Exploring Potential Beyond Classrooms
(in Government and Government-Aided Schools)Ajay Kavishwar
The Government is taking substantial measures to incentivise education and bring more children to its schools. While such efforts are necessary so that children get a basic education, we must also look at developing the possible talent that lies among this populace of 94 million children in Government and Government-aided schools.
Every child is bestowed with some talent. School is where children spend most of their waking hours; therefore, the potential of every child should be recognised and developed here. Teachers and schools play a significant role in identifying a child’s talent and providing students with valuable inputs to nurture their talent.
Participation in extra-curricular activities should be encouraged from an early age onward. In fact, education experts believe that when such talents are not discovered early in life, they are most likely to go to waste.
Developing & Converting Talent
When children take part in activities that go beyond textbook learning, they develop related faculties—critical thinking skills, problem-solving skills, social skills, persistence, creativity and self-control—that allow them to shape themselves into holistic individuals. Investing their time in such activities provides a chance for children to cultivate and nurture their intellectual, social, physical, and emotional selves. For instance, playing any sport builds teamwork, physical strength, a spirit of determination, and perseverance. Activities such as dance, playing music, robotics, art, etc. bring out the creative, curious, and critical thinking abilities of children. Depending on the amount of training and support that children receive, they can convert such talent into valuable skills.
Today, education goes beyond what is taught in classrooms. It is aimed at an all-round development of a child: physical, social as well as psychological. And to ensure this, schools should encourage children to pursue their talents and areas of interest and engage them in the same. Talent-oriented education builds a strong sense of confidence and a personal commitment that can enhance students' achievements and lead them to better career accomplishments.
In Government and Government-aided schools in India, while the talent pool is large, it may often remain undeveloped due to lack of resources. The Government on its part is bringing 94 million children to school, with the promise of one hot meal. And while it is making commendable efforts in promoting activities such as sports with the ‘Samagra Shiksha Scheme’, etc. there is a need to involve various corporates, NGOs, and agencies so that adequate infrastructure, expertise, and resources are provided in these schools. More children can then learn and grow in their fields of interest, develop as individuals as well as hone their talents into skills. Children can immensely benefit from organised training.
CSR – a catalyst to mobilize resources
Companies and corporations under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can play a catalytic role here by supplementing the acts of other stakeholders, including NGOs and the Government itself. Funds allocated for CSR activities can be utilised to partner with NGOs and other agencies to provide physical infrastructure—sports equipment, grounds, musical instruments, activity rooms, etc.—and human resources such as coaches, trainers, and field experts in these Government schools. When presented and executed in a proper manner, CSR can bring all involved parties closer together and create a society of skilled individuals.
Giving Every Dream a Chance
‘Giving Every Dream a Chance’, an initiative by The Akshaya Patra Foundation, is one such programme which provides children with training and mentorship in their fields of interest. The initiative has received support and encouragement from the Government. Gulshan Kumar Singh, a beneficiary of this initiative, excitedly says, “even though I will complete my education and become an engineer, I aspire to become a world-class footballer and the Just for Kicks mentorship is the best opportunity I have got to chase my dream.” Just for Kicks has collaborated with Akshaya Patra’s initiative and has introduced football mentorship in Gulshan’s school.
The inclusion of extra-curricular activities that develop children’s talents and enhance their individual potential, can also increase children’s interest in school activities and give them an impetus to continue their education. Children with exceptional talents and learning potential require specific attention. If they are carefully nurtured and provided appropriate education, gifted and talented students have the potential to make unique contributions to their communities and the country.
Attributed by Mr. Ajay Kavishwar – Director for Planning, PR & Advocacy, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.