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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Inspiration:How Students of IISER Kolkata Are Using College Classrooms to Teach Underprivileged Kids near Campus


“Education is the key to bring transparency and accountability in the society. It is our collective responsibility to get our children educated. The vision I have is to see every single child to be in school, in a playground.” – Kailash Satyarthi.With education comes the ability to lead a dignified life and the power to contribute towards nation-building. But India still has 58 million out-of-school children, and millions don’t have access to quality education. As educated individuals, it is our responsibility to create pathways for them to join mainstream schools for all-round development.It is with this thought and vision that the students of Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER), Kolkata, have been working in Nadia district of West Bengal.

In January 2015, seven undergraduate students of IISER started working on a project with the aim of providing quality education to underprivileged children living in and around their college campus and in the nearby villages. Today, the project has turned into an on-going effort called Ek Pahal, under which college students teach children on a regular basis. The students conduct classes using modern tools and infrastructure available at IISER.

Started by Shubham Chaudhry, Prithvi Raj, Preethi Thomas, Abhinash Kumar, Sai Madhav, Rohit Bhagawat, and Jayshree Deheria, Ek Pahal is a team of over 100 volunteers now. The seeds of this idea were sown about two years back when the founders decided to celebrate Diwali with people living near the IISER campus. They distributed sweets and lit candles in the neighborhood and it was here that they came across numerous children. A brief survey of the area revealed that most of these children were not going to schools because they could not afford to pay the fees, or because they couldn’t understand what was being taught.That is how the initiative was born, with the idea of providing free, concept-based education to these students.

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