Village education ‘in a box’.
25,000 schools following the Rishi Valley model.
The Rishi Valley Education Centre was founded in the 1940s in the rural interior of south India as a small residential fee-paying school. As regional development concerns came to the fore in the 1970s, however, the school began to forge relationships with the local village populations through its work in rural education, health, reforestation, biodiversity conservation and watershed management. Since 1986, the Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources – a training and resource development facility run by the school – has pioneered an innovative rural education program that has been replicated and implemented across India and internationally.
Central to the pedagogy is a ‘modular’ approach to learning that supports multigrade classroom teaching. The specialized technique allows students of all levels to be taught in the same classroom utilizing an educational tool-kit – ‘school in a box’ – that employs graded cards to guide students in language, mathematics and environmental science. Children climb the ‘achievement ladder’ at their own pace fostering individualized learning and ensuring that absence will not mean a student is left behind. In the last decade, the number of schools using this model has grown from 16 to 25,000.
The Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources also operates a lauded teacher training program that is set to be scaled up in partnership with UNICEF.
(Photo © Rishi Valley Institute for Educational Resources)