The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the stark reality of the urban-rural divide, especially in the education sector. While those who are economically privileged have been able to access online classes, underprivileged students have been left behind. In Karnataka, the dropout rate has increased significantly among primary and upper-primary-level students. However, Aahwahan Foundation, a Bengaluru-based NGO, is bringing hope to these students through its flagship program, “Education on Wheels.”
A closer look at the “Education on Wheels” Program and its impact
“Education on Wheels” is a mobile learning center that aims to reach the doorsteps of every underprivileged student across different locations in Karnataka. The program is designed to provide scientific and technological education to students from sixth standard to high school, including courses for digital marketing, soft skill development, personality development, and competitive exams such as UPSC and JEE.
The program has three buses, each equipped with a biology lab, chemistry lab, physics lab, maths lab, computer lab, robotics lab, and a digital library with over 13,000 books. Aahwahan has six permanent teachers, four volunteers, and several part-time faculties, including teachers who hold a master’s degree or are pursuing or have completed their PhDs. The teachers are present on the bus to supervise and help the students with their problems.
One of the unique features of the program is video conferencing, which enables students to get first-hand experience of what is being taught in good institutes and universities. The content is either prepared by the teachers or outsourced from reputable online learning platforms like Vedantu, BYJU’S, and WhiteHat Jr.
The program visits villages, schools, and colleges in rural, semi-rural, and semi-urban locations, slums, and government schools in different areas of Karnataka. The team spends three hours in each village for three days, providing hands-on practical experience to the students. The program also addresses the issue of girls dropping out of school after 10th grade due to family pressure or financial constraints.
Before launching the program, Aahwahan Foundation conducted extensive research and found that most government schools in India needed more proper infrastructure and qualified teaching faculty, which were significant obstacles for students in their learning journey. “Education on Wheels” is a creative solution to these challenges.
Aahwahan Foundation’s vision for the future of education in India
Aahwahan Foundation plans to have at least ten buses by the end of 2023 and expand across different states in India. The NGO is also approaching corporates to support this initiative. The program is a ray of hope for underprivileged students in Karnataka and a model for creative solutions to education challenges in India.