Part VII: This is part seven of an eight part article series on JIVA, the Joint Initiative for Village Advancement, an integrated community development program jointly created and implemented by PYXERA Global and the John Deere Foundation in three rural villages of Rajasthan, India. This series reflects the impact of the JIVA program on its contributors and communities. To learn more visit the JIVA Homepage and the most recent project update. Keep can eye out for Part VIII, the final installment.
Kailash was the Headmaster of Sakrawas School from 2013-2015. In early 2016, he was reassigned to be Headmaster of Junda ki Kheda village school in a neighboring district, where he immediately introduced JIVA techniques to enhance the quality of education.
The most important factor in a child’s education is the role of teachers. When I was the Headmaster at Sakrawas School, a JIVA-organized exposure visit provided me the opportunity to see teachers in other schools who were doing good work. These teachers did not have external support from JIVA like we did, and it helped me understand that we can make a positive difference even with our limited resources. On another exposure visit, we observed illiterate women who were able to assemble and operate solar lamps after receiving a training. When we saw all they had achieved despite their illiteracy, we were encouraged to be better educators and increased our level of engagement.
"Education should be about the holistic development of a child."
- KAILASH CHANDA JAIN
Prior to JIVA, parents were mainly concerned with their livelihoods and incomes, leaving education solely to the teachers. The parents wanted their children to study, but they did not know their own roles and responsibilities in educating their children. I believe that community members should participate more in the education of their children and that teachers need to work with parents to change their thinking. When JIVA started conducting parent meetings at the Education Resource Centers1 (ERCs), it helped me realize that the involvement of parents is critical to the success of education and schools. Shortly after, I went to JIVA to help start parent meetings at Sakrawas School, in addition to the ERCs.
Education should be about the holistic development of a child. Many people think that good education means scoring high marks on exams. While JIVA focuses on traditional education, the project also includes extra-curricular activities. I believe that children should get the opportunity to develop physically and emotionally in addition to their academic achievement – that we should aim for children to develop as good human beings above all else.
1 Educational Resource Centers (ERCs) are afterschool tutoring centers located near students’ homes and are available to any girl or boy between the ages of 5-16, from any caste. The ERCs are designed to offer dynamic, hands-on learning in a relaxed and welcoming environment. ERC instructors teach reading, writing, math, and science using creative methods as well as art and, in the summer, skills-based classes. To connect students with their communities and practice leadership, ERC students organize community service activities and events that bring together families within the villages.