E-Teach, started in 2014


The Vision :

To equip children completing their primary education (5th standard) from vernacular schools to have:

  • The ability to cope with further studies in English-medium schools
  • A strong foundation in all other subjects -- through a clear understanding arising from the use of the mother-tongue in their primary education

The purpose of this initiative:

Children from the poor strata, who do not know English, suffer from a big handicap, thinking they are not job-worthy as they do not know the language, and even the cleverest of them have difficulty in getting admission into Colleges.

Although schooling is free for these children, these free / low-cost Municipal, Zilla Parishad, & private vernacular schools, where English is taught as a second language, do not have teachers conversant with English; and the children live in an environment where English is not spoken.

The English E.Teach project is to help vernacular primary schools in Maharashtra to teach English as per the existing prescribed English syllabus (page-by-page), using existing Teachers, in existing free / low-fee schools, to existing students, during the existing English class period.

The prime objective is to empower children from the poor strata who attend such vernacular-medium schools to become job-worthy, and, for the brighter students amongst these, to qualify for pursuit of higher studies.

The secondary objective of this initiative is to save the existing & vast infra-structure and teaching staff of vernacular schools from being annihilated, and to align them with best practices followed by other non-English speaking countries (Germany, Japan, Holland . . . .) , which teach all subjects in the mother-tongue in primary schools, while simultaneously teaching English as a separate stand-alone subject -- thus laying a strong foundation and understanding in each subject.

The vision is to achieve inclusiveness of the vast population of poverty-level children, by improving their ability to compete -- and to do this in a meaningful and affordable way using the vast existing infra-structure.



The path-breaking methodology :

Standardized teaching is achieved through the use of simple and low-cost technology (DVDs displayed on a TV + DVD-player/pen-drive which the Teacher operates with a ‘remote’). The DVDs are custom-made to teach the prescribed Maharashtra Government English syllabus, page by page. These animated, colourful, action-oriented and inter-active DVDs help the Teacher to understand and teach words & phrases. Since they hold the students’s rapt attention they also help the children to grasp and use this alien language in an easy and fun way.

Teaching by this process starts from the foundation stage (1st standard) upwards using simple low-cost & Teacher-friendly technology (TV & DVD-player). The DVDs are designed to teach the syllabus page-by-page, and to encourage the children to inter-act & talk with the Teacher & with themselves.

Progress achieved in the 5 years since the commencement in 2011:


  1. Animated audio-visual DVDs have been custom-made to teach the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th standard prescribed Maharashtra Government’s English syllabus for vernacular schools, page by page of “My English Book”.
  2. Over 10,000 of these DVDs have been distributed free, to the vernacular-medium schools in Mumbai and in several rural Talukas.
  3. Schools have started repairing & using the equipment they had (TV + DVD-player); many others have mobilized resources for purchasing this, while several others use the Computers which they already have.
  4. A team of Facilitators and NGOs have been mobilized for introducing this learning method to the Teachers and motivating them to start using these.
  5. The financial support received from several socially-conscious individuals and Trusts, has made it possible to reach a large number of students and achieve our goals

Academic year Students reached Cost per child
2011 – 12 3,250 Rs.1412/-
2012 – 13 11,758 Rs.248/-
2013 – 14 26,646 Rs.226/-
2014 – 15 56,032 Rs.137/-
2015 – 16 89,950 Rs.211/-(end Sept 2015)

The above has been achieved through frugal management (almost no administrative costs) at a very low cost-per-child.


METHODOLOGY:

For the benefit of Teachers and children in free, vernacular Schools, these DVDs are custom-made for easy learning of the prescribed compulsory English course of the Maharashtra Govt -- “My English Book”.

The content of the prescribed Textbook has been made page-wise, into songs, rhymes, play-acting, etc -- for retaining the attention of the child, and for encouraging the Class to speak, act, sing, dance, etc., so as to enjoy the English Class, & to get rid of the fear of learning this subject.

Children between the age of 4 and 6 are able to learn languages very fast. Hence the DVDs start from Standard I (which can also be used for Pre-primary level) with the intent of progressively teaching these for higher standards.

The DVDs are meant for use in Schools during the normal “period” allocated for teaching English. So there is no additional burden on the Teachers.

The DVDs comprise of small-duration lessons -- to enable repetition, and to encourage the children to participate in each activity. Hence the lesson pertaining to each Page is repeatedly played, letting the children speak / sing independently.

The DVDs can also become “flash cards” which can be used for teaching more English words: counting, naming colours & objects shown on the screen.

Since children do not have a chance of speaking in English at home, it is important that they be encouraged to converse with each other in English in the School.

In the same way as a new-born child first learns to understand simple words and commands, the DVDs start with the use of daily-spoken words and phrases -- the alphabets follow later. The children are encouraged to sing, dance and enjoy the contents.

These DVDs are NOT FOR SALE OR COMMERCIAL USE. They are available ‘free’ for helping the Teachers who are doing the noble job of teaching poor children in free and low-fee schools, to improve the confidence and job opportunities of these students.