The importance of play and physical development while recognised as crucial for child development, has been lost in the educational institutions and even more so in underserved communities where there is often an unofficial attention to didactic education. This lack of focus on sport and play has been attributed as one of the singular most important cause of poor school performance and subsequently children dropping-out. Nagpur-based Slum Soccer has therefore conceptualised a unique program named ‘EduKick’ that uses sports and specifically football to not only teach life skills to children in schools, but also to increase educational outcomes associated with subject-based performance.
EduKick (conceptualised to address the3rd 4thand 5th Sustainable Development Goals), focuses on the promotion of primary education for children from the underprivileged sections of the society who often do not get a chance to either attend school or even when they do, are forced to drop out due to various reasons, one of them being poor learning outcomes. EduKick aims to improve and build upon the existing educational outcomes and to improve its efficacy.
Evolution of the Program
EduKick is currently in its third year of operation. The program was conceived and designed organically as a response to the urgent need for better learning outcomes for children in primary schools in Nagpur. It all began when the organisation’s CEO Dr. Abhijeet Barse noticed an article in Times of Indiathat discussed how primary level children in Government schools are unable to even apply simple concepts in Math. The article further pointed out that this phenomenon is a result of overcrowded schools, under-motivated teachers and children alongside various other factors. “My immediate response was to be able to do something to improve this situation in any way I can within my limited capacity”says, Dr. Barse. His organisation Slum Soccer was already actively using football as a tool for changing lives through their various other programs. Hence, as a next step, the team got together to brainstorm on how football can be similarly used in schools to directly improve subject-based learning.
A number of games were designed and then trialled in Bokhara and Kamptee, Nagpur where the organization had always been active. Kamptee is predominantly a Muslim-dominated area where girls are rarely seen outdoors. The subject-based games were trialled on primary school girls for almost 4 months. At the end of this period, it was felt that the games are too long and boring. However, despite that, some visible changes were noticed and recorded. The girls had become more vocal, expressive and talkative as against their earlier shy and hesitant selves. This was overall an encouragement for the team who then set to improve the games in making them short and interesting. They also realised that this kind of a program has space within schools and can go a long way in not just encouraging sports but also work towards improving learning outcomes.
It was around the same time that Slum Soccer received sponsorships from WASH and UNICEF for intervention projects in schools. “We adopted a lot of things from UNICEF’s and WASH’s approach and moulded it to design games for children where life-skills education, specifically hygiene related issues can be given to children through football-based games.”shares Dr. Barse. This was the beginning of version II of EduKick program. The overall approach was changed and made more nuanced and focused. Games were designed based on specific learning requirements of children. A preliminary Math and English test was conducted in select schools among select children to understand their level of learning in these subjects. After that, games were designed to make children pick up basic mathematical concepts through football-based fun games.
At present, the program is in its third year of operation. The sponsorship support from Sony Pictures and Reliance Foundation is specifically supporting 40 schools in Nagpur with direct engagement with almost 2000 children.
The program now uses a sports kit with relevant equipments that are required to run a session. The kit too has been improvised and redesigned over the years. So far, 40 sessions for the first phase of intervention has been designed and 10 coaches have been specifically trained for conducting the sports sessions in schools. The sessions are conducted during the physical education period in schools and is usually for a period of 35-40 mins.
EduKick in its current phase has successfully completed one year of program implementation (8 months of actual implementation since baseline) in 40 schools of Nagpur since its planning that began around March 2017. Around June-July 2017, a baseline was conducted prior to the actual field implementation in 25 (out of 40) schools. The baseline was conducted with the primary aim of collecting basic infrastructural data for the schools as well as for understanding the attitudes of teachers and children towards education in general and sports in particular. The baseline data was also aimed to serve as a point of comparison for the end of project period for which a robust evaluation exercise had been planned. The present report is the product of that evaluation study that has been undertaken with the aim of reporting program impact largely through the voices and experiences of its key stakeholders.
