Will the 2017 union budget for India create jobs

Teaching in India: a field report

In spring 2017, teacher Judith from Freiburg taught as a volunteer in the bridge boarding school of the fair childhood partner organization MV Foundation. Here she reports on unusual teaching methods, German-Indian differences and her experiences in Hyderabad.

Sitting on the plane to Hyderabad on the way to my location. I heard about the camps where former child laborers live through the GEW Fair Childhood Foundation. They are cared for and given lessons there. I will teach English in a so-called bridge camp. The Indian organization MVF - short for Mamidipudi Venkataranygaiya Foundation - works with the German organization Fair Childhood, among others. Brigde stands for the intermediate stage between child labor and resuming normal school attendance. I have taught at state secondary schools for 17 years and have not been in school for 2 years.

The view from the window shows an endless sea of ​​lights. Hyderabad is located on the Deccan plateau in central India. Two cities have merged into one, almost 12 million people live there.

Difficult arrival

In the arrivals hall, I'm looking for someone from the MVF organization holding up a sign with my name on it. After some searching, I discover my name "Judith". After a short greeting, he drives me to my accommodation, it's after 24 hours and there is still a lot of traffic. After a good 1.5 hours we are there - a quiet residential area. The homeowners have been waiting for me. A short welcome, I could have breakfast nearby and see you tomorrow. The son of the house shows me my room. I step in and the sight takes getting used to. Lots of bulky rubbish furniture with raised wooden joints, brown painted over with white, glued leg on one

Chest of drawers with a microwave on it, absurdly. The bathroom also takes getting used to, i.e. it could be cleaner. The son comes again and I ask for a floor mat and show him the condition of the room - he says they only got word today that I was coming. I know from experience that if possible, Indians shouldn't be addressed directly about a deficiency. So he just nods, shakes his head and at least comes back with a bast mat. The bedding is clean. It's almost 2 o'clock in the morning, the mosquitoes are buzzing through the room, with the last of my strength I find my mosquito repellent and, exhausted, sink onto the hard bed. The next day I pack my things. I'm not staying here. The lady of the house kindly invites me to breakfast because it was so late last night. She doesn't have time to show me around the neighborhood to show me the restaurants and shops - her daughter is visiting from the United States. The gardener cuts and waters the front yard, it looks like it has been leaked. A housekeeper, an elderly woman, rushes at him and throws a broom in front of the door. The man says nothing, takes the thrown broom and starts sweeping. Obviously the domestic servant has a higher status than him.

I am supposed to be picked up at 10 a.m. to be taken to the head office of the organization MVF - short for Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya Foundation. I'm sitting in the living room on time and thinking what to expect ... it's my first meeting with the MVF. I am learning the 1st lesson for all westerners: wait and don't get impatient. Indian time is different. Waiting, waiting. Shortly before 11 o'clock someone shows up. We exchange names and I point to my suitcase, which should be in the car. The man makes no move to pick up the suitcase and says something about Driver. I've forgotten that too: there is a strict hierarchical division of tasks in India. It does not occur to any Brahmin to carry a suitcase. This is something for the lower castes. Correct. He later tells me that he comes from the Brahmin caste. Caste or not, I want my suitcase with me, so I'll grab it and carry it out. The driver makes no move to get out of the air-conditioned car, although the person picking him up calls him. Now the garden boy has to serve. It is destined to carry my suitcase. At least the driver helps with loading. I find all of that very interesting.

The head office is in West Marredpally, Secunderabad, the city that has grown together with Hyderabad, in an apartment building on a side street. An elevator goes up from the underground car park - it has a pull grate, as we know it from French films. The office is really Indian with lots of sheet metal cupboards, piles of piled files and propellers on the ceiling. I am led through a towel curtain into a back room. Three men from the organization are waiting for me there. A fourth joins them. First of all, we feel a little about each other - ask each other about motivation and way of working. MVF ensures that children who are in employment go to school. From work to school. I ask how they deal with it, since the children also contribute to family income with their work. Dhananjay, one of the employees calls this the 'poverty argument' (where poverty is used as an argument). The poverty argument assumes that parents are not interested in sending their children to school. The opposite is the case, he says. When given the opportunity to send their children to school, welcome them with open arms, even if they are financially constrained. Often the parents simply do not know how to overcome the regulatory hurdles; how to obtain a birth certificate, proof of income or how to manage the registration procedure. Since most parents are illiterate, this is a major hurdle for them. They know how to get a child to work for an employer rather than how to register them for school. Another reason children don't go to school is social discrimination based on the caste system. Even the teachers look down on the children from the lower box and marginalize them socially: They are not given a school desk, have to sit on the floor, etc. In addition, there is social acceptance of child labor. So not going to school is easier and is accepted. MFV calls it 'social norm'. Yet surveys have shown that even in rural areas with poor education, 98% of parents are in favor of their sons going to school and 89% are in favor of their daughters going to school. When this hurdle is overcome, the children develop self-esteem and feel valued. These are good arguments that make sense to me.

