Teachers can now download Innovative Pathshalla, an app launched by Minister of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ramesh Pokhiryal Nishank, to understand unique ways to teach school syllabus to students. The app brings together innovative ideas which were devised using zero investment (available basic infrastructure) adopted by teachers across India. These ideas are based on experiential teaching and can work as a reference document for others. For instance, a UP-based teacher took help of Snakes and Ladders (a traditional board game) for teaching maths to students.
Sri Aurobindo Society, an NGO in collaboration with the ministry, trained over 15 lakh teachers across the country, resulting in over 9 lakh innovative learning methods. Using these practices, a parallel curriculum was created. The teaching practices were selected based on chapters in state board syllabi and documented in a way that on clicking at each chapter, a student or teacher can refer to different ways to understand it.
“The aim is to make the innovative practices developed by one teacher in a remote government school reach those across India We currently have 15 state boards’ curriculum mapped under the app and are planning to increase this number to 28 boards by March 2020,” informed Sambhrant Sharma, executive member of Aurobindo Society.
“The demand and adoption of digital initiatives is high in rural India,” he informed. “A majority of the over 80,000 teachers using the app in their classrooms are from villages. Earlier, innovations adopted by teachers used to be confined to their classrooms, but the app will help reach everyone working on the relevant topic,” he added.
Recently, new entries were invited from teachers digitally. This received over 1 lakh entries, of which 66 zero-investment ideas were selected based on their impact, relevance and adaptability for teachers’ innovation awards. The Union Minister of HRD is expected to confer these awards on August 17. These ideas will also be compiled in a booklet, to be circulated to teachers across India to motivate them to implement these in their schools as well.
Apart from ideas related to the syllabi, several teachers came up with proposals to make the education system more holistic. These included creating a parliament with students holding important portfolios and being responsible for certain tasks in the school, creating earthen posts for dumping menstrual waste in a clean and biodegradable manner to prevent dropouts among female students. Besides, mothers who sent their children regularly to school in a clean uniform were awarded as ‘super moms’, an initiative that is credited with student enrollment going up from 90 to 300 at an institute in Uttar Pradesh.