Though 68.3% of children of primary school
age are enrolled in school, 39.58% drop out without completing
Class V. Of those still in school, 56.82% drop out before
Class VIII. Finally, a mere 32.6% complete 10 years of schooling.1
In Karnataka, 40.39% are known to complete 10 years of schooling2
. Across the 1407 Government schools in Bangalore City alone,
a mere 10% complete 12 years of schooling2 . Why? - the single
most common reason remains “lack of learning”.
Over the years, although the government
has laboured to improve enrollment through various programmes
like Chinnara Angala, Coolie Inda Shaalege, and Baa Marali
Shaalege, the learning achievement inside the classroom has
continued to be dismal and disappointing.
Akshara Foundation conceived the Accelerated
Reading Programme (ARP) against this backdrop. The ARP programme
aims to help children ‘learn to read'. Since reading
is intrinsically linked to the learning process, the programme
focuses on developing the reading ability in children. Working
towards the ultimate goal of ensuring that every child is
in school and most importantly learning well, Akshara innovated
a regional adaptation of the Accelerated reading technique
as part of its ARP programme.
Implemented in 117 schools across the
S2 & N2 Education Blocks of Bangalore City and impacting
over 4500 children, the programme was a collaborative effort
by Akshara Foundation & the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
Demonstrating a proactive commitment by the state to internalize
an innovative reading programme, it has emerged as a unique
private-public partnership towards enhancing learning outcomes
for children enrolled in the public schooling system.
The programme has received critical acclaim
for its technique, design and the attractive teaching/learning
material. Both the implementing partners (Akshara Foundation
and the SSA) are keen to take this success ahead and impact
a larger population; the modalities of the next steps are
being addressed by both parties.
The ARP has touched the lives of 10,000
children in need of a learning supplement. A specific intervention
to improve reading levels, the ARP surely holds immense potential
as we plan the next phase.
1 National Human Development Report 2001
2 Office of Commissioner for Public Instructions, Govt. of
Story cards, alphabet charts,
excited children, eager to learn – the Accelerated Reading
Programme is the new bumblebee in government schools across
Bangalore City. While 8 year Manjesh finds the ARP a huge
attraction to attend classes regularly, dreamy eyed Kalika
finally feels she can read; the little one waves her story
card in joy indicating that its her favorite reading material.
If not making her read, the story cards have incited her to
The Accelerated Reading Programme
is talked about in every school. By teachers – who are
amazed by its impact, by children who have experienced its
usefulness; and, by school administrations that are happy
with improved attendance records.