Helping govt schoolkids to speak English

Helping govt schoolkids to speak English

Explaining how the project works, ILID's director Dr Jayaram, says, "Pygmalion is a software that enables the students to speak English fluently via audio-visual games. We start by giving a two-day training programme to teachers, as it will help them to guide the students better. We also donate used computers to these schools by collecting them from various IT firms." The project, which started out with five government-run schools in Mysore taluk, three years back, has now been expanded to 250 schools across the State. Out of these, 100 are being actively monitored. Bangalore has 60 schools, which are implementing Pygmalion in their curriculum. Currently, the project is structured for students from Class 5 to Class 10 with four periods each week dedicated to it.

"We would have liked to implement it in the primary section too, but for the government policy, which doesn't allow English to be taught from Class 1 to Class 5,” he adds.

According to Jayanthi, one of the teachers from government-run schools, "Our students are not exposed to speaking or listening to English a lot. But the students are now interested in learning the language and are enthusiastic about it."

What prompted Dr Jayaram to start this initiative was when he received the 'thank you' letters from students for a scholarships funded by him and an NGO, three years back.

"Several merit students, wrote letters in Kannada. Those who wrote in English had used atrocious language," he recalls. 

Interestingly, the NGO is being funded by a US-based organisation called the Global Fund for Children. "Although the project is free of cost, we hope that the State government will take over this project and replicate it in all the government schools in State."

Speaking about one of the first schools where the project was executed, Dr Jayaram says, "Within six months of starting the project in a government-run school in Kudremala village near Mysore, the students were reciting poems and speeches. It was wonderful," says Dr Jayaram, who feels that if kids are taught basic English at an early stage, it will help them get a foothold in their career later. The NGO is also conceptualising curriculum for regions, where computers cannot be operated.

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