CoME Academy Program

This program is a major part of Our Vision for the future of the Children of Mother Earth.  We believe that a basic education which includes  life-skills coaching and vocational training, which is geared towards earning a livelihood, is a major part of the solution to the suffering of under-privileged children in India.

Indian Education System

Education in India is (supposedly) mandatory, and yet we have large numbers of children who have never attended any school.  We see this a lot in street-children or children whose parents put them straight into work or begging.  The parents, and as a consequence, the children see no point in gaining an education.  When these  children arrive in our centres, we provide Bridge Schooling to introduce them to the whole concept of attending school, paying attention, learning, growing, determination and eventually, some kind of qualification with a positive future.

Assuming that under-privileged children actually attend school, we come across the next challenge  -  the quality of Government Schools and the quality of the teaching.  The following article describes the sorry state of Govt schools in Delhi:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Education-for-all-Its-not-a-happy-picture/articleshow/11150460.cms

The structure of school system in India varies a bit from state to state, with this being typical:

  • Years  1 – 5        for 6-10 yo           Primary School
  • Years 6, 7 & 8     for 11-13 yo         Middle School/Junior High School
  • Years 9 & 10      for 14-15 yo         High School (SSLC – Secondary School Leaving Certificate)
  • Years 11 & 12     for 16-17 yo         Senior Secondary/Intermediate College/Pre-University Course (PUC)

In our experience, many children of average academic ability really begin to be bored with, and lose interest in schooling during year 8.  Year 9 sometimes means a move to a new school and (mentally, at least) a new 2-year commitment to attending school.  We estimate that around 40% of children drop out of the school system during, or at the end of Year 8. This seems especially so, in our experience, in the schools in Indian villages.  This leaves the children, at age 13, with no vocational qualification, and at risk of falling into a poor work environment and a bleak future.

In India, there are Industrial Training Institutes (ITI’s) which are government-run training organisations, and Industrial Training Centres (ITC’s) which are their privately-run equivalents. Students can enroll in their vocational-style course only after they obtain their SSLC on completion of Year 10 studies.  As we stated earlier, this does not address the 40% of students who drop out of school at Year 8 level.   The CoME Academy will provide the (lower-level) equivalent of the  ITI’s/ITC’s courses for those students who complete Year 8 level and who have decided not to continue their Secondary education.  We want to be able to give these children the same opportunity to study and build a career, based on their talents and interests.

Objectives of the Academy

A major objective of the CoME Academy is to engage with schoolchildren who are most at risk of dropping out during Year 8.  We will be providing a part-time after-hours course or courses aimed at children currently doing Year 8 studies or who have previously dropped-out of school at Year 8 level.  This part-time course is designed to create students who are more-balanced and confident in their outlook on their own abilities, and on life itself.

The CoME Academy will be a medium-level school aimed at teaching Vocational Certificate Courses to students who have passed Year 8, and motivating children currently doing Year 8 to:

  • Do their best at their end-of-Year 8 exams, and
  • Continue with Year 9 & 10 education, if that is their considered choice, or
  • Do a Certificate Course at the CoME Academy in the vocation of their considered choice.

Initially, it is proposed that the intake of students will be split 50/50 between:

  • Fee-paying students from mainstream schools
  • Non-fee paying students from our centres and our schools.

Non-paying students will commit to repay their fees as a percentage of their earnings from the job placements they receive at the end of their course.  This will be an honour-system.  We expect that the achievers from our courses will more than over-compensate us for those few who choose not to honour their commitments.

The emphasis of the Academy will be on:

Hand-picked, motivated teachers
Instilling human values and life skills into the children
Encouraging and motivating the children
Emotional well-being (Journeywork etc.)
Promoting a sense of inclusion and teamwork
Providing practical career counselling and vocational guidance
Visioning of the children’s future
Providing practical vocational courses
Assisting with job placement at the end of courses

The Academy will initially provide one-year Certificate Courses for vocations such as:

  • Hospitality
  • Customer Service
  • Information Technology
  • Trades such as Plumbing
  • Health Care
  • Others as the Academy grows.

The ultimate aims of the Academy are:

  • To initially make the Academy self-funding
  • To then generate funding for the running of our centres
  • To become a “model school” for Vocational Certificate Course for 13-14 year-olds
  • To influence the Indian Government and its various Education departments to put these types of courses into their mainstream syllabus.

The initial Academy will be purpose-built on land to be acquired in Delhi.  We feel that Delhi is an important choice of location because all major Government funding agencies are here, and our efforts to obtain funding and to encourage changes to the Education System, can best be achieved in Delhi.  We also have a Delhi centre which by its nature will provide a steady stream of suitable students for the Academy.

Expenditure

This Program is in its infancy, and as such, there is not very much expenditure being incurred.  Large donations that are received specifically for this Program are being set aside in a separate bank account, and is not considered part of what we call our annual budget.

The expenses incurred by this Program include:

  • Initial start-up costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Fund-raising costs
  • Purchase of Land

Resources

Ravi Rai is managing this Program at this stage.