The baseline methodology was largely quantitative in nature as it was felt that there was a need to have detailed information on school infrastructure (availability and use of playgrounds, toilets, basins etc. within schools) as also teachers’ and children’s attitudes and perceptions regarding education in general and sports in particular. Hence, a mixed method questionnaire was designed for collecting data. However, at the end of the one year period (8 months of actual intervention), it was felt that there is a need to probe deeper and understand the kind of changes that the program has brought about in the stakeholders’ lives. Hence, the Developmental Evaluation (DE) approach has been used for the study. DE is a relatively new approach to evaluation articulated by US-based development consultants Jamie Gamble and Michael Patton, which is highly participatory, adapts well to local conditions, captures interdependencies of complex systems and focuses on innovativeness of the project rather than assessment.
DE approach allows a systemic and systematic way of gathering information, analyzing data and reporting the results. Its exploratory nature offers an open-ended way to encourage in-depth exploration of perceptions, behaviours and relationships underpinning programme outputs and outcomes. In the present case, DE was used in the light of Slum Soccer’s EduKick project in Nagpur. Developmental evaluation will help identify the relationships and interactions between the different layers (stakeholders) and highlight compliances and departures in programme execution and outcomes.
As a result, a combination of conventional qualitative research tools like Participant Observation, Focused Group Discussions (FGDs) and semi-structured and/or open-ended interviews was used for information gathering. Information was gathered in the context of each of the program components through specifically designed questionnaires for each set of stakeholders- children, teachers, parents and coaches. A total of 10 randomly selected schools (out of 40), 60 children (30 Boys and 30 girls), 10 teachers, 10 parents and 8 EduKick coaches were interviewed for the study.
During the baseline study, it was revealed that there is a high percentage of absenteeism in most of the intervention schools. Children do not attend school regularly and prefer staying home. While there may be a variety of factors (demotivated students, fear of failure and punishment or even reasons like sickness, ill-health etc.) leading to absenteeism, it was the program’s aim to improve school attendance through it’s intervention model. EduKick aims at making learning interesting using its games-based approach and hence it felt that children will naturally enjoy coming to school if they learn in a conducive and happy environment, where ‘play’ is central to everyday learning.
“Haan mujhe school ana bohat accha lagta hai. Hamare school mein ‘khelne wale Dada’ atey hain isliye aur bhi mazaa ata hai.” [I like coming to school. The EduKick programme person comes to our school so it’s even more fun.]
-Pawan, 10 years, Class 4 student, Suradevi school
“Is program se jo sabse accha hua hai wo ye hai ki bacchey absent nahi hotey. Aapko full attendance milega khaas kar us din jis din didi-bhiya ayenge.” [The most interesting thing and something that also speaks volumes about the program’s success is the fact that there is full attendance on days that Didi-Bhaiya come.]
– Nausheen Fatima, Teacher, Kaamptee Urdu Medium Girls school
“Ek aur fayda hua hai ki bacche ab chutti nahi marte. Jis din ye atey hain us din to full attendance hi rehta hai.”[Another big advantage of the program is a decrease in absenteeism. On days when they come, you will find full attendance.]
-Asha Pramod Zilpe, Teacher, Suradevi School
“Hamari class mein ek ladka tha jo kaafi irregular tha. Bohat absent rehta tha. Maine notice kiya hai, ki program ke chalne se wo ab regularly school ata hai. Saare bacchey wait karte hain aur jaise hi Shrutika ko dekhenge bolenge football wali teacher ayi.” [“There is a boy in my class who was very irregular and used to miss school a lot. I noticed that ever since the programme began, that boy has started coming regularly to school. All the children wait for them to arrive and the minute they see didi they say “football wali teacher ayi.”]
-Jyoti Vijay Thakre, Teacher, Tejaswini Primary School
‘Khelne wale Dada’ and ‘Football wali Didi’ are some of the many names children have given to the young brigade of EduKick coaches, who visit the schools twice every week, with a well-planned session, full of fun, games and learning. The above voices are just some of the many expressions where teachers shared how school attendance has received a big boost ever since EduKick began. They felt that children are naturally attracted to the one-hour, organized and regulated playing session at school. Some even shared that they do not stay back at home from school as they fear they will miss a session and therefore the fun games in it. As noted by Rita Wadkar, a class 5 teacher from “Bacchey school bhi ab regular atey hain kyunki unko lagta hai ki nahi ayenge to khelna miss ho jayega.”[Children come to school regularly as they think if they don’t come they will miss out on playing].
