Teachers’ Day has been an annual celebration in India since 1962. It is held on 5th September, the birth date of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of India. Children attend school as usual but, instead of normal classes, hold celebrations in appreciation of their teachers. Children at CRS’s 8 urban slum centres and four rural village schools celebrated in the day in their own ways. The students of CRS’s Training Center for Differently-abled Persons also held a celebration, enjoying a sing-a-long with their carers and teachers. In addition CRS organised a small get-together at the office headquarters to thank the teachers who make such an important contribution to the lives of children from poor and underprivileged backgrounds.
With the children on their summer break, 17 teachers from CRS’s Education Centres gathered together on 17th, 18th and 20th May for a three-day programme of review, discussion and planning. Led by the CRS Director and the Coordinator of Education Projects, the group reviewed the teaching syllabus for different age groups, discussed the setting of test questions for each unit, and presented ideas for enhancing the students’ experience. CRS Education Centres prepare children for enrollment in mainstream schools, with a focus on core skills of Bengali, English and maths. There are currently Education Centres in 8 urban projects and 4 rural projects catering for almost 900 children across pre-primary and primary ages from 2 to 12 years.
All CRS staff gathered in the main office in mid-January to celebrate three birthdays: Ratna, Rig and Rao. Ratna works as an assistant on the women’s empowerment project, Rig is the Director responsible for the overall management of the organisation, and Rao is the office helper. Together they have contributed decades of dedicated service to CRS. The birthdays were celebrated in the traditional way – with singing, cake and gifts!
CRS is taking steps to train its key staff in us of the English language. This is both to give them greater confidence in communicating with the UK and Canadian ‘Friends’ and to enable the staff team to build the English capability of the slum teaching staff at an elementary level. In addition, practical classroom activities using both the Indian and English languages are to be started. Another benefit of this greater awareness of English is that it should empower the teachers to develop a better bonding with the children in their care and, over time, open the door to some children who are filtered into the mainstream schools becoming young professionals in the future.