We have started work to build a School without Walls - where access to knowledge is not restricted to classrooms or buildings or books but becomes available to everyone in the community through technology on a wireless mesh network.
Our experience suggest that one of the critical barriers to learning is a non conducive environment at home. Moreover, the reality is that a school is not in a position to change the social environment within the homes, given the historic realities of poverty, illiteracy and oppression. The challenge then is to attempt at creating an environment that enables and facilitates learning for the first generation learner. This can be done with the involvement of the parents and capacity building of the community as a whole. We believe this is the only path in transforming the tribal child's life through the tool of education.
In these efforts, the school has proposed a project, titled My Big Campus – a School Without Walls, that will break the barriers of a physical and conventional school by allowing children to access our educational digital content at home on devices like a tablet, android phones, laptop or computer.
The school is using the 2. 4/5.8 Ghz de-licensed spectrum to seed a wireless network to create a wi-fi mesh targeted at extending the school educational resources to the homes of the first generation tribal learners in the rural area of Dahanu Taluka. Simultaneously the school is developing the much needed contextual learning resources for the primary levels. Students will be accessing this in school and then once again at home. In addition to being able to access the virtual learning environment at home, the school has also set up an e-Library hosting around 2000 books in English, Marathi and Hindi. Students go home and can read a book online on their device.
The unfortunate reality is that though Dahanu taluka is only 120 kms away from Mumbai, we continue to remain a media dark region. Last mile connectivity is still an issue and the dreams of a digital India are only on paper. The tribal communities of Dahanu are denied their access to the digital word and A School without Walls in an attempt to bring digitisation to their homes. We believe that this kind of access will be empowering to not only the students of Tamarind Tree School but to several members of their family and community living in the catchment area of this network.