Learning by Doing: Reforming Rural Government Schools

This project is supported by Oracle.

The ethos of ‘Learning by doing’ is understood and accepted all over the world. But in most schools in India, learning is based on learning facts and memorizing them. Education kills the natural curiosity of the child instead of doing the opposite. Children blindly memorize their lessons and even teachers do not understand a lot of the content, because they themselves have gone through the same education system. This problem is particularly severe in rural government schools where many children are first generation learners and do not have access to any material other than the textbook. The classroom focus is only on the facts in the textbook, and even these facts are poorly understood.

We are grateful to #Oracle for funding some of our project partners to address this issue in government schools, and improve the quality of learning at these schools. On my recent visit to Deenabandhu, I could see how the project has stoked the curiosity of the children to learn. Children form long lines to listen and talk to project facilitators when they arrive at a school. They trip over each other to explain the properties of light using the locally made kit, so different from the silent and passive class of some years ago. Best of all, they ask questions. “Why does it snow more in Canada?” asks a student. “Why is it that I see light all around me but when I see videos of Space I see darkness, except for the rocket?” asks a teacher.


Students listening with rapt attention.                                      Teacher workshop


I was delighted to hear these questions. They represent going beyond questions in the textbook, asking questions about the world around them and relating what they learn to what they observe and hear. Curiosity to know more, and applying what is learnt in classrooms to the world around them are big steps forward.We are beginning to see that children the schools supported by the project (all upper primary schools) do better in high schools and later.

All of these activities are supported by @Oracle #OracleGiving @CAFIndia. As an Oracle employee I am happy and proud.

An earlier blog post on the Oracle grant is here.

A video on the activities is here.


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