Making science fun, interesting for students in Pune and Pilani
One of the objectives of Emerson’s corporate citizenship program in India is to promote continuity in education, especially for the less privileged. Starting in 2015, Emerson is partnering with Agastya International Foundation, the non-profit educational trust, to bring Agastaya’s innovative science education approach to economically disadvantaged youth, ages 6-18, who are attending government schools in the cities of Pune and Pilani.
Agastya seeks to tackle problems that often plague the traditional Indian school: traditional teaching methodologies; rote-based learning that discourages creativity and problem-solving; lack of hands-on methods of teaching and learning; and a lack of school labs and access to quality education. The goal of the Agastya approach is to facilitate a student’s journey from being a passive observer to an active participant in the learning process through hands-on experiences.
With Emerson’s financial support, Agastya is establishing a science laboratory, providing mobile science vans and initiating various programs such as Operation Vasantha, Teacher Training and Young Instructor Leader Program. Over a 3 year period, school children ranging from Class 5-10 and their teachers will benefit from the programs where over 680,000 student exposures will be generated. These interactions (exposures, each for 3 hours) are designed to lead to sparking of curiosity, critical thinking and creativity by students and teachers.
Agastya has established a science centre at the BITS Pilani Resource Center. This centre exhibits experiments and models that provide students with opportunities for experiential learning. Agastya’s mobile science lab vans bring the program to students and teachers in remote rural areas. Agastya’s hands-on activities supplement existing government school teaching process and are connected to respective state board syllabus.
Operation Vasantha addresses the problem of school dropouts by educating the families and engaging the children of through interactive activities. With the Young Instructor Program, Agastya identifies and trains students to don the role of teachers; where children teach their peers.