With the advent of RTE, schools have penetrated into almost all rural areas of India. But despite all efforts to make the school an attractive place with mid-day meals, education has still not found its interest among children. Rural schools lack Subject Teachers, and those who have, lack knowledge and quality teaching. Since most current day Teachers have also grown up in a Rote-learning environment, they make the children follow the same path, resulting in low conceptual understanding and knowledge. Dependent on such Teachers, children in different parts of the country have different levels of education, defeating the basic objective of equal education for all.
OASiS has been able to remove this disparity in quality education in urban areas, through its innovative model ‘The Museum School’. Using Museums as Schools, their Exhibits as Teaching Aids, and Subject Experts at Museums as Teachers, ‘The Museum School’ has been able to provide quality education to underprivileged slum children, at par with / beyond privileged schools. Its 11 years of effort has seen take 3000 children from no-school status to higher education. The model won the coveted UNESCO’s Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation in Asia and the Pacific 2016.
Now, OASiS wishes to take this proven approach to all Rural Children through its Virtual Museum School (ViMS).
Our 12 years of journey with Education has made us realise that the steps to knowledge acquisition are: Exposure, Inquisitiveness, Experimentation, Questioning, Seeking answers, Conceptual understanding / Assimilation, Compiling and Presentation.
For rural children, the first step is itself a barrier, as they have very limited exposure, confined by their surroundings. But, while physically, they cannot be moved great distances, virtually they can. Sitting in their own classrooms, they can enter a virtual world in 3D, that will take them to a Science Museum to understand how an aeroplane flies or how are tornadoes formed, OR to Agra to see Tajmahal and understand its History, OR to a Natural History Museum to study evolution? And all in their own language.
Virtual Museum School (ViMS) is a project designed by OASiS – A Social Innovations Lab, to take the Museum based teaching approach, to children in all corners of the world. It is designed to take the children out of dingy low lit classrooms, to the world of Museums, Heritage sites and Nature, where they understand different subjects and topics, by experiencing them.