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Class on wheels: Mobile van turns teacher for kids in Mumbai

Nawneet Ranjan, the founder of Dharavi Diary, runs the STEM van to inculcate scientific temper among students.

mumbai Updated: Feb 13, 2018 01:11 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Dharavi,Solar energy,Dharavi Diary
Students learn from watching videos on the solar-powered screen of the mobile van in Dharavi on Friday.(HT PHOTO)

Taking technology to the doorsteps of those who do not have access to the latest channels in learning, a mobile learning van is doing the rounds of Dharavi and its neighbourhood.

Nawneet Ranjan, the founder of Dharavi Diary, runs the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) van to inculcate scientific temper among students. The gadgets in the van run on solar power.

Dharavi Diary is a study centre which aims in developing the overall personality of underprivileged children. Ranjan believes that the current education system should do away with rote learning, and focus on the overall development of children.

Currently, Ranjan is teaching students from the New English Secondary School in Pratiksha Nagar the importance of solar energy. The students are taught on a screen attached to the van, which runs on solar energy.

Aditya Chaurasiya, a class eight student from the school, was amazed by the concept.

“This technology will become rampant in the next two-three decades, because it is environment-friendly. I am glad we are being made aware of it now,” said Chaurasiya.

Ranjan said that through STEM, he wants to clear the basic concepts and inculcate scientific mind-set.

“The problem with our education system is that it believes in rote learning, which won’t help children develop that insight. Also, there is no hands-on learning in the schools they go to, which is why we have developed this concept, consisting classroom, community and citizenship,” said Ranjan.

Having tried this model in Pune for around a month, Ranjan now plans to reach out to around 400 students in the city in the low income areas of Dharavi, Versova, Kurla and Ghatkopar. He intends to conduct classes in these areas twice a week, before taking the van to other parts of the country.

As of now, STEM is equipped with a screen and scientific games; Ranjan also plans to introduce robotics and get computers installed in the van in the near future.

Terming STEM to be a great initiative, Nikita Bansal, a teacher associated with Teach for India said that the van focused on the thought process of children.

“These are 21st century kids; it is thus necessary that we bring about a transformation in the way we teach, and adapt to the changing times,” said Bansal.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 01:10 IST