by Royal D'Souza
MUMBAI, MAY 19, 2017: The Teach India programme run by the CSR division of Times of India with British Council as the content and knowledge partner offered the 'English for Employability' course, which is a 120-hour programme, for underprivileged and the school dropout youth at Don Bosco Centre for Learning (DBCL), Kurla.
DBCL has been partnered with Teach India since July 2014 in conducting Spoken English programmes for the underprivileged. The seventh batch of 22 students, who initially registered for the programme, were given a written test and were interviewed by Bala, a reservist and trainer of Teach India on March 15.
Sessions, which ran from Monday to Saturday, began on March 21 and ended May 12. Edward Fernandes and Moksha, volunteers of Teach India, conducted the classes for the students. Sixteen students completed the course successfully. This was a special batch as of the sixteen students, five were Self Help Group (SHG) women members who had received skill and entrepreneurship training at DBCL and had started small businesses in their locality.
Seven students were Community Organisers (CO's) who are working as part-time workers in the MCGM poverty eradication department under Community Development Officers (CDO's) at ward level in Mumbai. Four were college going youth who wanted to develop their english language skills.
The module designed by Teach India focused on spoken and written english communication skills required in everyday situations, in customer services like retail and sales, travel and tourism and financial services. It also focused on grammatical accuracy, fluency, pronunciation and confidence. The 45-day long course enabled the participants to introduce themselves appropriately, greet others politely in person and over the phone, as well as to make and respond to polite requests in professional contexts.
The batch had many of the candidates above the age of 30. Some of them had left their education ten to twelve years back. The teachers conducted sessions using practical exercises so that all the participants could have equal opportunities to learn the language. At the valedictory function on May 12, fifteen students received their certificates.
"At this age getting the opportunity to come back to a well-known college, sitting in class and learning english was a dream for me. This class has given me confidence to express myself clearly. The teachers and all my colleagues supported me in completing this course. Overall it will help me improve my personality," Sangeeta Hire, CO said.
A SHG member, Manisha Katke added, "I have completed my graduation and now I am running my business in Ghatkopar. My daughter always speaks to me in english and I was not able to answer her in english. Now after joining this course I talk to my daughter in english everyday. I thank my teachers and this Don Bosco institute for giving me an opportunity to learn english."