Today, I am going to tell you a story. It is a story of a small, very small place called Temburli. Temburli is a small village in the Shahpur Taluka of Thane district of western Maharashtra. When I went to this village, I realized, reaching Temburli can be quite a challenge. The village is yet to see full electricity connectivity, making any means of communication also a challenge, including the otherwise ubiquitous mobile phones and television sets.
The residents of Temburli have trouble catching onto Hindi, actually the village principally houses Marathi speaking people. At temburli, I felt quite cut off from the rest of the world. Agriculture is prominent means of livelihood here, and education isn’t considered a mandatory requirement for a bright future of a child.
This has significant impact on the educational amenities of the village – keeping up with the scorching heat, the communication issues, absence of well-trained teachers, etc. Temburli has about a total of 158 students who go to the local village school. The number is significant I would say, I have encountered villages with just a fraction of that too.
In 2015, STEM learning took the Temburli school under its wing, and implemented its mini-science model program. As part of this program, not only was the school provided with amazing models and aids to better the standards of the education imparted in the school, but it also trained the teachers to contribute on the pedagogy, etc. The results changed the face of the school.
Earlier, students would find it really difficult to understand concepts. Language barriers were posing as major hindrances, understanding the fundamentals could often become quite a challenge in the vernacular mediums of education. Remembering formulae and complex theories was very difficult. More often than not, the kids would just end up mugging up the whole piece right off their textbooks and remember it for the duration of their exams, and then let go of it.
Mugging up has never really been a good way of learning, it reduces understanding to practically negligible. Having studied in the vernacular medium, English became a subject the students of Temburli dreaded the most, even more than Physics and Mathematics at time. Consider that, against all those studies who find that Mathematics and Physics happen to be two of the most dreaded subject among most students. For a lot of us, English wasn’t even considered as a subject, and the days leading up to the English exam in school were as good as holidays.
With the STEM intervention, the students were taught to use and experience a number of different models that connected with their syllabus. The teachers were trained to deliver thing sbetter, while making learning fun and also using more and more practical experiments and models. It was observed that the learning and understanding in students of the Temburli school improved manifold, so much so that, they were fully confident and actually participated in the Taluka level science competitions of the Shahpur taluka. They now not only study and understand experiments done by all those great scientists, but also do their own experiments.
Needless to say, the performance and interest-level of the students has shot up quite a few notches. Science and Mathematics, and to quite a large extent, even English; are no longer the most dreaded subjects for these students. Things have improved. Students talk confidently about their experiments and practical education. It has increased their thinking capacity as well as their observation skills, as seen by independent auditors. Even the teachers feel more confident teaching the concepts, their own understanding has also increased.
A little push from STEM learning has changed the face of the local village school of Temburli. It has gone from being just another village school in Shahpur taluka to being one of the best the taluka has. The school is where the future is shaped, and as part of the STEM learning team, I feel proud to contribute to shaping the future.
Ashutosh Pandit is the founder of STEM Learning Pvt Ltd. He has setup more than 40 Mega and Mini Science Centres in various districts of Maharashtra to promote activity-based learning in schools under CSR. STEM Learning Pvt Ltd offers teacher training and periodic assessment model. Training modules are available in Hindi, English and vernacular languages. STEM Learning provides appropriate branding for corporate sponsoring the Mini Science Centre at the entrance, exhibits and social media. To know visit http://stemlearning.in/
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