Bengaluru: Ever wondered why government schools are not preferred over private institutions by parents for their children? If you thought lack of proper infrastructure was the main reason, the findings of Indian Montessori Centre Karnataka Chapter (IMCK) will prove you wrong.
“The geographic placement of most of the government schools is excellent in terms of access. Even close to busiest areas of the city, government-run schools are not cramped like their private counterparts at the same areas. With spacious classrooms and attached playgrounds within the campus, such schools always have an upper hand over the latter,” said Sumathi Ravindranath, chairperson, IMCK. The major area of improvement is the method of teaching, unchanged for decades, says IMCK.
According to Ravindranath, children from poor financial backgrounds make it to private school rolls through Right To Education (RTE) Act, but struggle to cope with the culture followed by the upper-middle class students. “It’s high time the teaching methods evolved from the chalk and talk method to a hands-on approach as these students tend to be first-generation literates,” she said. While daily wagers make a big share of parents who admit their children to government schools, free mid-day meals act as a major proponent of enrolment over actual learning, she said.
IMCK concludes that offering meaningful learning will interest children to attend classes regularly, minimising chances of dropping out. “Children, mostly of construction workers, have settled in well with the student-centric approach provided at the school and the interest they show even to attend classes during weekends is something exemplary,” said Renuka, a teacher at Madhurya, a school run at Bannerghatta close to a dysfunctional government pre-school.
The positive change observed has encouraged IMCK to approach Primary and Secondary Education Minister Tanveer Sait to propose a plan for 10 city government schools. “The same project implemented in 30 schools in Chennai has contributed to the dropout ratio going down with immediate effect,” claims IMCK.
Nearly 300 Montessori-trained teachers complete training from four training centres located in the city per year and are placed in private schools. “Such teachers have already expressed interest to volunteer for the initiative, along with the 25-member core team which would lead the project to provide free Montessori training to government school teachers,” Ms Ravindranath said....