This is the first of its kind of initiative for both Ashok Leyland and The Akshaya Patra Foundation to provide hot breakfast to school children with the support and encouragement of the Government of Tamil Nadu. Considering that the first meal of the day is very essential for children to be healthy and energetic to stay focused at school, this initiative will go a long way in holistic development of the children. This initiative will also bring about social equality among the school students in these remote villages where Ashok Leyland has been providing interventions for social development.
The breakfast initiative under the Road to School program was started in the year 2017 by providing millet cookies, bun, Aavin milk for the students and is operational in the schools adopted by Ashok Leyland in Thiruvallur district, Namakkal district and Krishnagiri district.
Mr. N.V Balachandar, President – HR, Communication and CSR, Ashok Leyland, has been nurturing this initiative and has seen it grow from strength to strength. He said, “For us, ‘Road to School’, is not just a CSR program, it helps nurture both scholastic and co-scholastic development of children from government schools in remote locations covering health, hygiene, physical and emotional development including sports. Through this ‘Breakfast Programme’, we are happy to support the children by providing them with hot nutritious first meal of the day. Our partnership with The Akshaya Patra Foundation for the ‘Breakfast Programme’ will be a major change in the children’s lifestyle and trust it will make a larger impact in building our country’s future.”
Shridhar Venkat, Chief Executive Officer – The Akshaya Patra Foundation “At Akshaya Patra, we have been serving school lunch to millions of children in government schools across the country, in an effort to incentivise education. We are pleased to partner with Ashok Leyland in this program to serve fresh, nutritious and tasty breakfast to children. We are committed to implement this breakfast program by ensuring the highest standards of food safety and hygiene.”
‘Road to School’ program was started in the year 2015 at 36 schools in Shoolagiri and Thally, and in 2016, the program was extended to another 72 schools covering Thally, Puzhal and Minjur near the Ashok Leyland Ennore Plant and the Technical Center in Chennai.
In 2017, the success of the program encouraged the company to further extend it to 45 schools in Namakkal district, where most of the driver’s children reside. Further in 2018, the extension of ‘Road to School’ program to 102 schools in Krishnagiri District and 80 schools in Sankagiri, Salem District, Ashok Leyland has now extended the program to 333 schools impacting about 31846 students.
Notes to Editor: For more information on the Road to School program, kindly refer the annexure.
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Key outcomes of the program are:
● Over 20% improvement in learning levels of students from class II to class VII, as measured by Base Line and End Line tests
● Approximately 20% reduction in dropout rates and increase in attendance and punctuality
● Remarkable improvement (over 35%) in reading skills as measured by standard reading tests
● Remarkable improvement in health and hygiene practices in 70% of the schools
● Increased community, SMC and parents participation in students academics
To achieve this success, there is a very scientific, process-oriented approach for maximum impact. Some of the key features of this program are:
● Teachers are well qualified (B.Ed with teaching experience), a full-time resource, appointed in all Schools for a period of three years
● Health personnel are well qualified and well trained
● Cluster and project managers are appointed for smooth implementation of the program
● Customized Learning Enhancement and Practice (LEAP) content and worksheets for children are made available to plug grade level/age level learning gaps. The LEAP content is in the spirit of current syllabus prescribed in Tamil Nadu state
● Comprehensive assessment practices with rapid tests, skills tests, baseline, midline and end line tests in all schools to monitor the progress
● Multiple training programs for project staff, school teachers and Head Masters
● Provision of Math kit, Science kits, Laptops, internet for technology integration
● Holistic Wellness program with a focus on Health, Hygiene, physical and emotional development
● Comprehensive Health Checkups for all students in partnerships with well-known hospital chains
● Community-based events, national and international day celebrations in schools with the support of Ashok Leyland volunteers
● Provision for sports kits, Tube lights and Fans for school development
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