This is an article highlighting CSR activity carried out by Vedanta ALuminium Limited in the field of education for underprivileged children in Odisha.
A STANDARD activity done by any corporate house that strives for CSR presence in the field of education is donating computers, constructing class rooms or building a school at the most. However, in remote rural locations, creating a brick and mortar model is not sufficient. Experience shows that there are many students who are unable to cope up with the curriculum within the given timeframe and therefore drop out of the formal education system. It is very well acknowledged that this is an endemic problem in tribal, rural and backward areas all across the world.
The CSR arm of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. (VAL), Jharsuguda in the state of Odisha, decided to tackle the problem by launching a unique programme for such students. The three important pillars in this strategic intervention were :
Identifying a pool of students in surrounding villages and providing them with coaching facilities in their respective villages.
Upgrading the skills of teachers so that they could understand the needs of these “special” children. Educationists were invited from Jharsuguda and Bhubaneshwar and the teachers were given an orientation on course curriculum, analysis of children’s learning gaps and appropriate teaching methodology to be used in such cases.
Involving the parents of students and counselling them about the entire process. This was basically done to sensitize them about the special needs of their children and explain them as to why they needed more attention and social support.
The initial outcome was modest. A couple of years ago there were around twenty odd students drawn from four to five villages. But very soon the trickle turned into a torrent and in the year 2010-11 around 830 students drawn from ten villages were part of this great movement. Out of the 263 students who appeared for the 10th Board examinations, 140 passed. As many as 17 students passed with a first division. An added delight to this was, one student, Gyanendra Pani, securing 93.38% marks and becoming the topper in the entire Jharsuguda district.
This may not be a headline grabbing big ticket CSR intervention. However, it highlights the basic fact that with commitment and sensitivity one can touch the lives of students in a very meaningful way. It may be a small step for a corporate house but it constitutes a giant leap for the students who benefit from it.