Learning on the road

India, Oct. 23 -- The pyramids of Egypt no longer stay imprisoned in history textbooks for students of MSB Educational Institution in Mazagaon. Students saw the grandeur of the structures up close when they went for an educational trip to Egypt last April. Thirty middle school students spent their vacation last year learning about the Egyptian civilisation. They did a comparative study of the Indus Valley civilisation and Egyptian civilisation But visiting Egypt, said students, has ensured that the ways of ancient Egypt are now indelible.

City schools are organising educational trips so that students can learn in a more effective and enjoyable way. And for this, schools don't mind spending a little extra. Field trips have extended from the nearby museum to another country.

"MSB believes in learning beyond classroom walls," said principal Farzana Dohadwalla.

While not all schools fly their children to exotic locations, locations such as Ajanta and Ellora are also being explored. Euroschool, Airoli, organised a field trip to Aurangabad for its students from Class 4 to 8. Students also explored other historical places such as Aurangzeb's tomb and Bibi Ka Maqbara on the three-day trip.

"These paintings and sculptures made us realise our ancestors had a unique and inspiring way of depicting their imagination," said Lekhita Medinkonduri, a Class 8 student. Earlier, most students would cope with lessons from science textbooks, but Ryan International Schools decided to break the tradition. More than 200 students from their 15 city schools went to the best place in the world to learn to build robots and rockets - the Kennedy Space Centre at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in Orlando in December. The week-long challenge was part of a space education module conducted by Nasa. Students also designed, tested and launched their own space shuttle on a weather balloon. This was the first group of students from the Indian subcontinent to complete this mission.

But, not everyone can afford such fancy education. Geeta Balgangadharan, principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Panvel said, "Only private schools can afford such trips. The system can create differences between students. All students are not of the same social status."

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.