Children in villages and tribal areas do not have access to the concept of education. Being first learners, a program that engages parents and children to introduce the concept of formal education is critically needed.
After completing a three year program from Ekal Vidyalaya, children are well prepared to be part of formal schooling.
If formal school is not an option, older students are encouraged to enroll in vocational training programs.
The Ekal model does not replace formal education but acts as a catalyst in inculcating interest for first learners by providing an experiential learning environment.
Remote villages and tribal areas are sparsely populated, making government schools inaccessible for very young children. Ekal becomes the only option for the children, until they are able to walk long distances and attend formal schools.
In larger rural communities Ekal schools supplement formal education by making learning fun, with storytelling and experiential learning techniques building on the child’s curiosity to learn.
In addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, Ekal’s curriculum places emphasis on health, civic and value education that helps children gain important life skills at an early age.
The focus of Ekal is the holistic development of rural and tribal India.
A grassroots PAN India movement engaging over 400,000 volunteers covering over 100,000 schools in the network.
The model is a bottoms up approach where the community is tightly integrated into the work of Ekal. The teachers and the workers at Ekal are from the local community.
The Ekal curriculum is localized incorporating all the local traditions and culture of the community
Ekal’s work is a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern technology. Yoga and Ayurveda are used extensively as is Telemedicine and tablet based learning.
The movement is owned and driven by volunteers at every level.
There is complete transparency and accountability in terms of activities, financial management and impact.
A very low cost model suitable for rural conditions
The term literacy transcends learning for children to encompass adult education, skilling and healthcare where adults are able to make informed decisions for their own families wellbeing.
Ekal schools make learning interesting and fun. The experiential form of learning creates a curiosity amongst students and immense interest towards learning.
Skill development centers such as tailoring centers and Computer Training Labs are creating jobs, helping young women and men earn decent livelihoods.
Women’s empowerment is a key focus for Ekal. Over 80% of Ekal’s teachers are women. 100% of the healthcare workers are women. Ekal’s health initiatives have placed great emphasis on women’s health with a particularly on the eradication of anemia
Ekal is a unique volunteer driven organization with people who are passionate about serving rural and tribal communities. The 400,000+ volunteer workforce helps keep administrative costs to under 10%
We have no marketing budget. Outreach is entirely through word of mouth or by campaigns run by volunteers.
Involvement of the local village community and council oversees and monitors functioning of Ekal schools and programs
Local teachers are sensitive to customs, norms and know family backgrounds and their challenges.
Most often there are no school buildings or the Ekal school uses available school or community facilities at no cost.
Ekal volunteers are driven by a passion to give back to society. They want to work for their own community. A spirit of service to the nation and humanity is ingrained in them by Ekals long history in community development and engagement
Volunteers are given ownership of projects. There is complete transparency in the system.
Decision making is decentralized. Volunteers are empowered to make decisions based on the guidelines provided to them
Ekal provides extensive training to the teachers in the Ekal pedagogy. Ekal's pedagogy is an experiential learning model where the children "learn by doing".
Teacher recruitment and Training
A local person referred by the village is chosen as the teacher. Over 80% of Ekal’s teachers are women with a good understanding of the culture and values of the village. This enables him or her to have a good emotional connect with the children they serve
Induction training: 5 day residential training is provided to onboard the teachers: Training topics include
Hands on learning activities with children
Use of the teacher manual for conducting day to day proceedings at Ekal.
Ongoing Refresher Trainings
One full day training workshop every month
5 days residential training workshops twice a year
Teachers are evaluated on a monthly basis and one-on-one coaching is provided to teachers who many need extra support
Multi-grade teaching is a heavily researched and studied education technique that can be mastered with training
Ekal teachers are trained to manage a multigrade classroom
The Ekal model divides 30 children into three different groups based on their age and learning levels.
Small groups are conducive to learning
Brighter senior students teach the junior classes.
For the teachers in Ekal, the school is just one of her activities. They are passionate about supporting their village and are trained and encouraged to take initiatives towards village development
Teachers are well respected in the local community which is most critical for any community led development
The Ekal model is not just education, but making children aware about health provides a direct connection with their respective families.
The teacher helps in mobilizing the community for any intervention related to village development and conducting any awareness programs (eg. health, civics etc)
Quality has two aspects.
Integrity of school operations
Giving the ownership of the school to the local village and entrusting them with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring the smooth functioning of the schools is a key to success. We are working on raising resources by the villagers to support the cost of running the school. This will make the ownership responsibility even stronger.
Quality of teaching.
The quality of teacher training is key to keeping the teaching quality high. The level of teaching depends upon the regularity of the training camps. The central training committee works to keep up the quality of the training.
It is important to understand that Ekal is not one organization but a movement dedicated to the cause of rural and tribal development. Different organizations with a focus on different aspects of development come together under the umbrella of Ekal Abhiyan trust driven by the common vision of Ekal.
All national level institutions are autonomous registered institutions. The umbrella organization of all these institutions is Ekal Abhiyan Trust. All the institutions are its affiliates.
