Mewat Mondays: The Lack of a Stimulating Learning Environment

Two weeks ago, we described the dismal state of classrooms in Mewat. This week, we highlight a related issue: the lack of print-rich materials, and other learning aid.

When it comes to the education of children aged 6 to 14 years old, classrooms should be colourful, enriching, informative, and exciting. This helps to keep them motivated, curious, and interested in gaining knowledge; which in the long run shapes intelligent individuals whose learning journeys stretch indefinitely.

In addition, you might agree with us when we say that every school should have their own library collection of books; to encourage reading, self-learning, imagination, exposure, responsibility … just to name a few important values.  

Unfortunately, schools in Mewat have neither print-rich classrooms nor libraries. Classroom walls are often bare, and it is only in the better endowed schools that they have students’ art work to paste on their walls. If classrooms do have bookshelves, they are empty, if not broken. Once, we even caught glimpse of a bookshelf that was used to keep bricks instead.

Wouldn’t class be more fun if we had more posters and learning aid?

Wouldn’t class be more fun if we had more posters and learning aid?

One of the better classrooms with furniture; but even then, its walls are bare, save for some art work.

One of the better classrooms with furniture; but even then, its walls are bare, save for some art work.

Bookshelves may be there, but there are unfortunately no books for the students to read leisurely.

Bookshelves may be there, but there are unfortunately no books for the students to read leisurely.

But hope is not lost. Our partner, IBM, has stepped in to help increase the availability of enriching learning material for children aged three to eight years old. Under the IBM Kidsmart Programme, they have provided 130 computers with specially designed furniture and education software to primary schools in 18 villages, in a bid to enhance children’s learning and creativity through technology. Art and craft, and languages, are the main focus of the educational software provided by them.

In addition, the Department of Elementary Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Haryana, and Mewat Development Agency are contributing to the joint efforts by funding the renovation of old classrooms and running of the centre, which will be transformed into bright and well-furnished IBM Kidsmart Centers. 

Thanks to SSA Haryana, which is funded by the government, this school has a refurbished room that houses the IBM Kidsmart Center.

Thanks to SSA Haryana, which is funded by the government, this school has a refurbished room that houses the IBM Kidsmart Center.

Last Thursday, our SRF Limited Chairman, Mr Arun Bharat Ram visited our first completed Kidsmart Center in a village called SP Nagli.

Last Thursday, our SRF Limited Chairman, Mr Arun Bharat Ram visited our first completed Kidsmart Center in a village called SP Nagli.

The Foundation is also currently hiring villagers who can help run these centers. We are making an effort to hire women – as a means of women empowerment – although this is admittedly difficult due to a limited supply of educated girls.

Nonetheless, we are happy to create opportunities for all the selected villagers, and we look forward to the opening of all the IBM Kidsmart Centers in the Nuh district of Mewat.

If you too believe in the importance of inculcating learning, creativity, and imagination in children – email info@srf-foundation.org to discuss how you can make a difference.

Mewat Mondays is brought to you by our interns, Aisyah and Rafidah, who were so impressed by the first IBM Kidsmart Center they visited recently. As part of their field research, they have been spending time in some of the 19 villages, and will gladly share pictures and anecdotes from these experiences. Reach them at siti.mohd@srf.com and rafidah.razak@srf.com respectively. 

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Filed under Mewat Mondays, Mewat Rural Education Programme (MREP)

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