Chest of drawers with a microwave on it, absurdly. The bathroom also takes getting used to, i.e. it could be cleaner. The son comes again and I ask for a floor mat and show him the condition of the room - he says they only got word today that I was coming. I know from experience that if possible, Indians shouldn't be addressed directly about a deficiency. So he just nods, shakes his head and at least comes back with a bast mat. The bedding is clean. It's almost 2 o'clock in the morning, the mosquitoes are buzzing through the room, with the last of my strength I find my mosquito repellent and sink exhausted onto the hard bed. The next day I pack my things. I'm not staying here. The lady of the house kindly invites me to breakfast because it was so late last night. She doesn't have time to show me around the neighborhood to show me the restaurants and shops - her daughter is visiting from the United States. The gardener cuts and waters the front yard, it looks like it has been leaked. A housekeeper, an elderly woman, rushes at him and throws a broom in front of the door. The man says nothing, takes the thrown broom and starts sweeping. Obviously the domestic servant has a higher status than him.

time is relative

I am supposed to be picked up at 10 a.m. to be taken to the head office of the organization MVF - short for Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya Foundation. I'm sitting in the living room on time and thinking what to expect ... it's my first meeting with the MVF. I am learning the 1st lesson for all westerners: wait and don't get impatient. Indian time is different. Waiting, waiting. Shortly before 11 o'clock someone shows up. We exchange names and I point to my suitcase, which should be in the car. The man makes no move to pick up the suitcase and says something about Driver. I've forgotten that too: there is a strict hierarchical division of tasks in India. It does not occur to any Brahmin to carry a suitcase. This is something for the lower castes. Correct. He later tells me that he comes from the Brahmin caste. Caste or not, I want my suitcase with me, so I'll grab it and carry it out. The driver makes no move to get out of the air-conditioned car, although the person picking him up calls him. Now the garden boy has to serve. It is destined to carry my suitcase. At least the driver helps with loading. I find all of that very interesting.

The head office is in West Marredpally, Secunderabad, the city that has grown together with Hyderabad, in an apartment building on a side street. An elevator goes up from the underground car park - it has a pull grate, as we know it from French films. The office is really Indian with lots of sheet metal cupboards, piles of piled files and propellers on the ceiling. I am led through a towel curtain into a back room. Three men from the organization are waiting for me there. A fourth joins them. First of all, we feel a little about each other - ask each other about motivation and way of working. MVF ensures that children who are in employment go to school. From work to school. I ask how they deal with it, since the children also contribute to family income with their work. Dhananjay, one of the employees calls this the 'poverty argument' (where poverty is used as an argument). The poverty argument assumes that parents are not interested in sending their children to school. The opposite is the case, he says. When given the opportunity to send their children to school, welcome them with open arms, even if they are financially constrained. Often the parents simply do not know how to overcome the regulatory hurdles; how to obtain a birth certificate, proof of income or how to manage the registration procedure. Since most parents are illiterate, this is a major hurdle for them. They know how to get a child to work for an employer rather than how to register them for school. Another reason children don't go to school is social discrimination based on the caste system. Even the teachers look down on the children from the lower box and marginalize them socially: They are not given a school desk, have to sit on the floor, etc. In addition, there is social acceptance of child labor. So not going to school is easier and is accepted. MFV calls it 'social norm'. Yet surveys have shown that even in rural areas with poor education, 98% of parents are in favor of their sons going to school and 89% are in favor of their daughters going to school. When this hurdle is overcome, the children develop self-esteem and feel valued. These are good arguments that make sense to me.