Irregular students have therefore become regular and overall the class attendance has drastically witnessed an upward trend. This phenomenon can also be corroborated by comparing the school attendance records. Table 1 below shows the comparative data in school attendance from 20 intervention schools. The comparison is between data collected during baseline in July 2017 and the end-line data in February 2018.
Table 1: Increase in class attendance between on the day of data collection (for both the data, information was collected on the day of a regular EduKick session in that school)
||Total No. of students in Grade 4/5
||Class attendance (baseline data in July 2017)
||Class attendance (end-line data in Feb 2018)
||Sanjay Nagar 1
||Sanjay Nagar 2
||Sanjay Nagar 3
||Sanjay Nagar 4
||Sanjay Nagar 5
||Sanjay Nagar 6
||Maharani Laxmi Bai
||Mini Mata School
||Kamptee Girls School
||Roshan Public School
||Smita Patil School
||Baba Saheb Ambedkar
||MAK Azad School
Column 4 of the table above, shows that a lesser number of children were present in the class when EduKick conducted their demo session for the purpose of collecting baseline data in July 2017. Children’s attendance is extremely low in few schools such as Sanjay Nagar 2, where more than 50% children were absent. However, there is a visible increase in student’s presence during the session held in Feb 2018. This indicates that children are in fact, fond of the programme and do not like missing school specifically on that day. The data is limited in approach as it does not cover the information on other days when the school does not have an EduKick session. However, it is indicative of the program’s popularity among children and its success.
Impact 2: Increase basic mathematical skills (Addition, subtraction, number line, shapes)
EduKick was conceived as a program that would help improve children’s basic mathematical skills. It’s genesis lies in the fact that children especially in government schools (Zila Parishad and Municipal schools), lag behind in simple mathematical concepts as basic as number recognition to addition and subtraction.
At the time of the baseline study in July 2017, subject based tests were conducted with 735 children (grade 4) in 25 schools. In Math, the questions asked were basic foundational concepts such as knowledge of shapes, number line, odd and even, addition, subtraction and multiplication problems. In English, comprehension, spellings and knowledge of basic alphabets was tested. The findings were revealedreinstated the need for a program such as EduKick. On an average, almost half of the children i.e., 50% tested were unable to answer either few or all questions in both Math and English. In addition to that, the concepts that seem to be most difficult for them were identifying odd-even numbers (219 children got it wrong while 242 did not answer), number line (327 children got it wrong while 307 did not answer) and subtraction (460 children got it wrong while 194 did not answer).
EduKick’s strategy was to design games and prior to finalizing, pilot them in schools where they have been actively involved since many years. In addition to designing games, care has also been taken to ensure that a session is not all Maths and children do not feel burdened by the concepts. Hence, the 45-minute long session is infused with fun games at the beginning (warm-ups) and cooling down games at the end, making it a fun experience for children. In addition to Maths, English is another subject that is focused upon. However, here mostly communication skills are being focused upon where children can first converse in the language and in using it, understand the meanings of English words as well. It is a practical method and is being used as an overall approach during the sessions.
“Mujhe football khelna bohat accha lagta hai. Humne wo bhaiya se seekha. Shuru mein unke games mein confusion hota tha par jab wo samjhate hain to hum samajh jatey hain. Integer, decimal, angles jaise concepts bhi ab hamein ata hai.”[I like playing football. I have learnt that from Bhaiya who taught us football. Initially, we used to find the games confusing, but when we ask they explain nicely and then we understand. I have learnt concepts like integers, decimal and angles as well.]
Dipak Khobragade- 7th, 13
“Ye hamein new games batate hain jissey maths karne mein help milta hai. Hamein bahar khule mein aur acchey se samajh mein ata hai.”[They teach us new games that helps us learn Maths. We understand better as we learn it outside in the open.]
