For students it’s a break of a different
kind by Jayalakshmi K
Bangalore, July 9, 2006
The twenty - odd kids are sprawling out on the floor.
In pairs, they are reading out from glazed sheets, their
fingers tracing the letters. There is much noise and
The students of Class II, Government Urdu Model Girls
School, Frazer Town, are into their second day in the
Karnataka Learning Partnership programme. Under the
programme, the state education department, along with
Akshara Foundation, aims to boost levels of reading
among the children, using an innovative story telling
method and do it in 45 working days one hour everyday.
The programme is to be officially launched next week.
What has been completed is the baseline survey of reading
skills of children in the 1400 schools of Bangalore
The survey was conducted by teachers who have been
trained by Akshara for the programme. It involved assessing
each student for his or her reading skills. Those who
could not even read an alphabet stood at the 0 level,
while the rest fell in the ‘word’ and ‘sentence’
category according to their capability.
Results to be analysed
In a couple of days, all the baseline study results
will be in and analysed using computer software. Subsequently,
they will be hosted on the official website of the programme.
Headmaster K.Krishnappa, Government Model Primary School,
Cleveland Town, notes how the problem of reading is
more accentuated in a school like his where students
from various other mother tongues are the maximum.
“This makes it difficult for the child to learn
Kannada. This programme is good as it goes by stories,
and the charts are very colourful. In fact, we have
been using such techniques even earlier in our school,
but any new initiative towards learning is welcome,”
The baseline clearly shows that the ‘0’
levels are mostly children speaking Telugu, Tamil and
However, he as well as others are apprehensive on the
time the programme will take away from regular syllabus
that has to be completed.
Krishnappa, who is a national award winner for his
innovations and improvement of school performance, calls
the programme“homework for teachers”.
At the Government Urdu Higher primary Boys School,
headmistress Fahima Sultana is also happy with the programme.
As one of her teachers Vijayalakshmi notes, “In
the Urdu syllabus the language used for classes 3 and
4 in textbooks is very high. The story method which
focuses on short stories and big print makes it very
The baseline study does not show many ‘0’
levels here. Due to large numbers most classes, for
now it is only the very weak 20 students who are being
involved in the programme. The rest, who are as eager
and fascinated by the charts, join along.
Rahat Unissa, an enterprising teacher at the school,
is happy with the programme that provides the materials
which she used to prepare herself., earlier on. The
method is useful, especially for urdu, she says. “The
procedure of hiding the words and showing only pictures
helps develop expression in the children. They even
overcome stage fear”, she adds.
Most teachers agree the method is good, allowing individuals
attention for every child. For the children, it looks
like a welcome break from the routine of rote learning.
There is some uncertainty as to whether the same charts
used for classes 2-4 should be used for classes 5-7.
It does seem a bit too basic for the higher classes.
But with the large numbers of dropouts and irregular
attendance, many students in higher classes are lagging
in performance levels. They will surely benefit from
the programme, feel teachers.
For now there seems to be a unanimous feeling that
the initiative can only help build up a strong foundation.