Our North and South Indian Provinces are taking to heart St. Vincent’s concept of the “poor being our masters,” in a new project involving almost all of their schools. Between them, the two provinces have started and operate 32 schools with almost 24,000 students (K through secondary school age) in numerous states in India.
The schools mostly serve children from deeply impoverished tribal families and villages. Most of the schools teach students in English (instead of local dialects), offering them and their villages the best opportunity to escape poverty and prosper in India’s modern economy.
Our Indian confreres run their schools well, but the dignity of the children they serve has compelled them to make their schools even better. And so they are collaborating in evaluating all 10 schools of the South Indian Province and 15 of the 22 schools of the North Indian Province. They aim to identify and carry out ways to enhance student achievement and school administration, and better instill Vincentian values in students.
The provinces are using the services of Adhyayan, a renowned education consulting agency, to assist them. The first phase of the project will take two years and result in the adoption of school and province-wide education improvements plans. The longer goal is to effect systemic change in positively influencing the ineffective government schools in the provinces’ mission areas, by modelling excellent schooling. The two provinces also envision networking to advocate for a more just government investment in schooling for tribal and “low caste” peoples.
The VSO is working with a foundation (which requests to remain anonymous), and using monies from the Vincentian Solidarity Fund, to finance the school improvement project for our two Indian Provinces.
Contributed by: Scott Fina, Associate Director, Vincentian Solidarity Office