Education isn’t only about math, sciences and languages. It is equally important to expose young, impressionable minds to the right values as well as socially important messages of cleanliness, equality, conservation, etc. Fortunately, innovation in education in India hasn’t confined itself to only the three Rs — Reading, writing and arithmetic. In Mumbai, Project Rangeet uses art and music to make school children aware of socially relevant issues. Since 2014, founders Priyanka Seth Pandit, Karishma Menon and Simran Mulchandani have created nine lesson plans focusing on issues such as anti-bullying, the importance of forests, girl power and the Swachh Bharat Mission, among others. These were then rolled out across municipal and government schools in Mumbai, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, in association with NGOs and corporate sponsors. Created as a combination of music, storytelling and artwork, each lesson encouraged participation from the students as well as a deeper understanding of the issues, many of which were new to them, points out Mulchandani.
In phase two, Project Rangeet will leverage technology to reach out to teachers across the country to disseminate this content, which will help it reach its goal; of impacting 10 lakh children by end-2017. The organisation has developed an Android app capable for carrying multi-language lesson plans, music and art activities, and which requires only infrequent net connectivity, making it suitable for use even in rural areas. “Fresh content can be downloaded whenever the teacher has net connectivity, making it possible to keep the programme alive with new training, motivation and topics.” says Mulchandani.
Going forward, Project Rangeet wants to make the interaction two-way, letting teachers share their experiences and learning so that “the training isn’t just from us to them but is a constantly evolving dialogue”. In fact, Dhaka based BRAC, the world’s largest development organisation helping people living in poverty in 11 countries, is exploring ways to use Project Rangeet’s content to bolster the ongoing extra-curricular activities of 21,000 BRAC schools and learning centres.