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School Spaces Aiding Education : Using Building as a Learning AID (BaLA)

School Spaces Aiding Education : Using Building as a Learning AID (BaLA)

Problem

There is a huge problem of absenteeism in schools in remote districts in Bihar. The students often go to work to help the family by earning wages. Lack of awareness of the importance of education and a non-engaging environment of government schools also add to the problem.

Conventional Solution

School buildings were conceived to provide shelter to the activity of education, but never considered part of the process of education. Other solutions like free meals have been explored to address absenteeism but they have not had an adequate impact.

Behavioural Insights Based Solution

Building as a Learning Aid (BaLA) was launched to provide an enabling environment to students so that they feel enpaped. In an effort to make rural schools in Bihar imbibe a model learning environment, the school's entire physical structure was used as a learning aid. This included not only the inside but outside and semi-open spaces. BaLA stems from the simple behavioural insight that learning is a constant process that needs to be made fun and easy for children to seek it. It is based on how children learn. For instance, painting the steps at the end of a corridor with colourful numbers and askinp kids to add the numbers as they climb them is a simple and effective lesson in addition. This human centered design approach to aid learning by utilising all available resources is efficient and effective. At its core, BaLA is about maximising the educational value of a built space. Schools are painted with subject and prade-specific learning aid which not only impacts the students in the school but also sets a benchmark for other neighbouring schools because of the school's aesthetic appeal. BaLA makes schools child-friendly, activity oriented, and a joyful learning space.

Lesson

BaLA has been rolled out in 110 schools in Bihar and 250 schools in Damoh, Madhya Pradesh and has contributed in reducing the rate of absenteeism dramatically. Kids want to go to schools that make learning fun.

"The enrolment in my Jan Shiksha Kendra and in the block has been improving by 10% in the last 2 years. There is a huge contribution to these numbers due to BaLA." - Ajay Jain, Cluster Academic Coordinator, Bihar

Source : Stories of Change from India's Aspirational districts - NITI Aayog publication

Last Modified : 5/10/2022



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