Teacher Selection

The teacher selection process falls under the responsibility of the volunteer village committee. The first step is to identify two people within the village that they believe would make good teachers. These two prospective teachers attend an initial 5-day training where they learn how to motivate local children to join the Ekal school and how to keep them engaged with activities. Next, each teacher recruits 15-20 children and spends two months playing fun games to excite them about the idea of school. After these two months, the village committee evaluates and chooses one out of the two teachers as the sole teacher, and combines both groups of children to make a 30-40 student school. The majority of teachers tend to be unmarried, females between 16-22 years old, creating a retention issue since they are likely to leave the village once married. However, selected teachers are committed to staying in the village for at least three years to provide consistency for the students. The volunteer village committee also looks for dedicated and service minded teachers who value and embrace the “build a better India” idea. This patriotic motivation rather than monetary compensation allows for the low teacher salaries.

Teacher Training

Since the average Ekal teacher has below a 10th grade education level, it is necessary to provide a four month training to ensure that each teacher is qualified to teach. Ekal incorporates guidelines from India’s National Council of Education Research Training to enhance training. The Central Education Committee trains 22 Master Trainers (1 for each state) twice a year for 10 days. These Master Trainers are then responsible for training their team of state trainers twice a year for 5 days, and this information is passed on to the local teachers in 3 separate sessions a year. The state level trainers are on the road 20-25 days per month. The Central Education Committee evaluates the quality of the trainings by regularly visiting sessions and conducting biannual evaluation meetings at the regional level.

For local teachers, the training sessions include the 5 day initial training before each school year, a 10 day practical training 3 months into the school year, and a 1 day training session every month. These trainings include not only the teaching of the core subjects, but also learning personality development, national history, and regional tradition. Ekal has recently begun thinking about implementing computers for both teacher and student education.