REC

RISHI VALLEY RURAL EDUCATION CENTRE

OVERVIEW | RIVER | SATELLITE SCHOOLS | PARTNERSHIPS | RECOGNITIONS

OVERVIEW

Rishi Valley Rural Education Centre (REC) consists of RIVER (Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources), a residential Middle School for students from the immediate neighbourhood and twelve ‘Satellite Schools’. While RIVER, along with two ‘Satellite Schools’, and the Middle School are located on REC’s 14-acre campus, the other ten ‘Satellite Schools’ are located in nearby hamlets.

Aims of the Programme are

  • To promote village-based education
  • To train teachers and teacher trainers in a multi-grade multi-level methodology (MGML) developed by RIVER
  • To publish instructional materials in the MGML methodology
  • To draw working children into the school system
  • To create green spaces around the school campus for the conservation of bio-diversity in general and medicinal plants in particular
  • To raise awareness of health, nutrition and sanitation
  • To actively involve the community in the day-to-day management of their children’s school

Multiple Editions of The School in a Box: An Historical Perspective

1988-1992
RishiValleySchool in a Box, first edition, in Telugu. Language Kit for Class I-V and Math Kit for Class I-III, with teaching aids and Ladder of Learning. Designed and developed by RIVER team. Field-tested for five years in Rishi Valley Satellite Schools. Published 1993. Read more...

For further information contact Director of River at: yaprao@rishivalley.org.

RIVER - INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE

Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources (RIVER) is the teacher training and resource development wing of Rishi Valley Rural Education Centre. It is located on 14 acres of land on the Rishi Valley campus. Read more...

SATELLITE SCHOOLS

We run a network of 12 satellite schools, 10 of which are located in remote villages not served by government schools.  These are elementary schools, located on land donated by the community or on government land.  With major inputs from the community and from students, the land around the school, which in some cases covers as much as half an acre, is fenced off, landscaped to prevent erosion, and planted with fruit trees, and flowering bushes. After several years of continuous planting each village school now is a green public space in which all the inhabitants of the village have a stake.

Each Satellite School serves as resource centre for the village in which it is located. Adult literacy programmes, integration of local traditional arts in the form of puppet shows, health and nutrition projects converge in this location. The Satellite Schools use the multi-grade methodology (MGML) developed by RIVER.  

Satellite Schools are gradually extending their reach through interaction with Government Schools, and helping organize reading workshops, metric melas (mathematics festivals) among other joint activities.

Satellite Schools are part of the RIVER’s school network, in addition to doubling up as sites for hands on training in the MGML methodology.  Student teachers learn the necessary skills of the multi-level classroom by observing and then actually working in multi-level classrooms.

OUR CAPACITY BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS

The Nalli Kalli Programme in Karnataka : In 1994, teachers from Karnataka were invited to observe the Satellite Schools. They were encouraged to evaluate both positive and negative aspects as they saw them, and then to adapt what was suitable to their own context. Eventually, with resource support from RIVER, a Core Group from HD Kote taluk developed its own self-learning material in Kannada, and trained their teachers in its use. Currently they are using the multigrade methodology in several thousand schools over six taluks of Mysore District.

Tribal Schools in Andhra Pradesh : In 1996, three nodal agencies, the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), UNICEF and RIVER collaborated in planning, coordinating and implementing an ambitious programme in the Tribal Districts of Paderu and Rampachudavaram. RIVER undertook three major areas of responsibility for implementing the programme: creating multi-grade educational materials that would incorporate local culture; imparting multigrade technology to Mandal Resource Persons (MRP) who would in turn teach local teachers and maabadi volunteers; and helping to network a monitoring system for schools. Paderu and Rampachudavaram are inaccessible tribal areas of A.P. Before the intervention, female literacy rates were 15% and male literacy rates were 17%; and 70% of students were dropping out before reaching Class 5.

Kerala: When DPEP Kerala decided that the RIVER methodology was well suited to remote tribal and coastal pockets of Kerala, a similar exercise in transcreating the Educational Materials for use in Malayalam dialects was undertaken. This World Bank sponsored collaborative venture between a team of teachers and resource persons from DPEP Kerala and RIVER resulted in an attractively designed regional medium Malayalam package. RIVER trained resource persons to use the multilevel materials. The thirty multigrade centres in remote and educationally backward areas of Kasargode, Mallapuram and Wayanad Districts are functioning in Kerala, and have grown to almost seven hundred, as expansion plans continue.