-Piyush Anil Thakre- 11 years, Good Shepherd English medium school
“Shuru mein mujhe thoda darr lag raha tha ke hamare bacchey kaise karenge, kyunki inko itna exposure nahi hai. Inka level thoda neechey hai. Kuch to numbers bhi nahi pehchante they aur colors wegera bhi nahi jante they. Par jaise jaise inka programme chalne laga, bacchon ko bohat fayeda hua. Kuch jo chup rehte they, unhone bolna shuru kiya. Confidence bohat high hua hai bacchon ka. Ab wo class mein bhi sawal-jawab karte hain” [Initially I was skeptical as to how our children would take this programme because they have not received much outside exposure. They are academically at a lower performance level. Some don’t even know the basic numericals or even colors. However, as days went by, I could see the benefits for children. Some who were very quiet, had started speaking up. Their confidence level had received a big boost. Now they have started asking questions in class as well.]
-Dhiraj Asharamji, Teacher,
“Meri class mein 61 bacche hain. unme se 15 bacchey Maths mein kaafi weak they. Main ye kahungi ki un 15 bacchon ko is program se bohat fayda hua hai.” [There are a lotal of 61 students in my class out of which 15 are very weak in basic Maths. I would ike to sya that those 15 children have specifically gained a lot out of their programme.”]
-Jyoti Vijay Thakre, Grade 4 Class teacher, Tejaswini Primary school
“Unhe maths ke concepts ab behtar samajh mein atey hain aur wo unke liye English shabd istemaal karti hain. Main to unhe class mein Urdu mein batati hun but kaafi surprised ho jati hun jab wo English mein bolti hain. Ground par to unke chehron par confidence dekhte banta hai.”[They know and understand mathematical concepts better and even use English terms for them. I teach them the concepts in Urdu language and get really surprised when they use English terms for them. Their confidence is something to look out for when they are in the ground.”]
-Nausheen Fatima, Grade 4 Class teacher, Kamptee Urdu Girl School
“Main Khud Goverenmnet school ki padhi hui hun. Isliye main reality janti hun ki Maths kitna kathin hota hai. Hum Maths doosre subjects ki tarah bas learn karke chale jatey they. Concept nahi pata tha. EduKick se judne ke baad laga ki kaash aisa programme hamare time bhi hota, to humein kitni asani hoti.” [I have studied in a government school so I know the reality very well. It is very difficult to understand Maths and I found it difficult. We used to literally ‘learnt’ Maths like other subjects without knowing or understanding the concept. After associating with the programme, I have often wished that had we had such a programme during our times, Maths would not have been so difficult]
-Shrutika Amle, Coach, EduKick
Children, teachers and even EduKick coaches have unanimously agreed on the benefits that this programme has brought about in improving children’s learning abilities. The above voices and expressions beautifully capture the impact it has had on the benefactors and brings forth some subtle nuances that makes EduKick unique and special. Children learning Maths in the open and through games is definitely unique but the statement “Hamein bahar khule mein aur acchey se samajh mein ata hai”confirms the faith behind the design of this programme. In fact, reportedly there are schools like Tejaswini School, where not just grade 4 but other grades too have attempted to bring children out in the open for teaching various subjects. This speaks volumes about the kind of change that EduKick has set into motion. Teachers have experienced the benefits of teaching ‘in the open’ and some are even experimenting with it.
Children’s learning levels in Maths and English has definitely received a boost and has seen improvement over the months. This phenomenon was further corroborated by the end-line subject-based tests that were conducted in Feb 2018 at the end of the programme cycle.
- On an average, only less than 5% children tested were unable to answer either few or all questions in both Math and English. This is a huge improvement from the baseline data where almost 50% of students tested were unable to answer either few or all questions
- There is a clear improvement in the number of ‘correct answers’ vis-à-vis those attempted by children. Almost 95% children got most of the answers ‘right’ in both Maths and English. This too is a huge improvement when compared to the baseline data where concepts that seem to be most difficult for them were identifying odd-even numbers (219 children got it wrong while 242 did not answer), number line (327 children got it wrong while 307 did not answer), subtraction (460 children got it wrong while 194 did not answer)
- In English, there is a 25% improvement in children’s spelling and comprehension abilities. While in the baseline almost half the children fared badly in spellings and identifying objects and naming them correctly, the end-line data shows an improvement with almost 75% children giving correct responses.