Executive committees for each institution act as decision making bodies at their respective levels.
The main reason for a school closing mid-session is the drop-out of teachers. A majority of Ekal's teachers are young, unmarried girls who move after marriage.
Alternative arrangements are usually made well in advance. If arrangements cannot be made within a month's time, the school is declared as closed. When an eligible teacher is arranged and trained, the school is re-opened.
In case a school allotted to a donor is closed in mid-session, the donor is approached with two options: - Allotment of a school re-opening in the same month OR - Allotment of a new school during the next session.
Allotment is made as per option exercised by the donor.
Donors sometimes wish to visit without prior intimation. While we welcome such visits please be aware of the following issues:
Villagers may not accept the visitor as a member of Ekal family when not accompanied by any local volunteer or council member.
We don't have any school buildings. It may be difficult for the donor to reach the school.
Timings of our schools are flexible. Donors may find a school closed.
A large number of our schools are located in areas affected by Naxal activities. There is always a risk for a visitor in such high risk areas.
Ekal Sansthan is a national level body in Ekal Abhiyan whose focus is research, innovation, policy, media and publications.
Ekal Sansthan is not a decision making body but provides recommendations to Ekal Abhiyan Trust on different matters related to policies, Ekal principles, new interventions and technology adoption. Final decision on adoption of the recommendations lie with Ekal Abhiyan Trust . Activities include
Carrying out social audit for impact and quality analysis directly or by involving third party
Implementing pilot projects for new interventions, develop SOPs and transfer the operations of successful pilots to respective Abhiyan organization
Research and develop policy papers on different issues related to development in rural and Tribal areas
Review and upgrade educational content in conjunction with the Ekal education wing.
Capacity building of volunteers including training of teachers
Providing support to any Abhiyan organization related to development of processes, integration of technology, impact analysis or policy matters
Ekal’s focus is on primary school education and literacy in the villages.
The endeavor to create jobs locally increases economies of scale; building capacity and self sustainability
Ekal encourages students to pursue higher education. However, that sometimes influences rural migration towards urban centers. Ekal therefore focuses largely on job creation and entrepreneurship for rural development
We have come across several cases of Ekal students having distinguished careers by entering government service etc. We have not tracked our alumni in the past. We are now working on tracking the alumni and maintaining an active database.
The responsibility for the daily monitoring of the school lies within the village community
Schools are conducted in open spaces without walls at most locations.
Ekal has a well developed organized structure. The lowest organizational group comprises a cluster of 30 villages.
Every cluster has a dedicated full time volunteer whose work is to monitor the functionality of Ekal schools
Monthly reviews for attendance and learning outcomes are conducted
Monthly reports are compiled and analyzed at state, zonal and central levels. Interventions are planned if there are any gaps.
There is continuous Up-Skilling of teachers through regular training.
Third party assessments are held on regular intervals from reputed agencies.
Ekal is working to incorporate tablet/technology based education in primary schools to improve overall quality and standardization.
72% of Ekal teachers are female. While it is a source of great pride, the group primarily consists of unmarried women who leave the village after they get married.
Men generally leave the village seeking better employment, as the other source of livelihoods in villages - agriculture does not support a family.
Ekal gives the ownership of the school to the local village committee, ensuring attention to quality, pride of engagement and a say in co-creating on the ground solutions.
Over the long term, Ekal works with state volunteer organizations and contributions from villagers to financially support the schools annual operating costs.
This ensures regular monitoring, and problem solving while ensuring higher standards of accountability and transparency.
Every penny contributed is matched 8x in volunteer time. In addition to volunteering for Ekal, council and chapter members do not charge Ekal for travel and misc expenses.
Volunteers who provide support and management services for the organization accept a low honorarium, their work driven solely by their passion to make a difference.
Ekal does not discriminate based on caste, religious affiliation or linguistic affiliations.
Ekal is a pan-Indian movement present in every State in India and teachers, volunteers and children from all religions and castes participate in the movement.
No. We do not teach religion.
Cultural awareness and life skills is an independent activity of the Ekal family.
The program cultural values, teaches local history and heritage and preserves the rich values of Indian civilizations
At the grass root level the Ekal teachers and workers of of the program work together in building awareness
Addiction to liquor and smoking is a huge challenge in the tribal areas. Ekal works towards addressing this to ensure economic development.
Using weekly village assemblies as forums for change, Ekal works with families to mitigate addictions and socio-economic challenges.
Ekal teams survey sparsely populated areas in terms of roads, access to markets, logistics and communications.
A cluster of 30 villages is identified for opening new schools.
A Gram Samiti or village committee is formed in every village.
The village committee decides the venue of the school and recommends a teacher, monitoring teaching and functioning of the school.
Though annual exams are conducted and children are graded on the basis of their performance, no formal certificate is issued.
Ekal Vidyalaya aims to impart basic non formal education to children of remote areas and at the same time also inculcate human values in them.