Keywords: English Literacy | Reading and Comprehension | EdTech | Technology in the Classroom | ReadToMe®
Uttarakhand, India’s youngest Himalayan state came into existence on 9th November 2000. It was carved out of the mountainous regions of Uttar Pradesh and became the 27th state of the Indian subcontinent.
Uttarakhand is known for its picturesque hill stations, pilgrim sites (devbhoomi), forests and hill tribes.
Challenges Aplenty, while Opportunities Abound
From the very beginning, Uttarakhand faced “structural constraints to development.” First among these was geography- a mountainous terrain and vulnerability to natural calamities.
Other constraints to development were poverty, low economic activity, rural population, and poor education standards.
The state has since come a long way. The state has a thriving tourism sector. The literacy rate is 79.63% and it ranks 17th among all states and Union Territories. Uttarakhand has been reckoned as one of the fastest developing states in the country.
While opportunities abound, some challenges like foundational and quality education continue to need attention.
The English Literacy Challenge
As per ASER 2016, only 38.3% of students in the state can read a basic sentence in English. The state has over 18,000 government schools, with over 1 million students enrolled in these schools. More than half of the students leave school without basic reading and comprehension skills in English.
Reading skills strongly impact the academic performance of students. Research shows that students who do not read at grade level struggle the most in school. Inadequate reading skills impact the confidence and self-esteem of students.
RightToRead in Uttarakhand
The RightToRead program has been implemented in 147 schools spread across 5 districts of Uttarakhand. The program impacts around 11,000 students and over 400 teachers in the state. In the academic year 2017-2018, EnglishHelper, in partnership with American India Foundation, implemented the RightToRead program in 144 schools in the districts of Almora, Dehradun, and Pauri Garhwal.
The RightToRead program has also been implemented in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and The Himalayan Public School (both in Dehradun). The Perfetti Group is sponsoring a school in Rudrapur under its CSR strategy.
What do the Teachers Say?
Vikas Singh, Principal of Government School, Sikandarpur, district Rudrapur tells us, “The ReadToMe® software has been effective for English language learning for my students across different grades. The students love all the features- translation, pronunciation, and picture dictionary. Students have an increased interest in learning English.”
Sandeep Rawat, a teacher at Inter College Devikhal Bhayansu, Pauri Garhwal, writes to us sharing his experience of the ReadToMe®. “It is a valuable software for students and teachers. ReadToMe® has many interesting features. It has a tool to control reading speed. It is immensely useful for students who want to improve their pronunciation. The magnifier tool allows the teacher to highlight words and ensures that the text is visible to all students in the class. The dictionary is very useful. There are two dictionaries- word and picture dictionary. The word dictionary also discusses the noun, verb, and adjective forms of the word. The picture dictionary has simplified learning new words,” says Rawat. He writes how the translation tool has helped him use relevant references from the local language. “I advise all teachers and parents to take more interest in the use of ReadToMe®. Students take more interest and learning becomes simplified.”
Uttarakhand has been a trendsetter. Its economic model has provided fast-paced results. Increased tourism will generate more jobs in Uttarakhand. The children and youth of the state should be provided with the right skills to create better life opportunities for themselves. Good communication skills are the top requirement of the hospitality sector. English language expertise can add more value to the skill set of youth aspiring to work in the service sector.
RightToRead is still in its infancy in Uttarakhand. We hope to report significant growth in reaching all schools and helping each child realise their potential.
To know more about Reading with the ReadToMe® software, please click here.
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