Gandhi Fellowship: The Story of A Change

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Jaipur: In a school in Rajasthan’s Maliyon Ki Dhani village a young fellow amongst others, was countered by two serious challenges which became his priorities. He realised that all other issues could be driven home if these two are primarily focussed on. He started working on unique directions so that the issues get projected as achievable solutions to his concerned stakeholders, the teachers of that school. What lay before him was not an easy undertaking. These were extremely sensitive and required adequate amount of maturity and patience to deal with. The issues were that of:

  • Lack of enthusiasm and determination amongst teachers
  • Teachers not coming to school on time, not spending enough time in classroom

The fellow had to display a certain kind of leadership by which he could influence the staff without causing the slightest of damage to their dignity and sense of seniority. So he chose to role model for the teachers by taking up tasks and performing them with enthusiasm and determination and by emphasizing on the positive impact of his style. Secondly he started guiding and motivating the teachers by proposing alternate teaching methodologies, through which the teachers could find a newer and more interesting aspect to their job profiles. The fellow concurrently would collect responses from the students on a regular basis but in an informal manner, so that he gets the true feedback.

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The results showed the desired success. A positive shift in the attitude of the teachers was observed. An increase in enrolment of students in that school was recorded. Student Learning Outcome grew by a whopping 63%. However, in all of this, what emerged as more significant was that the fellow succeeded in establishing a student centric learning environment.

Gandhi Fellowship aptly exemplifies the Gandhian principle of “Be the change that you want to see”. The fellows who are from different streams, cultures and regions come under one umbrella to bring that change, that impact which is the need of the hour. Education in the rural sector of our country is largely deprived of the right kind of mentorship and leadership especially for the ones who are at the helm of affairs. Gandhi Fellows embark on this mission with the government primary and upper primary schools where it suffers most from a serious lack of systemic focus.

With this task at hand, the fellows who are assigned primary schools in villages set out to achieve an all-round growth and marked improvement resulting in a turn -around of these schools. In this process the Gandhi Fellow partners with the Headmasters and charts out a path of common goals. This trickles down to the staff and is implemented amongst others in the learning methods for the children, which is the most important priority of the system. This mission of the fellow not only impacts the Headmaster’s leadership perspective, it also has its positive results on the mindset of teachers and towards their duties and most importantly the Student Learning Outcome. Our young fellows, needless to mention have to face a number of tough and sometimes unique and unprecedented challenges in this process. Right from issues like generation gap, rigidity, lower levels of acceptance to more serious ones like negligent staff, student absenteeism, dropouts and gender bias problems, these fellows convert them into opportunities and lead the change with a focused and clear mind. The end objective is that a lot of old and futile systems are shed off and new and more successful methods find their way through. In this journey, the chief highlight that emerges is that of transformational leadership.

Gandhi Fellowship today, is able to showcase such success stories of measurable turn-around instances. These very clearly confirm the endeavours of the fellows who are leading the youth sector in their pursuits of making a disproportionate change in our society by addressing the problems at the grassroots.

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