School in Western India paints village walls to conduct classes

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 03, 2020, 02.31 PM(IST)

Kalidas Chavdekar, a school teacher of Aasha Marathi Vidyalay points to a writing from textbooks of various subjects painted on the wall of a house to teach students Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Iin villages where internet penetration is low, holding online classes have emerged as a big challenge

Unlike the Western countries, there have not been many debates in India on whether the schools should begin or not as largely people understood the risks of reopening amid the pandemic that is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Several schools across the nation are conducting online classes to keep children engaged and ensure that the process of learning continues. 

Also read | Texts books and face masks, Europe's children return to school

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(Taslimbano Harun Pathan, the school principal of Aasha Marathi Vidyalay, points to a writing from textbooks of various subjects painted on the wall of a house to teach students | Photo Credit: AFP)

However, in villages where internet penetration is low, holding online classes have emerged as a big challenge. 

But, teachers in Nilamnagar, western India, have started a unique initiative to make sure that children don't miss out of learning due to technological shortfalls. 

They have set up outdoor classrooms for a total of 1,700 students for age group 6-16, where a small group gather around painted walls, which are used for teachings. 

From writing to trigonometry, the murals in the village cover many subjects, written in local Marathi and English. 

In one of the walls, objects that begin with the letter 's' are made, including scooter, spade and swing and are painted in black underneath the words such as "look, listen and say".

"Since most of the families lack resources to educate their kids digitally, we had to come up with an innovative method to keep children invested in education," said Ram Gaikwad, a teacher at Asha Marathi Vidyalaya school, reported news agency AFP. 

For 13-year-old Yashwant Anjalakar, who aspires to work for elite Indian Administrative Service, the walls are the only hope to learn in times of pandemic as his family doesn't have access to the internet. 

"When my mother sends me to buy milk, I walk through the village and look at the lessons on the walls," he said. 

"I miss my school and my friends a lot. Sitting at home is boring and these walls are a great way of revising and studying... I want to keep studying even during this pandemic." 

Presently, 250 walls have been painted in the villages and the school expects to add another 200.