- Storytelling sessions for students of classes VI to VIII
- Hockey for girls of Class VI and above
- Financial literacy sessions for Class VIII and above
Several government schools are taking initiatives beyond the prescribed curriculum to raise awareness among students and create opportunities.
The schools reopened last year after a two-year gap because of the pandemic. In the new session that started this January, schools are going the extra mile in teaching students not just academics but life lessons.
They are encouraging children to explore activities that would generate an interest for school life.
Santoshpur Rishi Aurobindo Balika Vidyapith in south Kolkata has started a financial literacy programme for students of Class VIII and above to help girls understand the basics of banking transactions.
The school felt this was needed because many of the students or their families are unable to withdraw the money they get from various government schemes.
“The girls are eligible for the Kanyashree scheme but neither they nor their parents are able to understand how to withdraw the money or that they need to submit KYC (know your customer) details. In some cases, the account is becoming dormant and they have no idea about it,” said Sarbani Sen, the headmistress of the school.
The school had organised sessions conducted by officers of the Reserve Bank of India.
“Our teachers tell them but when outsiders who have proper banking knowledge come to address them, it has a greater impact,” said Sen.
Children’s Welfare Association High School for Girls in southwest Kolkata’s Behala has begun training a section of girls in hockey.
The school does not have its own playground but has spoken to the local club and arranged to use a ground adjacent to the campus.
“Not everyone can excel in academics but they can shine in sports. If we do not train them, our girls will not be able to learn,” said Sarbari Sengupta, headmistress of the state-affiliated school.
The school has bought hockey sticks for the students. Hockey coaching is open for all girls but the school is focusing more on students of classes IX, X and XI.
Besides two days of practice in a week, the girls who show promise are being given extra training in the morning before their classes start.
About 100km from the city centre, Kanaknagar SD Institution in Hingalganj, North 24-Parganas district, is holding reading and storytelling sessions for the children.
A reading habit will wean them off the mobile, a bane of the pandemic, a teacher said.
“Our students barely read. Of the 1,200-odd students, about 50 have taken library membership. Reading festivals will ignite an interest in the written word,” said headmaster Pulak Roychowdhury.