Pondicherry: The Isaiambalam school of Sri Aurobindo International Institute at Pondicherry has been interacting with RIVER since 1997 in developing teaching-learning materials in Tamil.

Uttar Pradesh: In 1997 District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) Uttar Pradesh (World Bank project) worked with RIVER to produce materials in Hindi and to build multi-level teaching capacities. Teacher training and field support was also developed for implementation of the multi-grade methodology in sixty alternative schools in the two districts of Lakhimpur Khiri and Sone Bhadra. Currently the methodology has been scaled up to another three districts covering 2000 schools.

Government of India - UNICEF in cooperation with RIVER : In a very welcome move the Government of India and UNICEF, with RIVER as a Technical Partner, launched a Quality Package Project in the year 2004, with the aim to provide an integrated package of quality education to children in approximately one thousand schools in each of twelve states. This project was part of the Sarva Shisksha Abhiyaan (SSA), a programme for universalisation of Quality Elementary education, involved the use of Rishi Valley Milti-Level Multi-grade (GML) methodology in around 12,000 schools.

Formal Schools Partnership in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh: Under the auspices of SSA and Janashala UNICEF, RIVER has collaborated with teachers working in two districts of Deogarh and Girideh of Jharkhand and two districts of Krishna and Godavari of Andhra Pradesh in designing multi-grade teaching/learning materials focusing on quality reading programme.

Tamil Nadu: In 1998, the Multi-grade Task Force of DPEP Tamil Nadu began working with the RIVER methodology in one thousand pilot schools across the state. As part of this initiative, hundreds of Metric Melas were organized in the pilot project area. In addition, the North Arcot Ambedkar District administration, where large numbers of children work in beedi mundies, chose the RIVER approach in their forty-seven Non-Formal Education (NFE) Centers. In collaboration with the RIVER faculty, volunteers of the Arivoli Iyyakkam created Tamil multi-grade materials during the Designers’ Workshops conducted at Rishi Valley. Currently the programme is implemented in all the Corporation Schools in Tamil Nadu.

Chhattisgarh : The programme has now spread to several districts withn the state. With enthusiastic support from the Management of SCERT, which plays a crucial role in successful upscaling of the methodology in any State, Chhattisgarh, in a relatively short period of time, had made significant progress in the implementating the methodology.

West Bengal : In May and June 2010 RIVER personnel conducted a training programme for Government School Teachers of Howrah District of Bemgal. The programme, which was titled Sakkriota Bhittick Shikhon, was aimed at communicating the multi-grade methodology to a core group of teachers. RIVER guided the Bengal team in creating levels 1 to 3 learning materials.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM): In 2011 RIVER collaborated with MCGM in a landmark ‘School Excellence Program.’ In a pilot programme, RIVER trained a Core Team of 50 high calibre Teachers and assisted them in developing curricular materials contextualized for use in Mumbai Corporation Schools. UNICEF sponsored the programme.

Other Initiatives in Assam, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Prades and Rajasthan. In 1997 teachers and trainers from the districts of Chandrapur, Yavathmal and Amaravathi in Maharashtra attended school-strengthening programmes conducted at Rishi Valley and sponsored by UNICEF. Since late 1998, DPEP Educational Consultants and DIET faculty members from a few Districts in Assam have been working with RIVER consistently for strengthening their multigrade school projects. RIVER has also undertaken a project for Catholic Relief Services and their partners in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra and Rajasthan to design multigrade programmes in Hindi and Telugu and conduct training courses for teachers and resource persons.

International Initiatives: Programmes for educational groups in Ethiopia, Peru, Germany, the Sierra Leone and Pakistan, are currently being worked out. RIVER has been approached by agencies in Thailand, Nepal, Spain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Columbia and Maldives, to study its materials and methodology for its potential applications in their countries. Collaborative Education Projects modeled on the RIVER approach have already been initiated for primary school children in southern Ethiopia.

Academic Collaborations : As part of RIVER’s endeavour to understand the implications of multi-grade education systems in more diverse communities, and to benefit from the contemporary pedagogical theories and practices, it is building connections outside the country. University of Regensburg in Germany and University of Metz in France have initiated long-term collaborative projects with RIVER including placement of students from their universities in RIVER projects. Already around sixteen faculty members and students have made three annual trips to RIVER since 2003. Rama and Padmanabha Rao, co-directors of RIVER, spent six weeks in Europe in April and May 2005 giving seminars at both the universities. In collaboration with RIVER a group of students and staff from the Harvard Business school and the Graduate school of Education at Harvard University have undertaken efforts to try and build a sustainable rural school in northern India as part of this field study course.

