Although government think tank Niti Aayog is promoting tinker labs in schools across the country, the content-heavy syllabus and space constraints are stopping them from adopting the do-it-yourself (DIY) style, according to teachers.
In some schools, untrained teachers find it tough to include new ways in their teaching. Holy Mother School, Malad, for instance, introduced a programme loosely based on the maker movement in 2011, but discontinued it recently. “We couldn’t sustain the programme because teachers weren’t trained to weave it into the curriculum,” said Rafiq Siddiqui, the school’s founder.
Rakesh Joshi, principal, Apeejay School, Nerul, said schools will have to spend on training teachers before introducing the new methods. “Teachers don’t mind conducting activities, but we need to enhance their skills,” said Joshi.“Indian curriculum is content heavy and schools are under constant pressure of completing the syllabus in time. Weaving such activities into the curriculum requires some tactful planning.”
Space is another factor. Tinker labs require 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of built-up area, according to the guidelines for Atal tinkering labs, which is being endorsed by Niti Ayog. In a space-starved city like Mumbai, schools don’t have so much space. “We are in the middle of setting up tinker labs, but infra-structure is a major problem. We don’t have space to add a room to our old buildings,” said Kavita Sahay, director-school operations and academics, VIBGYOR High Schools.
Parents, too, need to change their attitude towards learning, said teachers. “Parents are obsessed with marks and want to see immediate results, whereas maker is about equipping kids with skills that will come in handy for the future,” said Suman S, headmistress, RN Podar School, Santacruz.