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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

At Mumbai school, Maharashtra International Education board offers a new learning curve to students

mumbai Updated: Sep 19, 2019 00:20 IST
Ankita Bhatkhande
Ankita Bhatkhande

In a freshly painted classroom at a Marathi-medium school in Kurla, groups of Class 3 students are playing Snakes and Ladders. It’s an unusual setting for a school classroom – students sitting on the floor with their books and pencils away.

“They are actually learning about food habits by playing the game,” said their teacher, Saee Danawale. “The minute they reach a healthy food item on the board, they climb the ladder. If they reach a junk food item, the snake brings them down.”

Holy Cross High School in Kurla is one of the 68 schools in the state that have recently got affiliated to the newly formed Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB). Starting June, these schools have been offering a new curriculum for students between pre-primary and Class 3.

As part of the curriculum, the board offers activity- and experience-based learning to students, an approach that aims to slowly replace text book- and theory-based learning. Each MIEB-affiliated school has class strength of 25-30 students, thus allowing teachers to give individual attention to each child. As opposed to subject-wise textbooks, children enrolled under MIEB only have one textbook, explaining the basic concepts in their environment while teaching them elementary language and maths. The text is trilingual – English, Marathi and Sanskrit at the same time.

“Every month, there is a theme that the board has prescribed for us to follow. For example, this month the theme is animals, so children are learning about types of animals, singing songs that have references to birds and animals and listening to stories. This approach helps them to absorb every concept in detail and in an interdisciplinary format,” said Rachana Shinde, headmistress at Holy Cross High School.

Father Nobert D’Souza, principal of the school, said, “With a large number of parents only preferring to opt for English medium, it became imperative for us to bring in some innovation in the teaching-learning process. Bringing in MIEB has charged up the parents and students which is a positive change, especially considering the fact that most of our students are first generation learners.”

Parents said they were happy to see their kids learning without the usual academic pressure. “Children are happier and eager to go to school every day. We wish the initiative was for all classes as there is not much homework and no rote learning,” said Deepali Gaikwad, whose younger daughter, Arohi, studies in Class 1, but older daughter, Anwesha, still studies in the state board in Class 4. The government is yet to introduce the curriculum beyond Class 3.

Francis Joseph, head, development and strategy, MIEB, said the board will now take feedback for further improvement. “The idea behind this board is to ensure that the curriculum constantly evolves. Based on the feedback from schools, we will try to bring in more things,” he said.

First Published: Sep 19, 2019 00:20 IST

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