Kirsten Anderson '00 will use her Wall Alumni Service Award to support her work as a William J. Clinton Service Fellow at AID India in Tamil Nadu, India.
English has been a co-official language in India since Independence and continues to be a national link language of the educated and elite, fostered by the private English-medium schools they typically attend. Disadvantaged populations, however, attend government, or vernacular-medium schools, where English is a subject taught a few times a week. Ultimately, this dual education system results in a linguistic gap when students enter higher education, which is predominantly English-medium. Recently, the state of Tamil Nadu has put an increased focus on English education, aimed at narrowing the bilingual gap, but resoruces are limited and teachers often lack fluency in English. Kirsten's project wil provide primary-age students with tools to begin reading throug ha time-bound English phonics module. The Wall Alumni Service Award will help subsidize Kirsten's work as a William J. Clinton Fellow. In addition, it will provide funding for the implementation of the program, which will be tested in 50 rural and urban goverment schools under the auspices of AID India, an education NGO based in Tamil Nadu. Lastly, the award will allow for the designing and printing of a teacher's guide, flashcards, picture cards, story cards, a blending tool, activity workbooks, game boards, and the production of a DVD. Based on initial evaluation results with a focus class, it is expected that this program wil improve the reading skills of thousands of children across the state of Tamil Nadu.