Rochana Mohan, III Year B. A. English

There is no doubt that education is a pressing problem in India – especially with regard to the quality of education received by children. Lack of quality education, proper infrastructure and support leads to the ever-increasing drop-out rate, as well as the alarmingly large illiterate population. It is these issues that the non-profit organization Teach For India wishes to overcome.

A number of ex-Stella Marians are both Fellows and Alumni of this company’s interesting two-part model. One such person is Dravina Seenivasan, the past President of the Debate Club, who is currently pursuing a Fellowship with Teach For India Chennai.

The two-year Fellowship program places people like Dravina in schools and at the root of the educational crisis faced by India. Currently teaching an all-girls higher secondary school in Saidapet, she explains her reasons for joining this particular program.

“I think education is where the world betters,” explained Dravina. “I thought I might have some role to play in it. I thought it was time to challenge myself and see if I was able to do something that everyone says was high pressure, the most difficult job in the world.”

The Fellowship program provides the applicants an opportunity to experience leadership and directly affect the education of children. Teach For India provides all their Fellows training before they go out to schools, along with the developments of essential skills and knowledge required for the job. They are then placed in high-need schools which require intensive assistance.

“Being in Stella and the Debate Club really helped me a lot,” says Dravina. “It gave me confidence. I wouldn’t have though I could stand in front of 40 people ready to pounce on me. Through debating, I learnt to persuade people and channel their thinking.”

Archana Ramachandran, the City Director for Chennai and an ex-Stella Marian explains why she thinks Stella Marians have the perfect aptitude for TFI, “Stella is a balance between hardwork and sensitivity. Teaching most definitely needs both, it challenges us in ways nothing else does. The whole concept of ‘let’s figure it out together’ in Stella works with our philosophy. I wonder if it is the systems in Stella that sets you up in a way that makes you think, ‘If I don’t take everyone along, I won’t go far. That’s definitely in us, and in Stella.”

An interesting part of the two-year Fellowship program is its focus and reliance on younger people to champion their mission, ‘All children will attain an excellent education’. Teach For India envisions this by building and nurturing leadership qualities in their Fellows. By creating dynamic and vibrant leaders who will oversee their cause, Teach For India hopes to shape India for the better.

“To teach is to touch a life forever. Wherever life decides to take you next, you will be empowered with understanding, and that’s what matters.” says Kassandra M. R., an alumnus of Stella from the Commerce department. “Don’t wait to get out of college and start doing professional work. Consider yourself a professional while in college. Be passionate about what you want to do and execute it top-notch.”

TFI asks for only the crème de la crème of the city, and talent from Stella has gone to work with TFI to play a direct role in fixing the pressing problems in society today. The community of TFI is open and very accepting, with members helping each other out not only during their Fellowship but also after it as well in any future endeavors that the Fellows may have. The deadline to apply for The Fellowship with Teach For India is the 7th of February.

Check out their website at: http://www.teachforindia.org/

[Photo Source: Wikipedia]

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