INDIA is calling for volunteers to hold workshops for children, a minister said last Thursday (16), as state-run schools across the country struggle with absentee teachers.
Launching the initiative, education minister Smriti Irani said people from a variety of professions could teach creative writing, art, storytelling and public speaking.
“It is the best example of participative citizenry,” Irani said in New Delhi as she launched a website where volunteers can register and connect with schools in their area.
“The world over, community engagement has led to better quality education…I am hopeful by December every school in the country will be connected to this programme,” she said.
Volunteers can connect to the pilot programme through an app on their smartphones.
Irani said the initiative, first offered in 2,200 schools nationwide, was aimed at supplementing formal education.
But it comes as the government grapples with teacher shortages in schools due to extended absences or under-recruitment.
Access to education has improved significantly in recent years with thousands of new government-run schools in rural and remote areas for India’s children.
But experts say teaching in many schools is below par, leading to poor reading and writing levels.
A survey by academics and the World Bank in 2010 found over 20 percent of state primary school teachers were absent at any time.