Objective 2:Improving overall physical fitness of all participating children
Impact 3: improving physical fitness and instilling a habit of playing in 100 % of the participants
Yet another important component of EduKick is the focus it places on physical fitness for children. The programme attempts to design games that ensures running, kicking the ball, jumping and a lot of physical activities through innovative games. The idea behind this is to infuse the sessions with enough physical exercise that activates the brain and can help children think and reason better. The idea of teaching Maths, a subject that has had the stigma of being considered a ‘difficult’ subject, therefore becomes easy when children run and play along while mastering the mathematical concepts.
“Hamare school mein ye teen saalon se chal raha hai. pehle to ladkiyan bahar ja kar khelti hi nahin thin. Muslim society hai aur parda karti hain to shayad jhijhak thi inme. Par dheere dheere unme confidence ane laga. Ab to unhe football khelna bohat pasand hai. EduKick has been a part of our school since the past 3 years. Girls in this school rarely went out in the ground to play. It’s a Muslim community and they cover their heads so maybe there was some hesitation at their end. But as they played, their confidence received a big boost. Now they love playing football a lot.
-Md. Salim Taj, Headmaster, Kamptee Urdu Girls school
“Pehle hum football nahi khelte they. Didi-bhaiya se football khelna sikha.” [Earlier we did not play football in school. We learnt it from Didi-bhaiya]
– Harsha Ramrao- 13 years, 7th class, Zila parishad Kendriya Uchhaprathmikshala, Gumthala
“Pehle hamare school mein sports par utna focus nahi tha. Hum sports ke naam pe PT karate they ya fir Kho-Kho, Kabaddi khilwa dete they. Par ab football khelti hain bacchiyan aur kayi tarah ken aye naye games bhi seekh rahi hain. Earlier there was less focus on sports. PT in the form of light body stretches and exercises and kho-kho, kabaddi etc. were the only games we made children play. But now football and other new games that they teach has benefitted the girls in varied ways.
-Nausheen Fatima, Grade 4 Class Teacher, Kamptee Urdu Girls school
“Mere bacchey ghar mein andar hi khelte hain. Bahar jagah nahi hai. Bhaga daudi unki yehin hoti hai. Khelna to bohat zaroori hai hi. Wo mind ko fresh kar deta hai. Khelne ke baad hi bacchey acchey se padh sakte hain.”[My children don’t play at home. They play indoors because there is no place to play outside. All their running happens in school. Playing is very important as it refreshes the mind. It is only after play that children can study well.]
-Rizwana Parveen, Mother of a Grade 4 child from Kamptee Urdu Girls school
Mere hisaab se ye math sikhane se kayi zyada hai. Bacchon mein focus aur concentration bhi badha hai. Jaise ye jab koi number bolte hain, bacchon ko bhag kar ana hota hai. Isliye sab dhyan se sunte hain.According to me, this program does more than teaching just Maths through games. It helps children to focus and concentrate. For instance, when they call out a number and children have to run forth, they should be listening carefully to be able to do so. Hence, everybody is attentive.
-Asha Pramod Zilpe, Maths Teacher, Suradevi School
“Hamare bacchey itne strong nahin hain. Lekin running, pass dena, push karna ye sab acchey se karte hain. Issey inka heart strong banega aur ye physically strong honge. Ye ek bohat bada fayda hai. Ye programme bohat accha hai aur agey bhi lambe samay tak chalna chahiye tabhi iske fayde poori tarah se nazar ayenge.”[Our children are not very strong. But I have noticed that they run, pass and push the ball very nicely. This will make their hearts strong and they will grow up as physically strong people. This is an additional benefit. It is a very well designed programme and should be continued for a longer time for everyone to see its benefits.]
