Ekal is a beacon of hope
Tata Dhan Academy, Madurai, under the guidance of Prof DVR Seshadri, adjunct faculty of IIM Bangalore, recently conducted a study on social impact of the Ekal Vidyalaya movement. The study team visited 508 villages of eight states including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. The outcome of the study is based on the conduct and behaviour of the children, discipline they manifested, neatness with which they dressed and most importantly the hope that was witnessed among the children studying in these schools.
The outcome of the study reveals that the Ekal movement resulted in the reduction of the number of out-of-school children in the villages where it operates. There are also positive changes in the discipline of the children going to the Ekal schools. The Ekal movement deliberately chose to locate its schools in the villages which are backward in terms of key socio-economic indicators.
The study says that the Ekal seeks to impart moral and value education to children studying in its schools. The effect has also rubbed off on parents and larger village communities. This aspect of Ekal is particularly important when viewed from the fact that with the fast pace of growth in India, people in the country are gradually moving away from their customs and traditional values, and are embracing increasing individualism and materialism. Apart from it the reading, writing and arithmetic skills of the Ekal children improved significantly. The pedagogy used includes games, story telling and singing songs. The study also found that the Ekal students pick-up concepts very quickly. They have improved comprehension, enhanced memory power and better general knowledge.
The study noticed that the increasing number of parents are sending their daughters to the schools and the Ekal teachers have a very important role in motivating the children and their family members. The Ekal has a significant role in imparting in children, good habits, discipline, education, general knowledge, inculcating pride for the country, enhancing patriotism and acquiring extra-curricular skills.
Meanwhile the IIM Bangalore also organised a one day seminar on May 2 on the topic, “Inclusive Education and Bridging the Widening Societal Disparities” (Impact of Ekal Vidyalaya Movement).
Started in 1989, the Ekal movement has today revolutionised the educational concept in Vanvasi areas of the country. It is the largest grass roots, non-governmental education movement in India, operating in 38,111 villages. About 38,000 single-teacher Ekal schools are educating over 10,76,421 children in rural India.
The Ekal movement is committed to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and Vanvasi India. It has 7,000 voluntary workers, 22 field organisations (one field organisation in each of the 22 Indian states where it is active), and 8 support agencies. With this tremendous human force, the Ekal Vidyalaya movement strives to create a network of non-formal schools that will educate and empower children in rural and Vanvasi India. A unique feature of the Ekal is that the teacher is from the same village where the school is located. (FOC)