Educational Resource Centre
The India Sunday School Union (ISSU), is a 145-year-old organization committed to providing
quality education to elementary school students who are from marginalized communities without
prejudice to creed, caste, and colour. The Educational Resource Centre is ISSU’s initiative on
meeting this goal by giving students not only the learning they require in reading, writing,
science, and mathematics, but also giving access to learning resources. ISSU’s educational
programme has its roots in the Sunday School Movement of the 18th century (1780s) that took
education to child labourers on Sundays during the Industrial Revolution in England. It took
90 years before elementary education for all, between ages 5 to 13, was possible in England
and Wales by the Education Act of 1870. In India, the battle to make elementary education
available to all continues even now with the Right to Education Act, 2009. The focus of the
Sunday schools was on reading, writing, arithmetic, and religious education that gave values for
character development. These values laid a foundation for the great social, economic, and
political institutions that contribute to the flourishing of life.
ISSU was formed in January 1876, at a conference of eight missionary bodies at Allahabad, under
the leadership of Rev. Dr. T.J. Scott, a Methodist educator. It is currently located in Coonoor,
The Nilgiris, a pristine environment, in the state of Tamil Nadu.
From its inception in 1876 ISSU has actively promoted value education through its curriculums and training programmes in India and abroad. For the first 70 years ISSU provided programmes from China to Egypt. Since Indian independence in 1947, ISSU has focused on programmes within India, as well as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
ISSU concentrates on value education focusing on the poor, championing their growth and development. The Educational Resource Centre focuses on delivering ISSU’s value-focused education by developing a transformational in-house curriculum for implementation in this experimental centre.
Building in Progress
Since ISSU is rooted in the history of the Sunday School Movement, we at ISSU are predisposed to think about the poor and the illiterate in our midst through the Educational Resource Centre. The enormous challenge
this nation faces is the population where the majority are children and youth with fifty
percent below the age of 25 and seventy percent below the age of 35; India has nearly
twenty percent of the world’s children), who are predominantly undernourished and
uneducated in a fast globalizing world, more particularly economic globalization.
Private educational institutions are increasing by the day, but they cater to the needs of
middle and upper income families, and the children from low income families go to the
government and charitable schools, which have limited classroom, furniture and
equipment, overextended teachers in terms of their capacity, and no computer facilities.
Amarthya Sen has long held to the view that the two most important things for any developing nation are nutrition and education enabling one to freely pursue one’s dreams. The ERC seeks to help in these two areas and health care in addition
1. Nutrition and Health
To increase nutritional status through the provision of a well-balanced meal/snack.
To ensure health and well-being through bi-annual medical check-ups, provision of warm-clothes, and inculcating basic hygiene practices
2. Education (Creative Learning Opportunities)
Increase understanding through discovery learning, using the transformational process, and a skill-based curriculum
Creative Arts – music, drama, dance, and so on; learning to integrate the creative arts with the sciences and humanities
Beneficiaries: The project targets120 beneficiaries below the poverty line living
in and around rural Coonoor. The children’s parents are daily wage workers in tea
plantations, construction sites, and rag pickers, who find it difficult to meet their basic
needs. The facility when fully operational will be used to cater to 240 children with
scalability to 750 children.
Needs: We are close to meeting our goal with nearly 75% construction work of our
building completed. However, we still need help to complete the remaining work
needed to provide an atmosphere conducive to proper learning in an environment
that will contribute positively to the overall development of the child.
Operations: The Project facility will be operated as a homeschool facilitation centre as well as a micro-school for part-time schoolers from 9 am to 12.30 pm. The revenue from this activity will be used to sustain the ERC, a privileged learning centre, for the less privileged children who will be the actual beneficiaries of the project.
Funding Priorities (Indian Rupees converted to US $ @ US$ 1.00 = Rs. 75.00)
Rs. 12 lakhs (or US$ 16,000) –completion of the building
Rs. 3 lakhs (or US$ 4,000) –computers and other accessories
Rs. 7 lakhs (or US$ 9,334) – furniture, fixtures& LCD projectors
Rs. 1 lakh (or US$ 1334) – wiring &electrical
Rs. 1 lakh (or US $ 1334) – for water-related infrastructure
Rs. 2½ lakhs (or US $ 3300) for solar energy
Rs. 3 lakhs (or US $ 4,000) – bus pathway, landscaping and water facilities
Rs. 50 thousand (or US $ 667)- signage& website
We invite like-minded people to partner in this noble cause to create an exemplary educational environment, which will facilitate the transformation of individuals and societies.
Karthirasan , Tamilarasi, and Karthikeyan’s parents were rag pickers. They lived in a dilapidated house. Economic and social deprivation has led to depression and alcoholism. The children, who were growing up in this context, strive to go to a nearby church-run middle school during the day and come to the Centre in the evenings. They (from left to right) are in standards IV, I, VI respectively.
Santhosh, who was in standard II, was from a dysfunctional family. His father abandoned his mother. She remarried and has other children. His tutors said that he was bright and takes initiative to make the most with the coaching given to the children.
Prathiksha, standard V, also comes from a dysfunctional family. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother, a daily wage worker, is the breadwinner. Prathiksha was concerned about her brother who had a heart problem. They were unable to make ends meet and find it difficult to pay for the treatment the brother requires. Young as she was there was an anxiety writ over her face. She too, against the odds, seeks to make the best of the opportunities for learning and growth.
Bharathkumar and Nithyashree both attend the sessions at the Centre. They had a history of absenteeism from school because of an ailing father. They need to look after him while their mother works as a daily wage labourer. Though she was in standard IV, Nithyashree was at the level of standard I because she was unable to be regular to school. Ever since they started coming to the Centre their attendance at school has gone up. The hope of education for her children motivated their mother to make alternative arrangements for her husband so that the children can get an education.