Let’s understand more about this project and how this project raises the standards of education - by Mr Jaryll Chan, Division Director, Singapore International Foundation (SIF)
1. What was the objective of the Singapore-India Teacher Training Project?
The Mathematics and Science Curriculum Enhancement Project is a five-year capacity-building initiative organised by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and Parikrama Humanity Foundation.
The project aimed to raise teaching standards of Mathematics and Science in Karnataka through knowledge sharing between educators in Singapore and Karnataka and in turn, improve access to quality education for children in the community.
To achieve this, a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) from the education sector conducted a series of workshops where the Indian teachers upskilled themselves and increased their subject content knowledge. They also learnt to facilitate interactive and engaging classes which help to increase students’ interest in the subjects.
2. Please share a brief about the inception of the project and what were the key findings? Kindly enlighten us about your collaboration with Parikrma Humanity Foundation.
Parikrma Humanity Foundation has been a long-time friend of the SIF, having previously partnered for a nutrition project from 2014 to 2016. Through the partnership, 1,000 Indian mothers learnt from Singaporean nutritionists how to make more nutritious yet affordable meals for children.
The 11th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER 2016) indicated a negative trend in arithmetic levels among Karnataka students. This presented a pressing need to improve the quality of primary level Mathematics and Science education in the Indian state, which sparked the second collaboration between the SIF and Parikrma Humanity Foundation.
Parikrma Humanity Foundation provides quality education through five schools which cater to children from 100 urban slums and four orphanages and has adopted another six government schools. Their dedication and the incredible work they have done thus far made them the SIF’s choice partner for the Mathematics and Science Curriculum Enhancement Project.
Leveraging Parikrma’s networks, the SIF was able to extend the project to include teacher participants from both government and Parikrma schools, which has helped further broadened the project’s impact.
3. How has this benefited the students and educators in Bangalore? And what has been the impact so far?
To date, the project has benefitted about 58,700 educators and students in Karnataka. A project evaluation conducted by the SIF in June 2023 found that the new teaching approaches that the Indian teachers learnt during the workshops have allowed them to engage students more effectively and encouraged greater inquisitiveness in them.
The teachers now prioritise developing students’ problem-solving processes and skills over the memorisation of facts. This is supported by the effective implementation of tools and everyday objects as teaching aids to help students understand new concepts better.
Additionally, there is an improved development of critical thinking skills when students are guided to explore and analyse different solutions to each problem. Classes are also designed with more opportunities for group discussions, which encourage students to hone core 21st-century competencies such as communication, collaboration and reasoning skills, and collective decision-making.
4. After the introduction of this project, is there a next phase in the pipeline?
Sustainability is always at the core of the SIF’s projects. Among the 160 Indian teacher participants of this project, 46 have been selected as Master Trainers who subsequently trained other teachers in their communities. This train-the-trainers approach ensures that the project’s impact extends beyond its conclusion.
5. Besides Bangalore, are there any other markets in India that you are looking to introduce this project?
The SIF embarks on projects in collaboration with a suitable local host partner only after a careful assessment of their needs, rather than just being locality driven. This is done through an in-depth feasibility study and discussions to develop a project scope tailored to their needs. Additionally, we must be able to find volunteers with the right kind of expertise to meet those needs. This ensures that every SIF project brings about a genuine, meaningful, and sustainable impact to the local community.
The SIF is always open to working with other Indian organisations if we receive a request and we are able to locate the relevant volunteer expertise to meet the host partner’s needs.
6. Please share your thoughts on how SIF is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The SIF’s work contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our programmes in four focus areas which we have identified that Singapore can contribute to enrich lives and effect positive social change. These focus areas are arts and culture, business and livelihood, healthcare, and education, which the Mathematics and Science Curriculum Enhancement Project is a great example of.
Since 1991, the SIF’s work has impacted more than 16 million lives, and we could not have achieved this without the valued partners and friends who have joined us in uplifting communities and effecting change. The SIF believes strongly in the power of collaboration for good, and we are privileged to work with like-minded partners who share our goal of building a better world.