Bolo English, a charitable project, took a vow to empower Children from low-income communities with Spoken English Skills. The initiative, which is in its third year, has reached out to three lakh students and 10,000 teachers.
Addressing 60-plus School Leaders of low-budget schools in a city hotel on Monday, Mr Rohan Joshi, Director, Project Bolo English said it is one of its kind project in India, being rolled across eleven states: Telangana, Haryana and Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and others.
“As we know, there is a high aspiration for English language proficiency in India, especially among its low and middle-income families. This aspiration is supported by global research that establishes that there is a high wage premium attached to even a basic fluency in English,” said Rohan Joshi. “Educators from all over India share the challenge that despite several efforts from the teachers, principals, and parents, students do not speak fluently in English. Employers, on the other hand, often complain that fresh graduates that appear for job interviews lack English communication skills. Project Bolo English addresses this challenge,” he added.
In Telangana alone, the project has reached 50,000 students. One lakh more students are aimed to be reached by the beginning of the next academic year, he said. It is an initiative of the Centre for Civil Society, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) and TRSMA, Telangana Recognised School Management Association.
The Centre for Civil Society is an independent, non-profit, research and educational organization devoted to improving the quality of life for all citizens. The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) is a platform that brings together budget private schools (BPS) from across the country to give them a unified voice to address their concerns.
“The students studying in budget schools are deprived of good English skills. One reason is that 85 per cent of teachers who teach English in these schools have the same level of English proficiency as students. You don’t go to school to teach English if you know good English, as you may have excellent career opportunities outside the teaching,” Rohan said. He said they aim to reach 5 lakh students with this project by the end of this academic year.
The project is supported by renowned philanthropic entities, namely, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Procter and Gamble CSR, and The Rising Tide Foundation. Remarkably, the project is featured by the United Nations in its film ‘A World We Want’ – a film that showcases select initiatives supporting girl students from low-income families during the pandemic.
The workshop which was held in a hotel in Secunderabad was attended by over 60 school leaders. Besides Hyderabad, the project Bolo English is also rolled out in Karimnagar, Ranga Reddy, Khammam and Warangal Districts.
“English is a global communication language. It is the language of the internet. With English skills, they will be in a better position to secure good jobs. It is the language of employability. That is why learning to speak well from childhood is very important,” Mrs Aruna, Principal of Hayagreeva School, said.