Working together, ICA India and Emerging Ecology USA have secured a grant from the Fulbright-Nehru Specialist Program to send Dr. Randal Hayes, a curriculum specialist with Agnosia Media in Greensboro, North Carolina, to Chikhale for 40 days beginning November 12, 2018.
Having demonstrated that tribal students can succeed in the standard government curriculum, the Chikhale school leaders are becoming acutely aware that additional skills are required for their graduates to become competitive in the increasingly sophisticated job market in greater metropolitan Mumbai and the surrounding rural and hillside areas. During Dr. Hayes’ time in India he will:
- clarify the specific employment needs of local businesses and entrance qualifications for institutions of higher learning,
- design supplemental tools to augment the existing curriculum and train the school faculty to implement these needs and qualifications within their current schedules and
- develop ways that Chikhale graduates can take a mobile science laboratory into their home villages and help the tribal communities participate in the modern world.
Since 1987, when the initial group of 25 first grade students began attending the Adivasi Ashram Shalla in Chikhale Village, the Chikhale School has been providing high quality basic education using approved Maharashtra State government curriculum. In 2010, the school was authorized to expand its offerings to include classes in the Science track as well as the Business and Arts track through the 12th grade. This year, 700 tribal students are attending classes in grades 1 through 12. Most of the students live, eat and study at the facility which is managed and supported by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) India. Several of the 12th grade graduates have gone on to colleges and trade schools, many are seeking employment in surrounding areas.
Since the initial Skype call in 2011, Emerging Ecology has been working with the Chikhale School to conduct a Global Classroom as a supplement to its standard curriculum. This aspect of the school’s Science track curriculum has connected the Chikhale students to high school students in North Carolina through periodic Skype conversations. Over the duration of this program more than 200 Chikhale students have been exposed to the larger possibilities of a global society. This has motivated them to continue their studies and given them pride in their school. At the beginning of the 2018-19 school year, a group of students at Greensboro’s Grimsley High School formed the Grimsley Global Classroom Club to enhance their participation in this project. Dr. Hayes’ curriculum enhancements will strengthen the Chikhale student’s capacity to participate in the Skype conversations. The topics covered in the conversations will allow greater depth and significance in the discussions among the students.
Tax-deductible contributions to this project can be made on-line using the Donate to Chikhale button on the Emerging Ecology website at www.EmergingEcology.org/Donate or by sending a check to Emerging Ecology at 5911 Western Trail, Greensboro, NC 27410.
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, October 2018.