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Winds of change blow across tribal areas in Palnadu- Mrit News

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Unemployed youth trained as vidya volunteers work in primary schools, TCS and Synchronium offer financial support, Vignan University offers logistical support

Unemployed youth trained as vidya volunteers work in primary schools, TCS and Synchronium offer financial support, Vignan University offers logistical support

The tribal hamlets in Palnadu present many challenges, including access to potable drinking water, and irrigation facilities, and a lack of access to quality education and health care.

The high rate of dropouts in primary and secondary schools has emerged as a major area of concern in the region known for its backwardness and low literacy rate prompting many organisations to focus on awareness campaigns in villages. 

Most children are forced to drop out from schools and work along with their parents in the chilli and cotton fields and it becomes difficult for them to focus on studies as the harvesting season during January – April coincides with their annual examinations.

Now, IT majors Tata Consultancy Services and Synchronium with the collaboration of Assist, an NGO and Vignan University launched a unique 45-day training programme in May to train young graduates from tribal Mandals of Bollapalli, Machavaram and Veldurthy as Vidya Volunteers as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.

After the training, the volunteers would go back to the tribal hamlets and teach in primary schools. 

Member of Parliament and vice chairman of Vignan Group of Educational Institutions. Lavu Srikrishnadevarayulu, who supported the idea, got the IT firms to support the programme in tribal areas in his constituency.

“The onset of COVID-19 has exposed the gaps in public school education systems across the country. Apart from classrooms, toilets and furniture, students need well-trained teachers. The training programme for vidya volunteers can address this issue and the availability of vidya volunteers at the primary schools is a huge opportunity for children from tribal areas to make their own choices and write their own destiny,” says Mr. Krishnadevarayulu.

While TCS and Synchronium offer financial support to the programme and pay monthly remuneration to the trained volunteers for a year, the Vignan University has been offering logistical support by sharing its facilities, faculty members and IT tools.

The volunteers, numbering more than 60, are now confident as they can speak and teach in English, a skill which they would use in future to motivate children from tribal areas to enrol in government primary schools.

The programme began with Assist, a local NGO doing a survey in the tribal hamlets and identifying 62 primary schools where there are a lot of vacancies for teacher posts. It found 65 unemployed graduates and those who have completed D.Ed, B.Ed and TTC in the three Mandals and sent them for training.

The volunteers are more than happy to share their skills and experience in their own villages.

“We have learnt a lot from this program and are now confident of teaching the children in the English Medium. I have worked in a few private schools, but I have given up my job to get trained as a vidya volunteer. Though there are many issues in our region, I am happy to inspire children in my tribal hamlet,” said Ramavath Saidulu, a young man from Botikalapaya village in Vajralapadu Mandal.

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