Quality education for all

Last Updated 27 June 2016, 18:39 IST

It is not uncommon to associate poor infrastructure and untidy atmosphere with government schools in the State. But of late, the situation has changed, at least in Gubbi taluk of Tumakuru district. India Literacy Project (ILP), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the cause of literacy, in association with the Department of Public Instruction, is changing the educational landscape of the taluk through a programme titled Multi Dimensional Learning Space (MDLS). The project is basically a during-school and after-school programme that provides multi-dimensional learning opportunities for school children to explore, experiment, discover, and learn in multiple ways.

According to ILP, the concept of schools as multi-dimensional learning spaces is based on the foundation that equal importance should be given to all aspects of the curriculum and that learning is not restricted to curriculum. The organisation also believes that curriculum should extend to help holistic and balanced development of a child because one learning style doesn’t work for all. Thus, the project aims at bringing in visual, auditory and experiential elements to make learning more effective.

Moulding individuals
The website of ILP elaborates on the objectives of MDLS. It says, “The vision of schools as multi-dimensional learning space is to offer a wide variety of academic inputs and non-academic exposure to children so that they do well not only in studies, but also learn about themselves, and discover their interests and abilities.” Through this, Team ILP wishes to nurture individuals who are capable, confident, inquisitive and value aware.

Thus, under the MDLS project schools are equipped with science kits, computers and a projector. ‘Smart Class’ facility and a library that meets the academic and intellectual requirements of students are important features of the project. The library facility has become popular among students, who make it a point to visit it before or after school hours. “The use of modern equipments develops inquisitive nature among students. These activities have not only improved the academic performance of students, but also made them more confident,” opines Gangadhara, head master of a government high school in Gubbi.

Reading books and watching educational videos has opened up a new world of knowledge for students. This programme has shown how modern technology and multimedia can trigger students’ interest in creative learning in different areas of knowledge, beyond the curriculum. The setup has made learning creative and enjoyable for students. Here, theory and practical are given equal preference. All subjects, not just Maths and Science, are given importance, and efforts are made to inculcate a passion for their preferred subjects. Innovative kits made using locally-available materials are given to students to encourage them experiment with different concepts. With an aim to impart holistic education, they are also motivated to get involved in different activities — both curricular and co-curricular.

The project, which was initiated with 50 students in 2011, now covers 18,000 students in 181 schools across Gubbi taluk. “My daughter has improved a lot. She is proud about her school and keeps talking about school and subjects,” says Yashoda, a parent. While students have benefitted  from the project, teachers have also found it useful. C Nanjayya, Gubbi block education officer, is happy that the programme has focussed on skill development of teachers. “Impressed by its success in Gubbi, we are extending the programme to Pavagad and Sira taluks of Tumakuru,” says Gopalakrishna, principal of District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Tumakuru.

“Over 80% of kids in the country get access to education through government and aided schools. The statistics indicate that government schools contribute significantly to the country’s human resource development. Hence, it is very important to improve the quality of infrastructure in these schools. Gubbi experiment is a promising effort in this regard,” says Sathish, a member of Kadashettihalli gram panchayat.

Facilities like bicycle, school uniform and nutritious food have successfully attracted students and parents towards government schools. Positive initiatives like this add to the quality of education in these schools. “Holistic education can be a reality when the social commitment of government departments, civil society organisations, corporates positively combines with the dedication of the community,” says Pramod Sridharmurthy, project director, MDLS. For details, log on to www.ilpnet.org.

(Translated by AP)

(Published 27 June 2016, 17:10 IST)

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