Home » India » In Wi-Fi classrooms, Bangalore’s poor catch up

Bangalore: Behind the snazzy Greco-Roman blocks of Indus International School, past its riding club and indoor sports stadium, is a clutch of humble buildings, spruced up with Chittara and Yakshagana art, that don’t seem to belong. But step inside and the story is all about belonging.

                                                  

In the Wi-Fi classrooms of the community school that overlooks a pond, well-groomed children in green uniforms type on their Intel Classmate laptops and speak among themselves in whispers — Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, and of late, a smattering of English.

Meena, the class I teacher from Thavyakanahalli, a village less than a km away, says, when they came, they did not understand a word of English and could not even say ‘good morning’. Some of them hadn’t been to school, most of them came from government schools where they learned nothing.

In nine months, they will be able to speak ‘Globish’, functional English with a vocabulary of 1,500 words, says Principal Manoj Kumar, who earlier taught the Theory of Knowledge under the IB curriculum at Indus International School. When the parents — most of them labourers and small-time farmers — heard them speak halting English at the PTA meet on July 17, some wept with joy, Kumar says.

At a time when private schools in the city have voiced concern about certain clauses of the Right to Education Act and the issue of sustainability — not to mention the so-called social repercussions, with Bethany High School issuing a circular to parents suggesting that admitting poor children indiscriminately would be detrimental to the psyche of the other students — Lt Gen (retd.) Arjun Ray, CEO of Indus Trust, which runs international schools in Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, has launched an experiment in equal-opportunity, sustainable education.

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