried as independent solutions in isolation and have led to better outcomes for children and now we are at a stage where we intend to converge and bring a consortium in place converging all these as one common solution offering a platter of opportunities for children to learn in a style that suits their pace and style.
We are calling it ‘Personalized Learning Solutions’ and implementing it as ‘SUBJECT LABS’ in primary schools.
How the program is being implemented:
- Developing personalized learning opportunities for students and addressing the issue of ‘multi-grade and multi-level’ classrooms
- Developing physical and socio-emotional safe spaces for children to learn
- Improving the learning outcomes of children in terms of ‘foundational literacy and numeracy’ (FLN) and grade-level competencies in the classrooms
- Developing technology-integrated blended learning model classrooms in the schools
- Developing skills and mindsets along with providing access and exposure to better learning opportunities for children
- Developing parent and community engagement and awareness towards the learning of children
- Developing school environment and structures along with teacher capacity building
- Enabling technology-integrated learning modules through ‘feature phones’ for students and teachers
- Developing multilingual stories and resources for children in their local language.
Impact through the program:
- The children have started learning through their age-specific and learning level-specific differentiated learning content aligned with the state curriculum and content.
- The pedagogy has been tweaked to meet the sociocultural and contextual needs of the children.
- Improved learning outcomes in children in Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as per the initial insights from assessments.
- Children have started learning in a conducive environment for their learning reflecting in their improved engagement and attendance in classrooms.
- Children have started taking ownership of creating print-rich classrooms.
- Increased attendance of children in class
- The parents’ attendance at the school gatherings has increased compared to previous years. We are looking ahead to measure the quantitative betterment in the learning levels of children through the parent’s increased involvement.
- The community is becoming aware of the learning progress among children.
Challenges and Learning:
- Reaching out to parents and the community. The parent and community involvement in the learning sphere of children have still been in progress for us as the community youth are undergoing rigorous teacher professional development programs and capacity building on the path to working out their approaches in the classroom space till now. The advent of venturing into the community has to be planned for the coming years.
- The up-skilling and effective implementation by the community youth is taking a considerable amount of time and has to be strengthened with more efficient and effective processes.
- The year has been very fruitful in terms of learning program design and documentation along with some partner organizations. The onus now lies with the effective implementation from the coming years.
- The pilot of the ‘subject lab’ had to be fragmented in the last year because of a lack of human resources in the organization. The next year looks hopeful with a considerable number of human resources and seems to be promising.
Plans for the next 1-3 years
|Personalized learning solutions
- The pilot of the physical subject lab spaces in 5 schools through action researchers.
- Adoption of the monitoring and evaluation framework developed and incorporating necessary tools and mechanisms required.
- Development of all necessary resources -content curation like vocabulary books, thematic books, story books, coloring books, and comic books.
- Finalize and roll out the program design documentation and set the processes for the program like Standard operating procedures (SOP)
- Develop partnerships with potential ecosystem partners and scale the products ahead.
- research on positive childhood experiences has begun in the current year and will be taken ahead with more topics covered in the upcoming year.
- the parent engagement tool will be developed
|Children, partner organizations, parents, community, and Teachers
|Menstrual Hygiene and Management (MHM)
- Menstrual Hygiene and Management MHM workshops in residential and day-boarding schools of Sukma.
- Period Positive Framework for residential schools in tribal region to be developed and piloted in the residential schools of Sukma.
- Scaling the Period Positive Framework in residential schools with partnerships
|Children and community
- Workshops would be intensified, and the program design and documentation would be taken up in the year.
- Partnerships would be leveraged, and the science park would be strengthened with more processes and equipment with the support from the district administration.
- Creation of a STEM Park using local materials and resources in each of the communities that we work in.
|Children, teachers, and administration
|Ecology Curriculum and Nature School
- GUPPA, the ecology curriculum would be studied and researched, and a formal need analysis would be conducted in the year.
- The curriculum and the module would be launched and piloted in the schools.
|Children, teachers, and community
|Parent Engagement Tool
- Ethnographic research to be conducted with 500 families.
- Framework of Parent engagement Tool to be curated leveraging the primary research with the families.
- Piloting the Framework in 20 schools
|Communications and outreach
- The communications strategy has been thought out this year, and the communications calendar will be prepared, and the outreach activities will begin in the upcoming year.
|Partners, donors, children, ecosystem
- Conducting capacity-building workshops with teachers of the Bijapur district. The partnership with the district administration for content sharing.
- Looking forward to the collective of organizations that can leverage the scope for bringing the organizations working in the adverse and conflict geographies from the ecosystem
|partner organizations, administration
|Capacity building in the organization
- Leadership development
- organization management
- people management
- teacher professional development
- pedagogy and curriculum
- Integration of technology into education (ICT)
- personal management
- systems thinking and critical thinking
|Team members, teachers, and partner organizations
|Shiksharth’s function as a knowledge csenter focusing on tribal and rural areas.
- Documenting the experiences of working in conflict and adverse geography
- Creating online/experiential courses for the sharing of learnings and findings with the external audience on the following but not limited to:
- How to integrate multilingual education in your curriculum
- How to contextualize your curriculum
- Personalized learning solutions
- Verbal pedagogy, etc.