-Sunil Kumar Sharma, Headmaster, Zila parishad Kendriya Uchhaprathmikshala, Gumthala
Play is an intrinsic part of EduKick and it can be concluded from the above responses that not only teachers and children but even parents see the benefits of play. Sports and play are known to provide lifelong benefits for both the mind and the body. When seen in the context where the program is being run, the importance of play becomes even more important.
It is unfortunate that in India despite the Right to Education Act, 2010, not all schools have a playground. The problem is even more pertinent in schools that are located in the interior regions and difficult to reach areas. It is in this scenario, that EduKick has made efforts to locate safe open spaces in the vicinity of the schools where they work, to run their sessions. In addition to lack of playgrounds, yet another dimension of the problem is the total lack of importance given to sports in schools. Till this day, most schools only have a single PT period in their daily time-tables, sometimes only once or twice a week.There are no separate ‘sports’ period and children are often just left to play themselves. There are no designated sports teachers allocated to primary schools. Sports teachers are only provided middle school onwards. This shows the sheer negligence to something that is basic to every child, their ‘Right to Play’.
It therefore comes as no surprise that most of the teachers have been so welcoming towards a programme such as EduKick. They see it as a platform for change, where children are learning new games in an organized manner. Many also pointed out the ‘sense of discipline’ that it has instilled in children who are increasingly becoming well-behaved and learning to follow instructions when working as a group or team.
The narratives show that in most of the schools, certain traditional Indian games such as Kho-kho and kabaddi are the only forms of sports that is played. In few schools, while children had heard about the game of football, had never played it nor were they aware of the rules. As shared by Zoya Fatima aged 8 from Kamptee Urdu Girls’ School, “Pehle hum aise hi kuch bhi khelte they par ab zyada mazaa ata hai. Bhaiya bohat tarah ke khel khilate hain aur football bhi sikhate hain.”[Earlier we used to play just anything, but now it is more fun. Bhaiya makes us play different kinds of games and also teaches us football].
It is to be noted here that, while the benefits of play on children’s physical fitness has been corroborated by opinions shared by parents, teachers and coaches, EduKick was unable to design a method for measuring that data. The program team has planned to come up with a method that would help measure changes in children’s physical attributes with respect to agility, stamina, speed and heartbeat after sports-based activities in children, in the next phase of their intervention.
Objective 3: Improving life skills and facilitating personal development.
Impact 4: Improve attitudes, knowledge and behaviour in all children regarding basic life skills pertaining to health and hygiene, communication and leadership skills.
One of the most important consequences of the program was expected to be seen in terms of various life-skills that children learn and adopt as a part of their regular interaction with the coaches during their sessions. Few games directly pertaining to life skills development were also included in the EduKick manual. For instance, children through games were informed about the rights of every child (right to education, play, food, shelter, safety etc.). Similarly, children were also informed about the need to have healthy habits like washing hands before and after meals and using toilets, staying clean and taking bath every day, wearing clean clothes and eating healthy food.
Every EduKick session begins with a warm-up session where children sang songs or discussed something pertaining to some specific life-skill. This practice helped children learn something beyond Maths and English. The idea behind this practice was to use this opportunity with children in giving them something more in addition to subject-based knowledge.
“…inka programme chalne laga, bacchon ko bohat fayeda hua. Kuch jo chup rehte they, unhone bolna shuru kiya. Confidence bohat high hua hai bacchon ka. Ab wo class mein bhi sawal-jawab karte hain”I could see the benefits for children. Some who were very quiet, had started speaking up. Their confidence level had received a big boost. Now they have started asking questions in class as well.]
“Is programme se bacchon mein bolne ki shamta badh gayi hai. [This programme has helped children become confident and they are now able to speak and express better.]
-Rita Wadkar, Teacher,….
“Shuru mein ye hamse darte they. Utne frank nahi they. Lekin kuch sessions ke baad kaafi frank ho gaye. Ab to hamein dekhte hi bhaag kar atey hain aur high five detey hain.”[Initially they used to be scared of us and were not so frank. But overtime as we started taking the sessions, they started becoming frank with us. Now when they see us, they run to us to give high fives!