When the mood has eased a bit, I ask what their names mean. In India everything is related to the gods. No business, no office, no company, no house without a house altar. Bhaskar means sun and is another name for Lord Krishna; Dhananjay is another name for Arjun - the famous warrior from the Bhagavagita whose charioteer was Krishna. Jay means victory. Arvind is also called Aurobindo and means lotus - and indicates the divine lotus throne. I tell about my nightly accommodation and get understanding. We agree that Arvind will help me find suitable accommodation. He and two other men have lunch with me in a vegetarian restaurant - they speak Telugu in their local language. I do not understand a word. As is customary in the country, you eat with your fingers. Today I had a lot of local knowledge.

Back to Lesson 1: Patience, Patience.

After an unsuccessful search for suitable accommodation, I stay at the hotel where we had lunch: Belson's Taj Mahal Hotel. A great name. The condition of the rooms does not keep the promise, but is better than my first accommodation. The next day, an employee is supposed to take me to the bridge camp. Again at 10 o'clock I am in the lobby with a bunch of other men. But no one is there to pick me up. At 10.30 a man comes who speaks hardly any English and first speaks on the phone with his cell phone. Everyone in India does this at any time - be it while eating, in a meeting, in class, or while riding a motorcycle. Before it starts, he has made 3 phone calls and I'm standing by. How was the lesson: patience! Patience! Finally we leave the hotel and he goes to the next intersection on a main road. We are in the middle of the roaring traffic - as soon as an Indian drives around the corner, he honks, braking is not intended. If there is a traffic jam, it honks even more because it cannot go on. An insane number of vehicles zoom around the curve, honking their horns. I don't understand his approach - we could have taken a rickshaw right outside the hotel. But the Indian logic is not apparent to a European at first glance. Finally he manages to stop a rickshaw and we go to the train station with our horns. It's now 11.30 a.m. and we've been sitting at the train station for 45 minutes, the heat is increasing. He answers my question as to when the train will leave with some kind of time.

Back to Lesson 1: Patience, Patience. When we get to the camp after the train and another van ride, the children are in their classrooms and we go up to the office. There are five men sitting there, they are responsible for something, but I don't find out for what. Arvind came here from the head office especially because of me. Accommodation and budget issues seem difficult. Now four men are discussing the budget. Then they write a mail together with many interruptions, further conversations and cell phone calls. In between, one of the kitchen assistants comes with a large tin can and pours everyone a small tin cup of Chai, the Indian tea. Unfortunately, I cannot speak to the accountant who is not involved in the budget discussion, he hardly speaks English or I have difficulty understanding him. I get up and look through the barred window onto a garden with a clothesline and lots of rubbish. You see a lot of rubbish in India. At the same time there is constant sweeping. One of those Indian peculiarities. Due to the extensive discussion of my budget, the announced tour starts late.

Finally at school

The children have lunch break. There are only girls in the camp. Of course, they'll spot me right away. You are not shy, rather curious. Many want to shake hands with me. A cluster of girls stands around me in a short time. A very brave one asks: How are you? She and her friends giggle. Camp Swamy shooed them to eat. The kitchen wives cooked a giant tin saucepan with rice and a smaller saucepan with vegetables. They crouch on the floor behind the pots. Every child has a tin plate to line up with. You get a large ladle with rice and a small one with vegetables. To eat, they sit on the floor in a covered hall. For the adults, the staff, there is an extra pot of rice with two metal buckets full of vegetables and curd yoghurt. The South Indian food is heavily seasoned - very spicy. Everyone is concerned about whether I have enough to eat - the main thing I need is a spoon. Everyone else eats with their fingers. When the kitchen ladies hear my extraordinary request, they smile and shake their heads. One of them disappears into the kitchen and after a (waiting) time comes back with a small bent tin spoon. Thank you, she shakes her head again and I can eat. It tastes good, just very hot.

After the lunch break, around 15 girls sit in a circle on the floor of the multi-purpose hall and Venkat, one of the employees, has a frame drum in his hand. He practices singing and dancing with the girls. You get up and Venkat drums loudly. The girls perform a war dance - against exploitation and abuse. They perform expressive gestures and sing rhythmically - very impressive. The girls obviously enjoy it. I am thrilled and film it with my little camera. The dance is to be performed at an event. This is rousing propaganda.

I'm not used to the students thanking me. It would be worth trying in German schools ...

