Shifting towards educational equality
IB 11 students, Devesh Bag and Aatif Akbar, have been volunteering with Teach for India for the last 5 months and have been actively contributing to an important social cause.
Here is what they have to say about their journey with Teach For India:
We volunteer for Teach For India, an organization that aims to build a broad people’s movement for educational equity, assisting millions of children across India in realizing their potential despite disadvantaged socio-economic circumstances. In line with TFI’s goals, our work involves interacting with children at madrasas across the city, helping them attain spoken and written fluency in English and mastery of essential concepts of Math.
While madrasas offer a safe learning environment to children who often face strenuous relationships at home, the education that madrasas currently impart puts children at a disadvantage to their peers. Teach For India has partnered with many madrasas in Hyderabad to provide basic English literacy and arithmetic courses, in an effort to level the playing field for students at madrassas.
In our first class, we taught the children how to introduce themselves in English. At first, they were apprehensive in expressing themselves, but by the end of the lesson, they became comfortable around us. When asked about what they wanted to be when they grew up, almost every student answered “ulama” (Islamic scholar) — the career they were presented with their entire lives. Many were unaware of other professions, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t curious about the world outside Islam. Through English and Math lessons, the children at the madrasa would be able to consume media and open themselves to a world of endless possibilities.
The team of volunteers at TFI is a group of various contrasting personalities – some of the volunteers are teachers themselves, some are doctors, some are scientists, and two are high school students. Such a range of people in a group has influenced the project quite well. The team of volunteers is quite open to changes and unconventional ideas. Working with such a diverse group in conjunction with the Islamic scholars of the city has opened a new world for us too.
As a volunteer in Teach For India’s Madrasa program, we understand the importance of education as a vehicle for socio-economic progress, and a prerequisite to a happy, fulfilling life. We believe nobody should be deprived of access to such a powerful tool, which is our main motivation in joining TFI; by providing engaging English and Maths lessons, we want to do our part in creating a more equal society.
Contributed by Devesh Bag and Aatif Akbar of IB 11
If you wish to volunteer, do check out Teach For India’s website. Their Applications for 2020-22 Fellowship are now open!