Mahabubnagar: In yet another innovative initiative to improve education, the district administration started a quality enhancement programme for children studying in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) and social welfare residential schools in Mahabubnagar.
This pilot project, which started in August across 10 KGBVs and 2 social welfare schools, is expected to be implemented across the district in the next few years.
The programme, Brighter Minds, is designed to improve cognitive skills in children such as concentration, memory, positive-thinking, emotional balance and overall mental and physical health.
Teachers of these schools, called ‘facilitators’ for Brighter Minds, were given training on how to impart these skills to children. In the first week of training, around 10-15 children are formed into 3-4 groups, with one facilitator to handle a single group. For two days, classes would be taken for four and half hours each day. For the next seven weeks, once a week (for three hours on one particular day) follow-up classes are taken. After seven follow-up classes, the children would have completed the training.
During the classes, eye exercises, relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, meditation, memory-improving techniques and many other fun ways of improving the overall condition of the children are taught.
One of the skill children get to learn in these classes is the ability to balance their creative and logical-thinking mechanism. We know that human brain is divided into two parts. While one part focuses on creative thinking, the other focuses on logical thinking. People find it difficult to use both parts simultaneously. In these classes, children are learning how to optimally and effectively use both parts of their brains.
“This not only improves memory power, concentration, and problem-solving capacity in children, but also lets them take better decisions by using both parts of their brains together,” said K Manjula, Principal, KGBV, Sankalamaddi in Moosapet mandal, one of the twelve centres where the programme is being held.
It is a highly scientifically and technologically driven training curriculum which uses several aspects such as music, videos, special kits and other cool stuff to keep children engaged.
One of the last exercises children would do during the training is a blind-folded activity. After going through all the exercises and then going for a power nap, children are blind-folded and are given balls or other articles and are asked to reveal the colour of the ball. Papers with words written on them are given to children and they are asked to read the word without seeing it. They are allowed to touch and feel it though.
Surprisingly, after the kind of concentration and focus they achieve after the exercises, children are rightly identifying the colour of a ball and are able to read the word with their eyes blind-folded.
Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari was also amazed a few days ago when he visited KGBV Sankalamaddi, when N Shalini (15), a Class X student, identified the word given by him on a piece of paper rightfully as ‘Telangana.’
However, for Bhaskar, Programme In-charge, this is not something extraordinary and is not even the objective.
Speaking to Telangana Today, he said the ultimate goal of the programme was to reach a stage where children should be able to read their own mind and connect with their inner consciousness and insight. He feels that the wonders of the programme cannot be restricted to identifying colours and reading words. He says it is capable of reconstructing the entire society by using the spiritual and scientific methods being taught.
The man who has been very keen on presenting this unique opportunity to the underprivileged children is none other than District Collector Ronald Rose. After carefully examining all aspects of the programme, interacting with children who had completed these sessions and thorough research on identifying the right organisation, Rose roped in Cognitive Skills Limited, a service-oriented company, to impart these skills to children.
Just getting better results in schools is not the goal of the Collector. According to him, it should enable the children to stand and come up in their lives in flying colours.
According to Rose, the district administration is spending Rs 1.5 crore for the programme. Currently, ‘Brighter Minds’ is being implemented in KGBVs of Addakal, Midgil, Narva, Bhootpur, Devarkadra, Dhanvada, Maddur, Manganur, Narayanpet, Chinna Chinta Kunta and Telangana Social Welfare Residential Schools in Narayanpet and Marikal.
Based on the short-term success rate in children, it could be expanded to more institutions across the district.