Educational Resource Centre
The India Sunday School Union (ISSU), a 144-year old organization, has its roots in the Sunday
School Movement of the 18th century (1780’s) 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 to 1947, ISSU actively promoted value education through its curriculums and training programmes in India and from China to Egypt. Since 1947 the work has been confined to India and a few neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Malaysia. ISSU, though it now primarily concentrates on value education, continues to focus on the poor, seeking their growth and development, through various programmes, especially through the Educational Resource Centre(ERC) in Coonoor, India, an experimental Centre for the implementation of its transformational education curriculum concurrently being developed at the 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 (50% below the age of 25 and 70% are below the age of 35; India has nearly 20% 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
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.
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 about 750 children.
Needs: Approximately 75% construction work of the ERC building has been completed
and the remaining work was stalled due to funding constraints.
Upon completion of the construction of the building in all aspects by funding received
through this proposal, the ERC will be able to provide an atmosphere that is conducive
for proper learning – an environment that can contribute positively in the overall
development of the child.
Operations: The Project facility will be operated as a home school facilitation centre and 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 are rag pickers. They live in a dilapidated house. Economic and social deprivation has led to depression and alcoholism. The children, who are 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 is in standard II, is from a dysfunctional family. His father abandoned his mother. She remarried and has other children. His tutors say that he is 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 is an alcoholic and her mother, a daily wage worker, is the breadwinner. Prathiksha is concerned about her brother who has a heart problem. They are unable to make ends meet and find it difficult to pay for the treatment the brother requires. Young as she is there is 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 have 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 is in standard IV, Nithyashree is at the level of standard I because she is 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.