The Tata Trusts endeavour to help enhance education outcomes in Jharkhand began in 2008 with a ‘reading skill improvement’ programme. This was the lead up to the launch, in 2011, of an all-inclusive initiative targeting primary and secondary schools in Khunti district. The initiative was extended, in 2015, to the districts of Hazaribagh, East Singhbhum and Lohardaga.
The education effort has resulted in more than 36,000 schoolchildren from 492 villages in the state having access to better-quality education — there has been a 30% increase in their learning levels since 2015 — and more than 2,000 teachers being trained in using digital and other tools to develop the literacy and numeracy skills of their wards. Another feature of the programme is the setting up of more than 500 libraries.
If formal education takes place in the classroom, life-skills lessons through training in sport are learned on the hockey field. The bully-off for the Tata Trusts’ hockey project happened in 2015. The objective was to, through a layering of sport with education, provide avenues for talent to blossom.
The hockey initiative is two pronged. At the grassroots, coaches teach children about basic techniques and tactics, as well as impart life-skills education. The best of the grassroots-level players make it to the regional development centres in Khunti and Simdega. The most promising of this lot are then encouraged to participate in the selection trials of academies such as the Naval Tata Hockey Academy in Jamshedpur.
Since inception, the hockey programme has been able to reach 10,128 students from 94 centres in Khunti and Simdega.