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Parent Teacher meetings start again
You will be pleased to know that all the schools are now fully operational again after the disruption caused by Covid. As important, are the Parent Teacher Association meetings which are big events in the Project Mala Schools. They are an opportunity to celebrate the partnership between the schools and their communities, to motivate and inform parents and to show off some of the achievements of pupils and staff.
The PTA meetings are always well attended and everyone has missed these occasions, which give parents a chance to feel part of their children’s education. In December, all the Project Mala schools held the first PTA meetings since the pandemic started and Mukesh and his staff were delighted to meet the parents once again.
These meetings are an opportunity to educate the community on health issues, and this time each school gave a talk to the parents to heighten awareness of Covid and give advice about how to keep themselves and their families safe.

It is not just the parents who attend PTA meetings. Village Heads and local politicians are always invited and treated as guests of honour. Their support is vital for the schools to flourish and the community workers and school principals make sure that they build and maintain good relationships with people of influence in the area.
On this occasion these public representatives were asked to give out the prizes and medals awarded for academic and sporting excellence, as well as for performance in the Board exams. We were very pleased that one of these local councillors, Bhim, is an ex pupil from Project Mala Hasra School, and he was especially welcome at the Hasra Parent Teacher Association meeting.
There is a lot of misinformation in India, especially in the rural areas, and much public health information comes through the schools. Mukesh and his staff give a lot of thought to ways of educating the wider community, and pupils often prepare dramas and create artworks, or music and dance displays to help inform the villagers, many of whom are still illiterate.
Parents were also encouraged to make sure that their children attend school regularly and on time. Whereas attendance at local government schools is notoriously poor, and timekeeping slack, our schools are known for their insistence on regular attendance and the children clock in and out each day, so that their arrival times are recorded. However, after so many months of missed schooling, some children have slipped into bad habits and the PTA meeting was a good opportunity to remind everyone of what the rules are.
More families are acquiring smart phones, and beginning to use social media. With all its pitfalls, this gives us opportunities to network with the families. At these meetings parents were encouraged to look at Project Mala’s social media accounts, if they are able to access them, and find out how we are viewed in the wider world. We are aware that internet access is soon going to become universal, even in these remote villages, and the staff are there to guide pupils and their parents as they navigate the new worlds the internet opens up to them.

Anne Gilmour BA PGCE DipSpLD
Trustee and Teaching Advisor
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Robin Garland MBE
Project Mala
01904 341004