Success story of Telangana welfare schools for SC students chosen for case study in Harvard University
The success story of residential schools being run for students belonging to marginalised sections by the Telangana government has been chosen as a case study for the prestigious Harvard University in the United States of America.
A communication to this effect from Harvard University was received on Tuesday by Dr R S Praveen Kumar, a senior IPS officer heading the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS).
The society runs 268 social welfare schools providing free education, food and clothes to nearly 1.5 lakh children from Class 5 to under-graduate courses.
“The students and the faculty of International Educational Policy Course run by Prof Fernando Reimers of Harvard Graduate School of Education, have chosen Telangana social welfare residential institutions as a case study to critically analyse the efforts and policies of the state government in providing quality and equitable education to the marginalised students in the state,” Praveen Kumar told Hindustan Times.
He said it was the first time that any such intervention in education for the students from marginalised sections is being noticed by Harvard University. “The students and the faculty of the university will analyse challenges in professional development of teachers and school leaders against the background of acquisition of skills by the students,” he said.
The model being adopted by the Telangana social welfare residential institutions has been attracting research students from across the country and also parts of the world.
“Apart from various researches and educational experts from various parts of the country, quite a few study teams from South Asian Countries visited Telangana and went through our teaching and non-teaching methods for the all-round development of the students from marginalised sections. Perhaps, that was how our society has attracted the attention of Harvard University,” Praveen Kumar said.
The Telangana social welfare residential schools hit the national headlines five years ago, when one of its students Malavath Poorna from Nizamabad became the youngest girl in the world to scale Mount Everest on May 25, 2014, at the age of 13 years and 11 months. Bollywood director Rahul Bose made a biopic on this girl, titled “Poorna” in 2017, which received critical acclaim.
“Several of our students achieved laurels for the state and the country in various sports, games and other extra-curricular activities, besides excelling in academics, thanks to seamless experimentation and syncing with the emerging trends in the global education space,” the TSWREIS secretary said.
For example, the society, starting this academic year, introduced the concept of Freedom Schools, where students decide on lessons and mode of teaching, actually teach and evaluate each other. The teachers play the role of facilitators and intervene only when it is necessary.
Similarly, innovative concepts like “Green Gurus,” “Flipped learning methodology,” “Drop Everything and Read (DEAR)” and “Drop Everything and Play” (DEAP), have been introduced in these institutions over a period of time. “One cannot expect such experiments done in government schools, that too by students from poor and marginalised sections of the society,” Praveen Kumar said.
The students of the social welfare institutions have been excelling in academics, on par with any other corporate colleges. This year, as many as 53 students got into MBBS, 20 in IITs and 48 in NITs, besides getting admissions in prestigious institutions like Delhi University, Ajim Premji University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
The society runs exclusive military schools for boys and girls separately, besides a music and dance school. “Every summer, we run summer camps for our students, where they would learn horse riding, mountaineering and other adventure sports, besides satellite making, robotics,” the official explained.