LEARNING – the value of education

With such a massive population, a good education becomes all the more important if you want to compete for a job here in India. The job market is not keeping pace with the ever expanding population and students are having to seek further and continued education to compete for limited employment opportunities. Where a bachelors degree may have been sufficient in years past, now a masters degree is the minimum in some fields of work. Vocational training has also become increasingly popular over the years, providing students with a usable skill set immediately applicable after graduation.

Here at the Child Haven homes the number of college age students is increasing every year and so are the tuition fees. With so many children needing further education, their individual grades are ever more important. India’s education system is heavily based on memorization and performing well on exams. If a student lacks these skills it is virtually impossible for them to do “well” in school and to go on to further education, but boy do they try…

Studying is done day and night. The staff and older children as well as some hired tutors help with morning and evening study time. Grouped together by class, they use every available space at the homes to sit and study and work on homework. Child Haven students have consistently earned some of the highest scores in the local schools, including placing 1st in the school on the extremely difficult 10th and 12th grade government exams.

It is a difficult process to judge each student based on their aptitude and performance and decide what if any further education they can be sponsored for. A few are very easy decisions, but most require a lot of thought and discussion. There has not been a great amount of attention payed to career counseling in India thus far, consequently the children only have limited ideas of the possible careers that they can pursue. Nursing, teaching, engineering, and computer related courses are what students want the most and it is sometimes difficult to convince them that other choices may be more beneficial and practical.

We all learn best in our own ways. Some people do better studying one subject at a time, while some do better studying three things at once. Some people do best studying in structured, linear way, while others do best jumping around, ”surrounding” a subject rather than traversing it. Some people prefer to learn by manipulating models, and others by reading. – Bill Gates

Yesterday in the Kaliyampoondi home they celebrated “Home Day”. The current college students and passed out students (their term, not mine) recently formed the Child Haven Kaliyampoondi Student’s Club and they celebrated this with a wonderful inaugural event.

The all day affair was completely arranged, paid for, and run by the student’s club. It began early in the morning with cleaning the campus. Everyone helped to sweep the grounds and wash the floors, and to put up signs and organize events. After a break to bathe and dress they served breakfast with a special sweet.

Then the games began. With running and potato sack races, frog hops, a water filling contest and musical chairs; there was something for everyone. Many cheers and shouts filled the air – everyone encouraging their fellow students to do well. All the while they were setting up the stage for the evening program. A special lunch was provided with three different kinds of rice and a couple of sweets. Then everyone rested for an hour or more so that they could be fresh for the evenings events.

As the evening program neared, excitement filled the air along with some very loud music. The children were enjoying it tremendously, but my poor ears were having a difficult time adjusting. The sky soon began to dim, the program was officially started with a multi religious prayer service. There were also some welcome speeches and thank you’s and an attempt at candle lighting (the wind was not participating – or maybe it was participating too much). Then the real fun began. There were many outstanding dances and songs and a couple of very well done dramas that unfortunately will only live in my memory because my camera did not work well with the flashing neon lights of the stage. A great time was had by all and by the end of the evening even the most exuberant of children were more than ready for bed.

I was amazed and impressed by these young adults who took it upon themselves to provide this day for the children at Child Haven. It was a way for them to say thank you for the gifts that they had received from Child Haven and to help instill in the younger generation a sense of appreciation. I was so happy to be able to witness this event and so grateful that I can share their generosity with you.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of the Child Haven students for further education please visit the Child Haven website for more information. For as little as $1 a day you can help a child succeed for a lifetime.

Thanks for reading!

-Rene

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2 responses to “LEARNING – the value of education

  1. Love this post Rene… You described the reality so well. These kids have to work so hard! I have always been impressed by the level of study they do to have good results in school.
    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures! All happy familiar faces I miss so much… 🙂

    • Very happy faces indeed Marie-Pier! They are all doing so well in Kaliyampoondi, it is remarkable. I was so impressed with the older students and how they took it upon themselves to put together the Home Day – it was wonderful!

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