– Vishal Madan Gargelwar, 21 yrs, EduKick coach
The voices and narratives above indicate that EduKick has affected children in a variety of ways. While for some it has been a platform for speaking up and expressing, for many others it has been an opportunity to just be and enjoy the free play and personal time. For Bajrang, that one incident will prove to be a lifelong lesson on self-help. Overall, most of the teachers expressed that they unanimously feel that children have become more confident and inquisitive.
EduKick also tried to address some of the basic issues at community level with regard to gender dynamics within school. In most of the co-educational schools, it was observed that girls and boys stayed separate and would consciously never cross each other’s paths. Girls would never play with boys and vice-versa. This proved to be a big barrier for conducting the sessions.
Recounting her early days in the programme, EduKick coach Shivani Chaudhri says “Shuru mein jab hum bacchon ko circle banane ko bolte they, to ladke ek taraf aur ladkiyan ek taraf ho jate they. Us circle ko jodna hi challenge tha kyunki ladke ladki hath hi nahi pakadte they. Ye ek bada challenge tha. Hamein kuch maheene lag gaye isko theek karne mein.”[Initially whenever I’d ask children to form a circle, the boys would stand on one side and the girls on the other. The circle could never be made as they would not hold hands. This was a huge challenge and barrier to play. It took us months to change this attitude]. Similar incidents were recounted by almost all the coaches. Boys and girls would always hesitate to stand next to each other or hold hands. They never played together and girls often complained and boys were rash and picked up fights with them. To break this norm, the coaches consciously used various tactics to change children’s mindsets. “Ab kyunki unhe pata hota hai ki main mix group hi banwaungi, wo pehle se circle bana ke khade ho jate hain.”[Now after so many months of work, whenever I arrive they are always ready in a mix group circle, happily holding hands”]
“Dada humein ek saath khelne ko bolte hain. Waise hum ladkon ke saath nahi khelte. Hum ladkiyan baith kar baatein karte hain ya alag khelte hain.”- [Dada asks us to play together (girls and boys). But otherwise, we don’t play with boys. We mostly like to sit and chat or play separately.]
-Samiksha, 10, _____________
Key Findings and Analysis
- Teacher cooperation and programme ownership: While in most of the schools, EduKick coaches have made a headway with gaining teachers’ support and cooperation, there are still quite a few schools where this is lacking. It was expressed by almost all the coaches that in schools where the teachers are supportive and understand the programme’s philosophy, their work becomes simple. In some schools, teachers approach towards the programme and children was bothersome.
“Kuch teachers ke haath mein stick rehta tha aur ve bacchon ko daantne ke liye hi atey they. Unhe lagta tha yehi unka role hai. Bacchey khelte waqt shor karte they to we unhe daante they ya thappad maar dete they”, [Some teachers always carried a stick in their hand and scolded the children thinking it is their role to discipline them. Even when children would shout or scream during play, they would scold or slap them”] shares Shivani Chaudhri, a 21 year EduKick coach.
It took the coaches some time to work with the teachers and seek their full cooperation. The coaches used various techniques to befriend them and make them understand the programme goals. Shrutika Amle, a 19 year old coach shared the EduKick manual with one of her teachers and asked her to go through the games. She also requested few to assist them in organizing the children on ground without hitting or screaming but playing along with them.
“Mere ek school (Suradevi) mein teacher hamesha ground mein rehti hain aur khel seekhne mein bohat interest leti hain. Ek baar jab main akela thi aur bacchon ko do groups mein khel kara raha tha, to wo khud ja kar doosre group ko directions dene lagin. Unka ye support dekh kar mujhe bohat accha laga”[In one on my schools named Suradevi, there is a teacher who always joins me on ground and takes genuine interest in understanding the games. Once during session, I had to spilt the larger group into two sub-groups. This teacher came forward on her own and started leading the other group. Her support made me feel very good.”] shares EduKick coach Shubham Patil.