Learning on Wheels

The idea of mobile education has always fascinated me. This is mainly because it is a great combination of two things- teaching and travelling (2 things that I love doing the most!). Education on wheels is a great way to teach and reach out to the masses in areas you never imagined you would go. It actually increases your handprint in creating an impact on the lives of people. Science Express is one such brilliant example of education on wheels. This train has been an ideal workplace for me for the past 25 days. I had a great opportunity to interact with the young and energetic science communicators on board, teach the locals and travel through the picturesque North East India.

Each year, for about 7-8 months, Science Express runs across India with an objective to spread awareness on environment and educate young minds. The train travels through a mix of rural and urban areas of our country. Although I have believed that learning knows no bounds, my faith in it increased almost twice after teaching kids on the train. Many of the kids that visit this educational-exhibition train have their own set of experiences and are in no way ‘uneducated’. Having always taught only the privileged students, I have completely enjoyed teaching these ‘different’ but awesome kids during the journey. These are the kids who don’t have access to good education or classrooms or facilities. It is so wonderful to see the spark in their eyes when they see the exhibits on train or interact with communicators and ask questions.

In a diverse country like India, language definitely plays an important role in communication and sometimes becomes a barrier. Nonetheless, it is very surprising to see that kids (or even adults) don’t stop learning only because of language comprehension. This is the magic of curious minds! The journey on Science Express is a unique learning process for everyone. Adapting to live in adverse climatic conditions, eating food that you’re not used to, going to small and less developed towns, communicating with people just to ensure that you spread the correct message across, etc are some of the things that one learns. A normal day of a science communicator would start very early (sometimes even before the sunrises!) just to explore the town, followed by 7-8 hours of challenging exhibition work, then a team meeting and the day ends with some exploring again or relaxing at the hotel. Each day is a new adventure for all people on board and I also had many such experiences although it has been only 25 days. From all the adventure I had, I’ll never forget the moment on a pitch dark night when I experienced the thrill of catching the train and getting on it after it had already started running!! The friends made, experiences lived, things learned and places visited during the journey will be always be a great tale to be told; for each and everyone who has been a part of this train. Truly a once in a lifetime experience.

North East India is well known for its rare and wide variety of flora and fauna. This phase of Science Express in its Coach 4 talks about how the beautiful and rich biodiversity here is gradually getting affected by the constant climate change. As I have now travelled through this area, I can say that I have witnessed the effects of this change. We all know we must do our bit in saving our environment, we also know how to do it and the steps that should be taken. Act now!

23 April 2017

Heti Trivedi : Programme Officer – Scientist B, Vikram A Sarabhai Community Science Centre.

Blog shared with SECAS Blog team 🙂 Reema Jaiswal, Ashish Banoria & Pooshan Agnihotri.

 

 

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