Under the VGS 20 initiative, the learning academies will be started in five schools for a group of competitively selected 20 kids. While every child matters, they will be chosen for having different learning ability, motivation, and potential due to their individual environment.
In VGS20, students will be supervised, mentored, and guided in an “after school” program by their teachers for one hour each day. The focus will include communication ability, test-taking skills, and time management leading to holistic development to include intellectual, moral, social, and leadership. The goal is the transformation of learning, even if for a smaller group.
Vidya Gyan will provide necessary resources, monitor progress, and offer advice but VGS 20 will be teacher-directed and student-centered. There will be no charge from the students but every child and his/her parents will be responsible and accountable for the learning. Vidya Gyan will offer a stipend for a 5th grader(preferably girl) as a student mentor every day.
Five rural schools in Saharanpur district (Umahi, Khandlana, Doobhar Kishanpur, Ramkhedi, and Mirjapur Pujneki) were chosen because of an extraordinary (after school) commitment by teachers. The schools have been asked to give higher priority to girls (~75%) among VGS 20 students to emphasize girl’s education. Vidya Gyan underscored that about 2/3rd of the ~one lac/year grant will be used for the greater good for infrastructure and/or instructional tools for the school to honor our commitment to ‘Every Child Matters.’
The VGS 20 were expected to begin in July 2020 when the schools reopen after the summer break. However, the unexpected COVID 19 interrupted all the plans although we have continued discussions via conference/video calls. While there are no firm plans for resuming schools in India (as of July 2020), Vidya Gyan in consultation with VGS 20 team of teachers have agreed to the following:
Proposed major resources for VGS20:
- Steel Cabinet dedicated to VGS20 materials
- Two whiteboards (one with lines)
- One display (cork) board
- After school snack
- Resource books for teachers
- Stipend for student mentor (preferably girl) to assist the teacher
- Stationary resources (notebooks, pencils, pens, binders, etc.)
- Snacks for periodic hosting of VGS20 parents
- Necessary approval to keep schools open beyond normal hours will be initiated as soon as possible.
- Teachers will conduct a test to identify 20 students and formally invite them to be part of VGS 20.
- A couple of schools plan to focus on grades 2 and 3, and another group to include grades 4 and 5. Vidya Gyan has some reservations for the latter but we will proceed.
- VGS20 coordinating teachers will be given funds in cash for day to day expenses with an expectation to maintain an account book. Each school will also record daily attendance and activities while the students will maintain their own folder.
- Periodic conference calls will be scheduled; teachers encouraged to be active on WhatsApp and share ideas/issues.
- Advocacy/request to the district administration for resources such as, (i) the staffing needs at Dubhar Kishanpur and Mirjapur Pujneki, (ii) projector at Khnadlana and Umahi, (iii) consideration for an overall increase in resources and rewards to VGS20 schools