Published On: Sun, Feb 12th, 2023

State Planning Commission study concludes ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ scheme should continue 

An in-depth analysis, done by the State Planning Commission, of ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ (Education at the Doorstep) shows that parents, teachers and volunteers want the Tamil Nadu government to continue the scheme. J. Jeyaranjan, Vice-Chairman of the State Planning Commission, submitted the findings to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday.

According to the study, teachers said the mathematical skills of children improved after they started attending the classes under the scheme. Language skills, both in Tamil and English, had also improved considerably. The use of innovative teaching and learning materials at the ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ centres had helped in developing critical and creative thinking, made learning easy and enjoyable, and increased motivation.

Details given in the study show that the scheme has encouraged parents to enrol children in government schools. Parents say they visit the ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ centres regularly and their children have gained in confidence.

The study was done by Andrew Sesuraj, policy consultant; Anitha. N, who is the head, education and employment; Srinivasan. R, the full-time member; and M. Vijayabaskar, additional full-time member. It also looked at how children’s attendance pattern changed after schools re-opened. The team found out that at some locations, the attendance increased, while at some other locations, it dropped. The increase in attendance was attributed to the return of children from native places with the reopening of schools and the play way method adopted at the ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ centres.

The decrease was attributed to multiple reasons. Some parents said that after the reopening of schools and colleges, many volunteers working elsewhere were holding the ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ classes after 5.30 p.m. and hence, it got late for the children to return home. Some parents expressed reservations about sending out young girls late in the evening. At some places, the lack of street lights and the distance between a centre and the house of a child in the village were also mentioned as reasons. Some volunteers said children became tired after returning from school. Private school children have left as they have a different pattern of lessons.

Primary school teachers have welcomed the programme, saying it complements their classroom teaching. In the upper primary sections, the teachers, however, look at the programme as an intrusion. Teachers have said they are not being consulted on the initiatives and some have also felt that the importance of the regular classes is getting sidelined.

At some places, the daughters or relatives of local body members have been recruited as volunteers. The teachers are not able to monitor them because of the influence these volunteers wield. Volunteers feel that conducting the regular ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ sessions is good. But attending the meetings during the day is difficult as many of the volunteers are home-makers and the others are either working or studying.

Volunteers felt that the government should explore the possibility of increasing the monthly honorarium to ₹2,000 and ensure its timely payment. “There is an expectation that this experience will help them in getting formal positions. Some additional marks can be given to them in the recruitment done through Teachers Recruitment Board or Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. A certificate of work experience will be helpful to them when they seek jobs,” the study said.

Around 3 million children benefit from 2 lakh ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ centres manned by 2 lakh trained volunteers across the State.

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