The 13 education centres run by CRS in 9 urban and 4 rural locations cater for almost 900 children aged from 2 to 12 years. Each are led by a small team of dedicated teachers. CRS is committed to providing on-the-job training and skills development for these teachers. This has been possible as part of the ongoing partnership between the Diocese of Derby in the UK and CRS.
Since 2016, groups from Derbyshire – including headteachers, class teachers, classroom assistants, and retired teachers from primary schools, as well as students and lecturers from the Department of Education at Derby University – have made an annual visit to Kolkata to deliver a programme of “continuing professional development”.
CRS education centres seek to help children who have been left out or left behind by the mainstream education system. The curriculum focuses on the rudiments of reading and writing in Bengali and English, plus arithmetic. The goal is to bring the children up to the requisite attainment levels to enter government schools.
Therefore, the training delivered by the teams from Derbyshire has focused on demonstrating methods for teaching phonics and mathematics in simple, fun and effective ways. The visitors have brought suitcases full of teaching resources and held multi-day training workshops to demonstrate different teaching methods, followed up by live demonstrations at the education centres around the city.
Through these annual visits, strong links have developed between particular Derbyshire schools and CRS education centres. Children in the UK have learned about life and culture in India, and enthusiastically raised funds for their adopted schools in Kolkata.
The next trip is scheduled for January 2020. The visiting team will focus on methods and techniques for English language teaching.