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The Work at REWARD

It is more urgent than ever to support a system that enables equitable access to quality education for every single child, regardless of his or her parents’ socio-economic status, caste, class. A headlong rush to privatization of education leads to a tiered education system where those with money get better access to better quality education, and those without money languish without opportunities. It leads to a system where the playing field is not level and inequality begets inequality generation after generation. If India’s economy has to grow, we need citizens who are aware, articulate, creative, and problem solvers. No country has achieved sustained economic growth without free education for all, from the United States to Singapore.
It is with the goal of working with children in government schools that Asha works with REWARD trust. REWARD’s model is simple – they add additional teachers in government schools. They hire teachers, appoint them to schools, and work with them throughout the year. They use three criteria to decide whether to work with a school:

(1) Teacher-student ratio lower than 1:40
(2) Lack of at least one teacher per class or section
(3) Lack of specific subject teachers.

REWARD now works with nearly 70 teachers in 40 government schools in primary, and, upper primary, and high schools in villages in Kancheepuram district.

Our impact

Additional teachers improve the teacher student ratio and that is always helpful. Then there is the SMART test for students in classes VI, VII, and VIII that REWARD conducts to help students think beyond the standard questions and answers in the text book. Results in this test have been steadily improving. Students take great pride when a student in their school gets the highest marks in the SMART test in the area. At the primary school level the focus in improving reading and writing skills, the foundation for learning afterwards.

We are beginning to see the results of students graduating from the school and going on to college.

Asha’s focus is typically on the students. A clear side effect of REWARD’s work is the impact on the teachers it has hired. They are usually college graduates from the villages, who have attended poor quality institutions, and because of that their grasp of content is usually low. Under REWARD’s mentoring they have blossomed into individuals who improve their knowledge and love their work.
After seeing the positive impact of REWARD’s work in the schools in their villages, the community engagement with schools has grown tremendously. They take pride and ownership in their school and help with resources were possible and in numerous other small ways.