Published: 21st July 2021
This Karnataka group has taken experiential Science to kids from over 200 govt schools. This is their story
This group has worked with over 2000 government schools in Karnataka to get their children and teachers to fall in love with Science. We try to understand why they're hard to beat
If you speak to the students studying at Deenabandhu Higher Primary School in Chamarajnagar in Mysuru district, they will bamboozle you with Science concepts that you'd learnt in school. That's how capable these kids are. But to understand why we need to go back a little in time. Started in 1998 as the Deenabandhu Trust by G S Jayadeva, the main idea was to provide quality education, remove rote learning and introduce experiential learning to children. He explains, "I don't want children to remember these concepts only during the exams. It is important for children to understand these concepts and retain them in their minds throughout their lives. After working in a college teaching MSc students for nearly 25 years, I took voluntary retirement and started this school with other like-minded people."
But what have they done to make Science easier for students to understand? Jayadeva explains. "It is believed and also proven that all the five sensory organs of children must experience whatever the students try to learn. When we started this school, we also set up a Teacher Resource Center to train teachers. This not only trained teachers but also provided them with the required resource material for their studies and better understanding. This, in turn, improved the teaching methods in the classroom. Later, we thought that it was essential for children to understand concepts in Science or Math easily. That's why we designed and set up a Science Park five years ago."
G S Jayadeva, founder of Deenabandhu Trust and the Science Park
The Science Park has different instruments that are not only fun to play with but help us understand the mechanics behind them."There are various experiments in the Park that children are involved in and enjoy. For instance, the swing helps them understand the Science behind it while they swing in the air happily. Concepts like centripetal force and centrifugal force can be also learnt easily in this park," says Jayadeva who was a Zoology teacher earlier.
Jayadeva believes that these experiments creates curiosity in them and they tend to find answers to the questions in the classroom. He says, "Children will slowly observe some of the simple things like their shadow. Because the concept of shadow is related to the concept of light. They tried to observe how shadows become longer and shorter. Did you know that the shadows are long in winter and shorter in summer. Through shadows, children learn the reasons for different seasons in India."
What makes the organisation unique is they don't charge more than Rs 1,000 as fees for high school students. "We know that the students come from lower middle class families from the surrounding villages. Hence, paying Rs 1,000 or more than that is difficult for them. But that doesn't mean they should miss out on opportunities in getting good education. Besides experienced lecturers and teachers, our team also includes five IITians who worked on the experiments, designing our Science Park," explains Jayadeva, whose organisation is working with over 200 government schools across the state.
They have also created over 800 teaching and learning materials to train teachers in government schools. "Every year these materials keep evolving and changing. This year, we are planning to provide a model of worksheets to these government schools in Karnataka. They can photocopy these sheets and distribute them among children to continue the process of learning whether at home or during Vidyagama classes," he concludes.