After endless car journeys through the big city traffic, we finally found a nice place to stay.I find that as a Westerner in a developing country like India, I need a resting point with minimal Western comfort and tranquility.

Lessons finally begin. In India everything is fluid - the traffic, the times ... As a German, I'm used to a strict structure and have to adapt first. I have arranged a lesson time with Bhaskar. The class teachers simply flow along. No class planner has to schedule substitute hours. They use the free time to talk on the phone, look through the children's notebooks or wash their hair. The class teachers live with the girls in the camp. They sleep together in their 'classroom'.

We start with the greeting: “Good morning girls from B-group.” “Good morning, teacher”, it echoes to me. “Thank you teacher”. I'm not used to the students thanking me. It would be worth trying in German schools ...

The girls look at me expectantly. We start with a personal greeting. “Hello, my name is… what's your name?” The children immediately repeat everything out loud - in chorus. Now they should take turns to introduce themselves and ask their neighbor for the name. That creates some difficulties. You are immediately supported and drowned out by other girls who get it. “Hello, my name is… What's your name?” It quickly becomes clear that the children repeat very well but have problems with independent work. My aim is for the girls to be able to form sentences. First of all, a subject is needed. We start with the personal pronouns. That works fine with writing on the blackboard and pointing to yourself and others and repeating each time. Individuals can independently recite the series I, you, he, she, it, we, you and they, while others do it better in a choir. It continues with the possessive pronouns, with stick figures drawn on the blackboard and a lot of body language. The girls are so observant. Shining eyes look at me. After copying them into your notebook, they come to me and I have to sign off their work. “Sign, madam,” they say. It is like with us when the children come from elementary school to secondary school and after every written entry a bunch of children stands around the teacher's desk. There is no desk and no school desks either. Everyone is sitting on the floor. They have a wooden clipboard for writing. Your personal belongings are stored in a metal box that is on the wall in the classroom. The room is also your bedroom. In one corner, the mats and blankets are stacked, which are rolled out in the evening and rolled up again in the morning. Nothing unusual for India.

Dancing goes well, the time is less

At the weekend the children and their supervisors were in the zoo. On Monday we enumerate animals whose names they know in English. The nursery rhyme “The zebra in the zoo” goes well with this - auditioning, repeating, with a lot of gestures and sounds. They enjoy it. The girls are enthusiastic about everything rhythmic. At the end of the class, they really want me to dance with them. They sing, stamp their feet and move gracefully. We end with a strong 'Hoh'.

When I start teaching English in a second group, they want to dance right away. Word got around quickly. Now I have to tame the enthusiasm a little and redirect it to language lessons. As a 'warm-up' you should fill in a 'spider web', the last letter of which is an R. Words like water, sister, etc. Before I asked one of the teachers to translate the words in Telugu. Here, too, the difficulty of finding out something for yourself. After some initial help, the girls begin to use the words. Two very smart students find even more words that end in R on their own. For cognitive relief there is now a poem: "Fishes swim in water clear ..." We get up and speak in chorus and perform the appropriate movements. Everyone is there again.

For the next day of class I brought my cardboard clock from class in 5th grade and small worksheets. "What's the time?" I introduce full, half and quarters. Full hour = o’clock can be created; with the names with half past and 20 to ... the children can no longer keep up. A quarter to I can forget. At half past 6 you name the digital time 6:30. I try the camp times: assembly time, where all the girls sit outside in the yard on the sand in the morning. First a prayer is said and then the teachers read to you from the newspaper. Obviously funny incidents, because they laugh a lot. This encourages the girls to read the newspaper. You like to read in the newspaper.

The next day I do another time repetition lesson. In Germany I did a lot of partner work in English class. This is not familiar to the Indian schoolgirls. After an exhausting hour, in which only 2-3 girls even roughly understood, I let the cardboard clock disappear into my backpack with a sigh. Too strenuous with too little gain in expression. We switch to the little story in her English book "A thirsty crow". The preliminary relief takes place via a panel painting and pantomime - everyone has the story in front of them and I read aloud. They like that very much. Then we read in turn. There, too, there are some problems with following the text. The classmates help them immediately. What you have to take into account is that not all girls in a group have been to school for the same length of time. Some only 2, others 4 and more years. One should also take into account the normal gradation in terms of interest, ability to absorb and remember, prior knowledge, etc. that one has in every class - also in Germany, where the school system is clearly structured. Brigde Camp - don't forget, it's about building a bridge. The children are not used to regular school attendance. The more they enjoy the privilege of having lessons. Many try hard. They also want me to sit on the floor with them. "Sit, madam, sit". They slide very close to me, gently touch my skin, examine my hair and nails. Everyone wants me to look at their notebooks and sign them. "Sign, Madam, sign." My intention that the students independently compare their work with a worksheet or the blackboard is a victim of this unusual, almost affectionate closeness ... They want direct attention and confirmation.

