Lectures at colleges are going beyond the four walls of a classroom. Colleges in Mumbai are taking students out of campuses, not just for field trips as in the past, but even for routine lectures. The aim of the excursions, institutes said, is to introduce students to concepts that they learn in textbooks and to help them apply it in the real world.
“The outcome of this approach has been an increase in the ability to come up with multiple solutions, interest in building solutions collaboratively,” said Uday Salunkhe, group director of WeSchool in Matunga. Salunkhe added that with youth leaning towards gadgets, the learning from people interactions outside the classroom widens their learning experience and increases their confidence by enabling them to provide solutions to common problems.
WeSchool has a number of initiatives, including the Global Citizen Leader Programme, that is an integral part of the institute’s management program. As part of the course, students spend time with government bodies, village panchayats, banks, retailers, and try to find solutions to problems faced by the organisations. “By engaging with various groups of the society and interacting with them, the creativity of students is used for a purposeful outcome,” he added.
The final-semester projects at the institute look at issues in rural areas of Maharashtra. While one group is studying malnutrition amongst children in taluks like Mokhada, Jawahar and Palghar, another group is looking at suicides by farmers. A third group of students is studying sanitation and other hygiene facilities available in rural Maharashtra.
Colleges offering degree courses in arts, science and commerce find it difficult to look at study modules that go beyond what is suggested in the curriculum, but this has not stopped many institutes from devising unconventional programmes. “For our commerce students we conduct sessions at the Bombay Stock Exchange, which gives them a chance to ask questions to people who are part of the system,” said Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College at Churchgate. He added that for students from various courses under the arts stream, the college encourages them to conduct excursions and research work on various topics from the society, to get them a sense of understanding “real issues” first hand.