More recently, I blogged about our PYP exhibition, the group I am mentoring and their inquiry into access to education in developing countries, particularly India.
This week brought a meeting of the two!
I suggested to my group that they email Suneeta from SOLES and see if she had any ideas for the action component of their inquiry. As it turned out, she had a great idea and they called her on Skype to discuss it. She is currently working with the Kelghar organization in Pune, whose motto is ‘education for the deprived’. Khelgar provides activities for children who live in a slum area named Lakshminagar at Kothrud, Pune. Suneeta asked my students if they would like to interact with kids from the Kelghar project.
Today was the day. There was Rajendra, Anil, Amar and Maya. They don’t speak English, but Suneeta was happy to be the interpreter. She explained that some of the children who come to Khelgar only started going to school in Year 5, due to economic reasons, being children of migrant labourers who were often on the move, or the fact their parents don’t value education. In some rural areas it is hard for children to attend school because they live too far from schools. They were thrilled by the idea that the Aussies could talk to kids in another country (them!) as part of their school learning and wondered at the fact that our kids have continuous internet access at school.
This was an eye-opener for my privileged group who have been at school since the age of 4 and take for granted the excellent facilities at their disposal. The Indian kids were amazed to hear that we only have 24 kids in a class. There are 24 girls in their class and then approximately 40 boys as well. This group only attends school in the afternoons as there are too many children in the class to fit into the room, so the school day requires two sessions.
The most delightful thing is, that despite differences in language, culture, economic situation or educational opportunities… kids are kids. They exchanged information, laughed and sang to each other. As soon as it was over, they asked if they could do it again!