Amidst the current pandemic which has left many people feeling lost and confused, Agastya is working on developing modules to educate people on COVID-19. In a shining example of the innovative methods promoted by Agastya, two instructors Pandurang and Balaji converted a cowshed into a classroom when they could not conduct classes in their homes. They reached out to more than 100 teachers through the online workshops conducted in the shed, proving that learning doesn’t have to stop.
Agastya International Foundation is a non-profit organisation based out of Bengaluru. It is one of the largest hands-on science programmes in the world. It works with underprivileged children and government school teachers across India.
The digital programmes have not just been restricted to children. 100 women across Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh who are parents of children reached by Agastya are being taught the design thinking process, which is an iterative process that encourages innovative and out-of-the-box thinking to find solutions to problems. Through these classes, the mothers are taught to develop 21st-century skills, which are an integral part of the design thinking process. They are inspired to teach and pass on the knowledge they gained at Agastya to their peers.
The teams across the country have been volunteering and fundraising to buy and provide food supplies and masks to those in need. Summer camps were conducted online. With a specific focus on skill development, online teacher training sessions were conducted in states like Tamil Nadu, NCR, Gujarat, Sikkim, Karnataka, AP and Odisha.
More than 2 lakh children and 4,000 teachers have been reached through these sessions so far in the outreach activities spanning 21 states. Says Ramji Raghavan, Chairperson of Agastya, “We are exploring partnerships with government organizations and corporates (via CSR funding) to make our infrastructure and people available in the fight against COVID-19. We have Mobile Science Labs, Labs-on-Bikes and Science Centres that are doubling up for delivery of personal protective equipment and food.”