Techie Santosh Talghatti quits his job to launch Global Classroom Initiative in schools
Having realised the gap in education in India, 33-year-old techie Santosh Talghatti decided to chalk a programme that will bring about innovative changes in training, curricula, learning materials, learning processes, learning outcomes, assessment and monitoring systems and quality of teaching and learning. Having completed his studies under the traditional form of education, the developer of software system in Bengaluru, moved to Pune 10 years ago with the aim to digitally empower the rural parts of Maharashtra.
Putting his IT knowledge and dream to see change together, Santosh started the Global Classroom initiative under his educational consultancy firm eLMNOP. Overcoming one challenge at a time, be it learning Marathi, convincing parents to send their children to schools or ensuring that villagers took the education of their children seriously, Santosh has managed to empower thousands of teachers across Maharashtra and digitise five villages in Pune with many more lined up.
Impressed with his efforts, Maharashtra government has suggested that 1,500 government-run schools across the state could adopt Global Classroom initiative under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative. The government support has boosted Santosh’s morale and a few corporates are already on board.
INTEGRATED EDUCATION SYSTEM
The model classroom that Santosh envisage will not only enable a well-rounded education but also boost the morale of children and build their confidence. His initiative brings experts on different subjects from across the globe to rural classrooms. “This section is included in their regular school schedule itself. The fifth, sixth and seventh graders are clubbed together while the eighth, ninth and tenth grade students form another group. Students are given academic lectures which include science, math, English and Information Communication Technology. Then there is value education and inspirational lectures as well,” he said.
What Santosh has realised in the last one-and-a-half-year since he started the Global Classroom initiative is that children are just waiting for an opportunity to think out of the box. Students always have questions after experts talk on any topic at an interactive session. “This is the kind of education system that a country can be proud of. Maan village near Hinjewadi is an example of having developed and blossomed under this initiative,” he said.
“Global Classroom initiative is a model initiative to widen the reach of students and teachers living in rural parts of Maharashtra. As it is majorly a CSR activity, the load on the government is also reduced considerably. Apart from the occasional connectivity issue and difficulty in convincing people of things that are generally new, the entire programme has the potential to do wonders,” said Under Secretary (School Education) Reena Phansekar.
Santosh said that the initiative has resulted in improving students’ communication skills, understanding of various academic concepts and ability to share thoughts and reflect their artistic skills. “Even the experts from across the world are enjoying the interactive sessions with students,” said Santosh, who himself holds training workshops for teachers.
Global Classroom initiative involved changing mindsets and invited opposition. Since the target audience is children, it is relatively easy to bring about the change in terms of value education. The challenge was in convincing gram panchayats or teachers who are trained under this initiative to accept the idea. Lack of proper infrastructure in schools also was a hindrance. “We set up computer on a drum in one of the schools as it did not have table or chair as children sit on floor.”
“Before setting up Global Classroom initiative in our school we had an in-depth discussion on what would be beneficial for students. We chalked a schedule and are happy with the results. This initiative is a great way to educate children in a more interactive format,” said Haribhau Narayan Waghulkar, principal of the Zila Parishad Prathamik School in Hinjewadi.