Madhi Foundation in Tamil Nadu-An Educational Startup
Madhi is a Tamil word for ‘Knowledge’. The Madhi Foundation was started in 2015 by Merlia Shaukath. Whereas coming to her previous experience nearly she spent two and half-years at Teach For India and her first role as an operations associate and the second role as government relations manager. These roles gave her a rare opportunity: “It took me to classrooms, but it also gave me the chance to interact with people within the system. A lot of my skills today were honed during that time,” by Merlia.
Holding a Master’s degree in governance and public policy, she then joined in Athena Infonomics as a policy consultant. She focused on the implementation aspect of policy. Later on her experience in educational system and understanding the policy formulation brings Madhi Foundation.
The foundation draws its inspiration proverb (“Vidhiyai Madhiyaal Vellalaam”), which translates to, “destiny can be conquered with knowledge”. The foundation is a non-profit organisation in Chennai mainly focused to work with an educational system in order to bridge the equity gap in education for children across India. The biggest challenge for her is get people to have trust in a startup non-profit is not an easy task.
In June 2015 Merlia came up with a concept called Transformational Academic Programme (TAP) which is designed to transform the teaching learning environment in classrooms so as to mainly focus on under-resourced schools. Madhi Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Corporation of Chennai’s Department of Education to implement TAP across 15 primary schools in grades I and II in the year 2016-17. TAP will be impacting 1600 children through 42 teachers and will aim to add one grade every year, supporting teachers and students up to Grade 10.
Four pillars of the programme are:
1. Academic teaching- Learning material: To make teaching and learning an enjoyable aspect for teachers and students.
2. Broad-based support: Every school management has to implement the program and improve the academic performance of the students.
3.Community engagement: Involving with the parent’s so as to improve the children’s education.
4. Data analysis & tracking: To improve the structures, process and learning outcome.
TAP addressed the challenges which are faced by the teachers:
1. Unable to teach English
2. No time to plan & prepare for classes
3. Unable to use hi-tech equipments
4. No support or feed-back mechanism
So, the main aim of this foundation is to to address the knowledge, skill and mindset gaps among teachers and transform them for the rest of their lives while they continue to shape our children’s and the country’s future and impact hundreds of lives.