Are children gifted at birth?
In the west, children from educated parents are brought up taking in knowledge from their parents, but out of the 1,253 children in Project Mala schools, 987 parents have had no education, yet some of our children have outstanding ability. To hear children who have been with us for just six years speaking English, is amazing (see link).
This is Satish, a boy who started in our primary school in April 2007 and is now in class 8 at Guria. You will see from the film that he comes from a poor village. His father is a farmer and can read and write Hindi a little.
25 years ago our aim was to get as many children as possible to be able to read and write in their native tongue. The pressure from the brightest children to take them beyond mere literacy became so intense that ten years ago we started a middle school and then three years later a secondary school. Each year we take 300 children into our primary schools. After three years we select down to 140 who are admitted into our two middle schools. Those children fight hard for the 30 places in our secondary boarding school. We are particularly proud of the children who make it all the way through to secondary level. They have to work so hard to achieve this but were they born gifted?
The children who make it to secondary level are our elite 10%. Our ambition is to see some of them make it all the way to university. As most of the universities are English medium, one of the main problems the children face is to obtain a high level of command of English. Anne Bate, our Teaching Adviser, is putting them through an intensive course with Linguaphone to try to combat a heavy Indian accent.
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