With the pandemic slowing down across the country, children across the nation are returning to schools. In Arunachal Pradesh too, schools are slowly reopening, but several students needed remedial classes before starting regular classes. To address the same, before the schools reopened in Arunachal Pradesh, over 7,000 children from Class 1 to 5 in over 260 villages in Changlang district attended remedial classes provided by qualified community volunteers appointed under the Changlang district administration’s school readiness programme: The School Preparation Month.

The assessment results of the school-readiness programme showed that the learning levels of children improved significantly. The results of Mathematics for classes 1 to 3 show that 89.83% of children can now count numbers up to 100 as against 47.07 %- an increase of 42.76% from the baseline; 78.89% of children could now solve simple addition as against 44%- an increase of 34.22 % from the baseline.

For English, 85.31% of children could now read simple sentences and comprehend simple questions based on the text as against 27.04% in the baseline-a sharp increase of 58.27% from the baseline to the endline.

For classes 4 and 5, the endline results for Mathematics show that 87.78% could solve simple subtraction as against 66.6% in the baseline. In contrast to English for classes 4-5, there is an increase of 39.69% of students who could now write simple sentences using given words from the baseline to the endline. Only 47.36% of children were able to read simple sentences with comprehension and could answer questions based on the text before August 2021. After two months, the figure increased to 85.31%.

With schools now reopened, these children are now attending regular schools and clearly, are much better off as they are skill and school ready as evident from the endline results data.

The credit for the School Preparation Month Programme goes to the District Administration of Changlang under Dr Devansh Yadav, DC Changlang, in collaboration with the India Foundation for Education Transformation (IFET) and One Stop Centre.

At the heart of the modus operandi were the community teaching volunteers. Due to multiple restrictions during COVID 19 pandemic, the threat of transmission and the ban over the movement of outsiders in villages, the community members become key owners of learning of their children. Therefore, qualified volunteers from 263 villages were appointed and they were trained and oriented on how to teach and what to teach by India Foundation for Education Transformation.

They were provided daily lesson plans and teaching materials to make their Mohalla classes easy and focused. Out of 800+ volunteers who applied, 435 volunteers were selected to teach in the Mohalla classes. All students at the government Primary school or Middle School of a particular village were mapped and grouped into 3-4 mohalla classes closer to their home. The program was managed by the Anganwadi workers under the supervision of their respective Child Development Project Officer (CDPO). Anganwadi workers (AWs) of the villages were engaged to lead, manage and monitor the classes of the volunteers under the supervision of their Child Development Project Officer (CDPO).

The whole programme involved doing a baseline test to understand the existing learning of the students and there was an endline assessment conducted to review the learning levels of the students. To add credibility to the assessment score, the endline assessment was conducted by the Anganwadi workers independently and not the teaching volunteers. Thousands of question papers were printed and distributed among the Anganwadi workers to conduct the test.

India Foundation for Education Transformation identified syllabus content for the students as part of their Mohalla classes, and we stuck to it for two months. In English, it was reading sight words, reading and writing simple sentences and simple pictorial comprehension. For Mathematics, it was the identification and counting of numbers up to 100, number names in words, place value, simple addition without borrowing and simple subtraction.

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