Once I prepared a little test to see if you could name the object pronouns introduced. The “test” turned out to be a ‘teacher surrounded by eager girls‘, who all waited eagerly for my answer “Read teacher, read.” It wasn't really intended that way. But they paid attention. Every teacher is happy about that, right?

Adventure temple festival

I'll come to camp on Monday, February 20th. Lessons are hardly possible. A temple festival is in progress. In addition, the singing echoes down from the mountain through clattering loudspeakers. Since the classroom of the B-group is also used as a lounge by many others - for combing, telephoning, changing babies, etc. - two women, unknown to me, sit there that morning and offer me to go up the mountain to the temple festival . How, just like that - instead of lessons? "Yes, madam, no problem, madam". The class teacher, who is also there, shakes her head in a friendly manner and signals to me to go along. The typical Indian caring begins. They worry about whether I can make the ascent in the midday heat. One wraps a damp cloth around my head, another supplies me with water. The third brings me coconut water to drink because it cools. There is a lot of talk again, until it starts, it has gotten hotter and hotter - in the sun well and happily around 40 °. I feel like a grandma you take on an arduous excursion. When crossing the street I am taken by the hand, when climbing over the large stone steps, they constantly shout: "Careful steps, are you o.k.?"

Honestly, so much caring is starting to strain me. When we get to the top, the ceremony is in full swing. Vishnu's marriage to two goddesses is celebrated. There is also an altar decorated with flowers. Already married couples can participate and receive a new blessing for their marriage. A nice custom. Two shirtless priests quote sacred mantras and continuously bless the couples present. The 'congregation' sits on plastic chairs around the podium. As everywhere in India, babies, children and cell phones are included. There is talk, phone calls and lots of children running around. I realize that I am piqued. How can one cause so much unrest while a sacred ceremony is being performed? In India - no problem. My companions always want to know from me whether I am okay. am Let me know when I want to go. I have to make a pretty shabby impression.

... then you get the blessed coconut back.

At the end of the Vishno celebration, a priest walks around among the audience and is given money if one wants a blessing for a loved one. As this is my mother's 92nd birthday, I ask a blessing for her. The priest gives a blessing to my mother for happiness and health. It doesn't really fit, but it's all about the gesture and the well-meaning energy. It fills me with joy to give her something in this way. As we leave, we come to a small side temple where other priests give blessings. We line up. You hand the priest a coconut under a doorway, which he opens inside the sacred space, he sprinkles and discusses it and adds flowers - then you get the blessed coconut back. I like such ceremonies and happily carry my gift downstairs to camp. Curious faces await me there. I put my nut in the 'common room' and go to another group, the C-group. Actually, this group doesn't belong to my 'classes', but the girls ask me every day, “Madam, come C-group?” Since I've put them off so often, I have to keep my promise to come to them at some point. Soaked from visiting the temple and going up and down in the midday heat, my schedule melted away - today I come C-group - after lunch break.

For the C-group I reserved an American nonsense children's rhyme. I got to know him in Freiburg, my hometown, during a dance theater piece 'Der Stamm' with women from Jerusalem. "From here to there, from there to here, funny things are everywhere. Blue fish, red fish, black fish, blue fish… “with sweeping movements, grimaces and pointing to the girls who are dressed in blue, red or dark, we speak the nursery rhyme in chorus. "Grandma Judith" is back on track and we have a lot of fun.

Days later, during the lunch break, the girls from the C-group come to me and say the rhyme - their brown eyes shine in the process. That reconciles me for all the teaching work, of which, I don't know, whether the students have received or kept them.

The next day, two MFV employees go on a trip to the villages in the Kurnool District. This is another area of ​​application for MVF and will be told another time.

Freiburg, April 2017