450 million children in India are about to enter a skill-intensive workspace by 2025. Through multiple efforts, we have made sure that children do not miss out on education. However, the question of whether we are instilling 21st-century skills in them looms large over all of us working in the education space. 

What are these 21st-century skills we consider crucial to the holistic development of every child? From critical thinking, communication, and collaboration to social skills, information literacy, initiative, and leadership – these skills – trifurcated into Learning, Literacy, and Life – need to be imparted and instilled in children to thrive in a fast-paced world.

To empower our students studying in Government-run Schools, Mantra4Change is collaborating with Involve Edu – a Chennai based NGO working towards developing 21st-century skills in students.

Involve works with public schools to train and mentor senior students (Student Leaders: from 8th grade) to teach their juniors (Learners: 4-8th grade) through an after-school program. This provides experience-based future-ready skills to seniors & academic support to juniors. 

The process of the intervention started with a baseline assessment of the students across grades 4-8th.  The selected students of grades 7th and 8th were considered as Student Leaders according to the scores in the assessment. The scores of students in lower classes would measure their learning levels 

Once Student Leaders are selected, the foundational training starts. This is where the Student Leaders undergo training of various skills like effective communication and leadership which include classroom management techniques they can adopt in the absence of their teachers.  

In the Chandapura education cluster, 1 of our schools, Government Higher Primary School, Muthanallur has been selected for this project and the response in the early stages of the program has been tremendous. The school went through the baseline assessments and now sessions of foundational training are well underway at these schools. During this training, the Student Leaders are also introduced to the various teaching-learning materials (TLMs) that could be used while they teach their juniors. Presently, we have around 14 student leaders and 42 student learners in the schools selected for the training. 

Post the foundational training, the Student Leaders would be trained with curriculum content before they get into the classes and start teaching their juniors and their peers the basic concepts that are vital to learning various subjects. 

At the end of one year, the performance of both the Student Leaders and Student Learners will be both assessed in various focus areas. Student Learners develop academically under the mentorship of the Student Leaders who also develop leadership qualities in them. This builds the essence of teamwork and collaboration as they would be working in groups during the training. This nurtures a positive culture among the students and they take ownership of not only their learning but also their fellow students through peer teaching. 

Contributed by Team Communications, Mantra4Change

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