A Montessori offer to revive govt schools

A Montessori offer to revive govt schools

Destined for decay and perennial neglect, can government schools be turned around with infusion of new age learning techniques?

Potentially yes, if the state government allows an Indian Montessori Centre (IMC) proposal to introduce the unique child-centric learning method in five Kannada-medium schools as a pilot in Bengaluru.

Despite repeated attempts over the last several years, the government showed no interest in the project. Undeterred, IMC has resubmitted its offer yet again: The centre is ready to train teachers in five to 10 pre-primary schools at no cost, and eventually extend the scheme to all schools.

In a letter to state Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait, IMC has urged that the state nominate teachers to the training programme. “Approve 10 primary schools to follow the Montessori method of education under the mentorship of IMC, duly following all the aspects as per the government requirement,” the letter said.

IMC’s objective

The objective of the IMC’s offer is this: “To ensure that children don’t drop out of government schools, which have good infrastructure. Parents take them out and try to admit them in private schools through the Right To Education route. But often, children find it tough to adjust. It is often a huge culture shock for them,” explains IMC’s Karnataka chapter chairman, Sumathi Ravindranath.

Government school students in the age group of 4-6 years can be targeted first. The next stage could cover those in the 6-12 years age group. “The entire process can be done in Kannada medium,” Sumathi informs.

IMC’s research had found that government schools had adequate infrastructure and classrooms. She elaborates, “The teachers too are very bright. But they need training, a bit of hand-holding to feel motivated. Today, the students are just not there. Dropout rate is high.”

Similar experiment

Eight years ago, a similar experiment by IMC in 18 Chennai corporation schools had achieved a turnaround for these institutions, recalls Sumathi.

“The children there were mostly first generation literates, without any support from the home. Our three-year pilot project was a success. That can be easily replicated here.”

IMC had sent its proposal to seven education ministers in the past.

Most of them had either asked the Centre to route it through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and were plain indifferent. IMC is hopeful that this year, the response could be different.

The Montessori method of education is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.

DH News Service

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