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English Medium School and Kindergarten in Cochin

Internship and Volunteering Possible
Volunteer placements and internships are possible at the school and kindergarten of the "Leo English Medium Public School" at the village of Chellanam, located about 12 km south of Cochin. It is a professionally managed, large school, which also allows children from poor families access to education.

Project Details

This private charitable school is of highest educational standard, accredited by the Central Government of India. All classes (except Hindi and Malayalam) are held in English. The students' age is 5.5 to 15 years. The school currently has around 30 teachers. In the term of 2013/2104, around 400 students were inscribed; the number of students, however increases every year by around 100 students, as more children are admitted at the entry level. The aim is to reach 1000 students, for whom the facilities already exist.
Volunteers and interns can teach English, history, biology, geography, general knowledge, environmental sciences, IT and sports, either on their own or together with a local teacher. They have to follow the Indian syllabus.
The school has teachers who, within their subject, specialize in a certain area, e.g. in case of languages, some specialize in grammar, or in mathematics some specialize in geometry or trigonometry. These teachers then teach this specific area throughout all age groups. Volunteers/interns can be utilized in the same way.
For 2 hours every afternoon, there are extra curricular classes such as music, dance and foreign languages, which is also something that volunteers and interns can teach.
Popular sports in India are cricket and football (soccer). The school is explicitly looking for professional coaches of these sports.
The 2-years of kindergarten is for children aged 3 - 5.5 years. In the first year, the children only play, including playing with sand and clay, and drawing. In the second year, they start to learn letters and numbers.
It is expected that volunteers and interns stay at the school just as the local teachers, from Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. They spend 4.5 hours teaching and one hour studying at the library.
Group activities and interaction with the students are appreciated.
Boys and girls are taught together in all subjects (including sports). The ratio between boys and girls is around 3:1, which is due to the fact that amongst the rural population, there are still many more boys than girls because of gendercide - as the family of the bride has to pay a high marriage portion (dowry), girls are less desirable and often get aborted. Also, for safety reasons (they have to reach the school by bus) families from the neighbouring villages often prefer to send boys to this school than girls (who instead attend the government-run school at their village).
The school is closed in April and May; there are two weeks of Christmas holidays in December as well.
Foreign volunteers/interns can start at any time (except during the school holidays) and the duration is flexible; the school however prefers a start at the beginning of a new term, which is in June or in December, and prefers a duration of 5-6 months (one term).
Volunteers/interns can stay at a house of good standard at walking distance from the school, which, including meals, is 4500 Rupees per month (around 54 EUR / 75 USD); the cost for water and electricity, which in case of a non-AC room is only 150 Rupees per month (around 1.80 EUR / 2.50 USD), needs to be paid additionally.
There are small shops at the village selling all basic products; they are open every day from around 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. The village is well connected to Cochin by bus, which takes around 90 minutes to the city center of Cochin-Ernakulam and costs 25-30 Rupees (0.30 EUR / 0.40 USD); the southern parts of the city, where one can find large shops, can be reached in 40 minutes only.
The school is run by the Leo family, whose father is from the village. About 50 years ago, he moved to Mumbai without any major education and with very small means, and made a fortune as a builder. He constructed the school to give children from his village and the neighbouring villages, the chance to receive a good education and to succeed in life. In India, children from the countryside often have an inferiority complex because of lower education, unfamiliarity with "modern India" and a lack of English language skills. With the "Leo English Medium Public School", the Leo family looks to change this situation. Currently, the school is run as a charitable offer, which does not cover its own operational costs, but is subsidized by other business activities of the family. The students only pay fees that they would pay for a government school, which is affordable by all families from the villages. The plan is to get such a good reputation for the school, that wealthier families from other cities decide to send their children to the school, and to add a boarding option. The idea is to be able to finance the education for the village children through the school fees of these boarding school children.
Info Box
Location: Chellanam (Cochin), Kerala (India)
Availability: All year, Start date flexible
Minimum Duration: 1 Month
Maximum Duration: 12 Months
Language Requirements: English
Further Languages Of Advantage: -
House near the school (food included)
Supervision Possible: Yes
Qualification Of Supervisor: Teacher
Minimum Qualification of Intern:
Relevant experience or education
Further Contribution To Project: None
Volunteering Possible: Yes
Required Qualification For Volunteer: Teacher
Further Contribution To Project: None
Professional Conduct, Do you have the "right" attitude?

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