Miles to go...
We are a team of two guys – Mayank Khewaria and Nishanth Naik – from IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat and we have travelled across the country on the theme - Education in India. We took up a fellowship after our final year as we wanted to experience the world outside the institute before we enter our professional life. So we travelled across 10 states of the country in search of schools, institutes, NGOs and individuals working on primary education. The trip lasted for 42 days and we have gained a lot of insights on our theme and the cross cultural differences within India. We started with this theme as we saw a deficit of quality education in the primary level and we wanted to get an experience of reality and also look for the changes that are coming up.
|A group picture for posterity.|
L-R: Mayank, Janakiraman, Nishant
As a part of our trip, we headed to Mananthavady on June 13 2017 and reached there by 2 pm. We got to know about Reach India Foundation through some of our mutual friends and came here with a blank slate. Once we reached Thettamala and settled down, we got to know about Janakiraman, one of the founders and an intern, Hariprasad. The initial introduction made us set a ground for our exploration here. Although we had seen NGOs and people working in this sector, RIF was one of its kind. With an awareness that two days was a very short time for enough exploration, we set out to look at the schooling system in place in Kerala, the gap and the needs to fill the gap.
Our exploration began with meeting Mr. Gangadharan, a retired teacher, a prominent figure in our field of research. We got to know about the education system in place and how it has evolved from a person who witnessed the changes himself. The discussion lasted long as we tried to understand the various aspects to be dealt when we talk of primary education today. Janakiraman then took us around to the local library and Manathavady upper primary school. The little chats gave us a view into the schools and their working. The library system across the state has been a very good initiative.Our next visit was to one of the schools Janakiram visits in Kunhome village. This added to our insights on local schooling in Kerala.
Apart from our visits, stay at RIF was a wonderful experience by itself. The lifestyle here is one that amazed us. We had night long discussions with Janakiraman and Hariprasad regarding various topics concerned to primary education and others. We cooked our own food by contributing and helping out in the kitchen. It was a wonderful experience to get to know RIF and how one man backed by a team can inspire and motivate a whole community. The story of how RIF is building a better foundation to the education system and also bridging the gap between the system and children is one that needs admiration. Our take away from the two days at RIF was a perspective into Kerala’s education system. We also got a perspective as to how there exists a scope of improvement in there that RIF intends to work upon and not to mention a lot of pleasant memories of Wayanad.