We are excited to be launching the Samam Vidya Center for Continuing Education later this year.
A recent job training course that we hosted on our premises for school dropouts included a few students who were too young to work. This experience led us to the reality of early school dropouts who are not old enough to enter the workforce.
Mandatory education ends in India at the age of 14. Struggling students who are disillusioned with school take the first opportunity to drop out at this age. Failing 7th or 8th standard, sometimes even after multiple tries, becomes the trigger to drop out. The middle school curriculum gets increasingly abstract and struggling students hit their ceiling of patience and willpower. Being underage, they are not eligible to work either. Which means that these students are at loose ends and directionless for a few critical years of their life.
These valuable years should not be wasted. These students need to be in a positive sphere of influence during this time. Without guidance and supervision and with idle time on their hands, they are prone to making bad decisions and getting into petty criminal behavior. To avoid such situations, these few years should be used to learn in an informal environment. While they might not like to learn in a formal school environment — with textbooks, syllabus, and exams — a non-threatening informal setup would help them to improve their knowledge and gain important life skills which would be helpful in finding employment and it succeed in life.
Who would be served:
- Students who have dropped out of school
- Students from low socioeconomic groups
- Students with mild to moderate invisible disabilities who can’t succeed in the traditional setup
- First-generation learners who are finding the rigor and pace of traditional school difficult
The program would follow a two-pronged approach — academics and life skills.
Academics: Project-based learning to teach academics — such as basic literacy and numeracy — as opposed to a teacher-centered pencil and paper approach. This is more amenable to disillusioned students of the traditional model. This model could also be used for students with disabilities.
Life skills and everyday vocational skills:
- Time management
- Project management
- Personal finance management
- Body awareness and safety
- Kitchen and fire safety
- Computer skills and cyber safety
- Listening and speaking skills, public speaking and effective communication
- Transition planning — guidance to transition to employment or further study
- Career counseling
Guest teachers, science labs, field trips, art, and yoga would be taught in order to add interest and enrich the learning process. This program will be tailored for each individual student, according to their ability and interests. Small-group teaching will personalize their education and increase the effectiveness of their learning.
Location and start date are still to be determined. If you are interested in learning more, know of a student who would benefit or would like to contribute in some way, please reach out to us and we would love to answer your questions.