AWARDS AND PRIZES

Rishi Valley Education Centre won the Jindal Prize for 2011 for the Multi-grade Multi-level methodology developed at RIVER (Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources). The prize is for achievements in education, with a special emphasis on value educaiton. The citation accompanying the prize is given below.

RIVER won the Global Development Network (GDN) Award for 2004 on January 26, 2005. The Award was given in recognition of the Centre’s work in its rural schools, its teacher training programmes and the multi-grade multi-level methodology developed for meeting the needs of children belonging to the underprivileged sections of society. The Centre’s integrated approach treats schools as resource centres for the community. 

Regenerating landscapes, conserving bio-diversity and local cultures are built into a vision that places the child at the centre of classroom activities, and works towards community ownership of schooling. Rishi Valley’s educational practices have been adopted in many thousand government and non-government schools located in India’s linguistically diverse states and in Ethiopia.

The prize is sponsored by the Government of Japan and awarded for “The Most Innovative Development Project 2004.” 

“The award is open to all development projects in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the transitional economies of Europe and Central Asia

The criteria against which projects are judged include:

  • The degree of innovation and the potential for broad application of the project in other countries
  • The social impact of the idea on development issues
  • The cost performance
  • The replicability of the project
  • The potential for capacity building
  • Level of local ownership in the project

Projects can cover any topic, no thematic restriction applies to this award. 

In 2009, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship presented The Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, India Winner to the Co-Directors of RIVER, Rama and Padmanabha Rao.

Rishi Valley Education Centre won the Jindal Prize for 2011 for the Multi-grade Multi-level methodology developed at RIVER (Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources). The prize is for achievements in education, with a special emphasis on value educaiton. The citation accompanying the prize is given below.

RIVER won the Global Development Network (GDN) Award for 2004 on January 26, 2005. The Award was given in recognition of the Centre’s work in its rural schools, its teacher training programmes and the multi-grade multi-level methodology developed for meeting the needs of children belonging to the underprivileged sections of society. The Centre’s integrated approach treats schools as resource centres for the community. 

Regenerating landscapes, conserving bio-diversity and local cultures are built into a vision that places the child at the centre of classroom activities, and works towards community ownership of schooling. Rishi Valley’s educational practices have been adopted in many thousand government and non-government schools located in India’s linguistically diverse states and in Ethiopia.

The prize is sponsored by the Government of Japan and awarded for “The Most Innovative Development Project 2004.” 

“The award is open to all development projects in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the transitional economies of Europe and Central Asia"

The criteria against which projects are judged include:

  • The degree of innovation and the potential for broad application of the project in other countries
  • The social impact of the idea on development issues
  • The cost performance
  • The replicability of the project
  • The potential for capacity building
  • Level of local ownership in the project

Projects can cover any topic, no thematic restriction applies to this award. 

In 2009, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship presented The Social Entrepreneurs of the Year, India Winner to the Co-Directors of RIVER, Rama and Padmanabha Rao.

ABOUT THE STAFF

Y. A. Padmanabha Rao and Rama Rao: Both have MA degrees in English (Kakatiya University 1984) and Postgraduate Diplomas in Education (Central Institute of Languages, Hyderabad 1985). They joined Rishi Valley as teachers in 1987, and since 1988 have been jointly in charge of the Rural Education Programme. Their work has been described in a number of publications, including Bringing Within Reach: A Document on Universalization of Girls' Education (UNICEF, 1997); “Rishi Valley and Human Ingenuity," a chapter in Robert Kaplan's Ends of the Earth (Random House 1996); in the Spanish magazine, Human Planet: Ideas to Change the World, August 1999 (article by Nuria Verde); and "A Valley of Learning" by Julia Ponson in Resurgence Sep-Oct, 1998.

Padmanabha and Rama Rao have participated in international conferences on education and interacted with groups from Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Maldives on educational matters.

Both Padmanabha Rao and Rama Rao are fellows of Ashoka, 'a global non-profit organization that invests in social entrepreneurs around the world. Ashoka pioneered the "social venture capital" approach in international development.'

M.S. Sailendran: MA, ACA, Member of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Finance Manager, Rishi Valley Education Centre and Associate Coordinator of Rural Centre Activities. In addition to these responsibilities, Mr. Sailendran serves as supervisor of the Centre's Conservation and Reforestation Project, and as Co-Director of is Building Design Committee.

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