With the expanding divide between quality of education in rural and urban landscapes, a deepening disparity in focus and attention on rural children, CCD decided to intervene in rural education. Having worked for the first ten years in rural women’s economic empowerment and the next ten years in agricultural produce marketing issues among rural farming communities, CCD has chosen to engage with the rural children to empower them educationally. Its focus in the coming decade will be on “Transforming Rural Education for Empowerment”
If we want to make education engaging and relevant for the students, facilitating learning beyond the classrooms is of paramount importance. It is very crucial for the children to be well aware of the world around them. This will also help them understand the concepts practically. At the same time, rural children need to be enabled with advanced technologies, especially digital knowledge so that they are not left far behind. Also, in the digitally growing world, it is very important for every child to be aware of scientific and technological advancements. With this perspective, CCD has launched “Ananda Sirargal Iyakkam”, a Movement of Joyful Childhood.
CCD has designed this educational intervention on the foundation of certain non-negotiable principles. It is guided by its vision of ‘Life in understanding and harmony with nature’ and building institutions around traditional wisdom to face emerging challenges of the disadvantaged communities. The principles guiding it are:
The Village Learning Centres (VLCs), also known as Ananda Siraargal Mayyam (ASM), are remedial education centres promoted at the village level and run by a locally identified learning facilitators (Community Teachers). Each Centre is functioning in a common community infrastructure provided by the village community. Children are enrolled from the neighbouring villages around the Ananda Siraargal Mayyam and managed by the community teachers.
The Way Forward
CCD has established Village Learning Centres (VLCs) in 40 Panchayats located in Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu. These villages are spread over 15 kilometres radius from Sevaiyur, where CCD has established Community Resource Centre. Experiences thus gained from this District, similar educational initiatives are being established in other districts of Tamil Nadu such as Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Sivagangai, Tuticorin, Nagapattinam, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari, where CCD has been working with the women, small and marginal farmers.
CCD provides technical resource support to Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD), which has initiated community development activities in the village Panchayats around the production facility of Tata Chemicals Limited in Mambattu, Tada Mandal in SPSR Nellore District, Andhra Pradesh. CCD trains and provides technical guidance to local volunteers, who are running Village Learning Centres (VLCs) established in the remote villages in these districts. These volunteers work with the children and adolescent girls in the villages by way of providing remedial education, influencing their knowledge, attitude, practice with respect to health, sanitation and hygiene.
The Covenant Centre for Development
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