When Farming and Education come together: Jorhat picks up Smart Teaching Techniques!
A low-cost farming model, that introduces students to environment-friendly practices, changes the generally negative perception of farming and, at the same time, teaches them a thing or two about business, is changing schools in Assam. And is being picked up, across the State in various levels and many phases. If it gets replicated across all the schools in India, then it promises a brighter and healthier future.
So what is it? And who came up with it? Well, look no further than Deepjyoti Sonu Brahma who came up with a model of farming where he incorporated farming techniques with the concepts that students study in science and math books. Sonu approached the schools in Jorhat district and implemented the farming model on a pilot basis.
Since it was a bootstrapped model when they started out, Sonu and his team started a ‘Beej Daan’ (seed donation) drive in the region: “Most of the population in the district is into agriculture and during summer vacations the children often help their parents in the field. So, the donation drive went smoothly.”
Children knocked on people’s doors and collected seeds. The curiosity of the parents urged them to impart ‘Gyaan Daan’ (Knowledge donation) to the kids.
With time, they implemented the model across several government schools.
The organisation’s team of experts on organic farming teach the children how to grow a vegetable by linking the procedure to chapters in their Math and Science textbooks. Teachers in the government schools quickly warmed up to the idea of outside classroom learning and came on board.
For example, children have to choose an area where farming will be done. A chapter in sixth-grade science textbook is about ‘Requirements to grow a plant’. A chapter in 8th grade is on soil requirements. The chapter on photosynthesis, usually taught in the primary section, is now used for practical purposes.
Though the children earn barely Rs 5 from selling vegetables and manure, they are all required to open bank accounts:
“Many children visit the banks along with their parents as it is their money. This, in a way, is helping them learn how the bank functions.”
Another impact that can visibly be seen is the involvement of mothers. Many children have gone back and started organic farming in their home backyard. Seeing this, the organisation is also providing free training and assistance to housewives.
At MMB, we are always looking for such indigenous solutions of teaching methods. Do you know more such stories? Send them to us, we are live on Twitter and on Facebook.