To understand the challenges and the workings of NGOs I decided to connect with one of them. I came in contact with a DISTRICT INSTITUTE which is part of AZIM PREMJI FOUNDATION and operating in TEHRI GARHWAL, a District of UTTARAKHAND.

There I met Mr. Sanjay Semwal, one of the core members of the team in the district Institute. With full of enthusiasm, he described the whole journey. He shared the core idea for which the Foundation works. The idea is to improve the quality of education in Govt Schools all over the country. They want to provide better processes for children by building a solid capacity of teachers at all the levels.

To the Rightmost side is Mr. Sanjay Semwal, standing in the District Institute Library

How the Idea started to take shape

In 2000, Azim Premji felt a need to contribute to a social cause. He had a meeting with his top officials to decide the cause for which they want to work for. After a lot of traveling and surveys, they decided that education system in INDIA is the prominent cause to work for. From his shares of WIPRO, the AZIM PREMJI FOUNDATION was formed.

After forming the foundation in 2001 they built a TECH Platform called Computer Assisted Learning Programme (CALP) for enhancing the learning experience of students in Govt. Schools. The system consisted of subjects which had questions that could be answered by the students only if they had the solid understanding of their subjects. The inspiration was derived from the fact that rather than focusing on understanding the fundamental concepts students do the cramming of the subjects just to pass the examination. With this intention the foundation proposed the solution to various States Govt. and they agreed to use the platform in their schools. For the platform to work, computer labs were required. So finally from there, the computer labs were built in the Govt. schools.

Parallel another initiative was started by the foundation in 2002 called the LEARNING GUARANTEE PROGRAMME(LGP). The concept of the initiative was to involve the parents of the students and provide the yearly assessment of how the children were doing in their learning part. The teachers taught the whole year and partnered with the foundation team for designing the assessment for the students. Both the initiatives ended in 2008 as the student performances were still not up to that mark.

Doing performance analysis, the foundation found out that the teachers were not that capable with their methods of teachings. They reasoned out that Teachers are also from the same education system, where the focus is on cramming up of things and that’s why they can’t deliver the quality education to the students.

From there the formation of district institutes all over the country took place. The purpose of these institutes was to build the teachers capacity so that they can deliver their knowledge in more innovative and interesting way to the students.

How the District Institute is working towards the Improvement

The team first researchers about the school profile and then go to the school with their team. The team than meets the teachers and the administrators and conducts a class to show their ways of teaching. They promote volunteering amongst the teachers to join them and learn more ways to enhance the teaching process. So, in a month they take sessions with the teachers in the evening time where they discuss the methods to opt for the best teaching practices. The team along with the teachers watches educational films to enhance their view towards education. Moreover, they provide various educational books to the teachers.

To teach the govt school teachers, the team at district institutes works hard in sharpening their skills. They spend 7 days in a month on themselves. In that time they study their subjects and discusses their subjects with various district institutes.

The district Institute has a big library of books on various subjects. They have a computer lab where they carry out all the research and planning work and a big discussion room where all the brainstorming is done to make things better in the teaching processes.

The team discusses with teachers to know how they have been doing the work that they have been assigned. They do that over phones and in the discussion groups. The supervisor keeps the track of how the teachers are performing.

A Challenge in Front of the Institute

One of the challenges that are there is the lack of HUMAN  RESOURCES. They take 100000 interviews per year and the success rate is only 1%. There are 2 reasons for this.

  • First is that the people who are applying for the jobs don’t have the necessary skills.
  • The other is that the people who have the skills are not socially inclined towards a cause. They just want the job for the sake of it

The fight for improving the education system in the country is a long one. The foundation is in a continuous process of building their muscles in every district of the country.

Technology can surely play a big part in removing lot of hassles that Non-profit nowadays face. District Institutes can use Baseline Surveys of ManageMyNgo for tracking the schools progress. To know More about Baseline Surveys.

Non-Profits time that should be spent on the cause shouldn’t get divided into non-core activities. Activities like getting involved in a lot of paperwork, tracking so many excel sheets and many more. If you are an NGO and facing challenges in your day to day workings, feel free to contact me anytime at Available 24/7/365 🙂