Brendan Hughes, CanEducate Board Member, recently visited Pragati Wheel, the school in Delhi, India that CanEducate has supported for the past two years. Below is his first-person blog about his experience.
While visiting Delhi, I had arranged to be picked up to visit Pragati Wheel, a school which for the past two years has been supported by CanEducate. The school called in about 70 students on a Sunday just to greet me. Could you imagine the reaction if a school in Canada or the United States asked their student population to come in on a Sunday to greet a financial supporter?!? The children displayed shining smiles despite having more difficult life circumstances than I could ever imagine. This goes to show how appreciative they are of the support that organizations such as CanEducate have provided.
In just 12 years of existence, Pragati Wheel has grown from 30 to 300 students. The students are drawn mostly from a nearby neighborhood where they live in houses that are essentially makeshift huts that I saw first-hand as I traveled to the school. Just getting these children into a school environment and providing them with food is a major victory. Every now and then you have a life-changing experience; and this was one of them for me.
India has made great strides in recent years when it comes to education. For example, the 2018 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) reported that the enrollment of children in the age group 6-14 has reached 97%. Despite the tremendous progress on this front, a recent ASER report which collected data from 596 districts in India shows that one in two students (50.3%) in Indian schools lack basic reading ability not just of their own grade but also of those of three levels below. The next area of focus when it comes to Indian education will be on improving the quality of the education. Just the fact that we are even discussing steps such as this shows you how far the Indian education system has come with the support of organizations like CanEducate.