[In this Edsurge article you’ll discover a model that uses online learning with direct instruction. The model worked here in the US for Kipp Charter Schools and is now being deployed by an Indian company, Zaya.]
On his swing through Silicon Valley this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to improve education for girls and increase opportunities for women. In a Mumbai slum some 4,000 miles away, two local women are doing just that.
Meenu and Manju have little teaching experience, but they are helping to close the literacy and numeracy gap in Malwani, one of Asia’s largest slums. Their schools, which have chipped walls and frequent power cuts, charge students less than $6 per month and struggle to retain certified teachers. Armed with basic tablets, Meenu and Manju have become unexpected evangelists of blended learning.
Padra is a small area in Gujarat whose identity can be placed somewhere between a village and a town. Hailing from this place, Mihir Pathak is a 19 year old youngster who mustered up enough courage to drop out of college and start his own alternative education centre. “I just couldn’t concentrate in school or college. I was sure that there can be better ways of learning and hence I decided to drop out,” says Mihir. His decision was backed by his travels which took him to places like Auroville. “With support from my family, I spent a few months at some of the alternative education hubs across India and got the inspiration to start something of my own,” says Mihir.
And that he did. Learnlabs.in– “An initiative to build model schools by using integrated manner of innovative teaching-learning methods that will become a benchmark of excellence for educating underprivileged children.”
Over a telephone conversation, Mihir tells us about all the exciting things they’ve been up to. Currently working with government schools in Padra, the work has begun in full swing. “We are going to introduce MIT Scratch to all students from 1st std to 8th at Muni Seva Ashram School. We completed our pilot project with few students from std 6th and 7th,” says Mihir. His friend and mentor, Samyak Bhuta helped in making this aspect possible.