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25 April 2008
Jaipur gets its first Playground Learning Centers

(19 June 2009)
The Jaipur Playground Learning Center project, within its first phase of implementation, has already set up 60 Learning Stations on the outer walls of government schools. The Learning Stations are running successfully, impacting thousands of in-school and out-of-school children.

(From the extreme left) The Deputy Mayor and the Mayor along with local officials. Commissioner HQ, JMC Ms. Shruti Bhardwaj is on the extreme right.
The Mayor of Jaipur, Mr. Ashok Parnami, dedicated 5 Hole-in-the-Wall Playground Learning Centers to the children of Jaipur Municipal Corporation schools on Friday, 25th April. This marks the beginning of a unique public-private-community partnership in Jaipur where several organizations have come together to impact the children and community in the underprivileged areas of Jaipur. Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC), Rajasthan Council of Elementary Education (RCEE), Michael and Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), Pratham Rajasthan and Hole-in-the-Wall Education Ltd. (HiWEL), are partners in setting up 200 Playground Learning Centers (PLCs) in Jaipur.

The Mayor observing a PLC in action.
Besides the Hon. Mayor, Mr. Ashok Parnami, the event was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Jaipur Mr. Pankaj Joshi, Commissioner HQ, JMC Ms. Shruti Bhardwaj, Chairman, Kachichi Basti Mr. Manoj Ojha. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Parnami said, "Initially we have introduced 15 playground learning stations in Jaipur; computer learning facilities would shortly be introduced in 200 schools in Jaipur." He further added, "We have tied up with the Education department to introduce the learning stations in government-run schools and in schools aided by the state government."

HiWEL PLCs promote Minimally Invasive Education methodology, which encourages children to self-organize and take responsibility for their own learning at their own pace. In Jaipur, it is expected that thousands of children from slums and underserved communities will have access to educational and edutainment content, and learn in an environment that allows them to build and improve their understanding through observation, exploration, discovery, and collaboration. A JMC official pointed out "Every computer will be connected on the Internet. The children would be told about the Internet and shall be trained to open websites and browse the web."

A PLC at one of the JMC schools.
In addition to providing financial support, JMC is also involved in building the Playground Learning Centers. MSDF is funding the equipment and intervention and HiWEL would be responsible for facilitating the implementation and overall functioning. The sustainability and affectivity of any project is very much dependent on the community acceptability and how well it is molded as per the local context. To achieve this HiWEL has tied up with Pratham Rajasthan, an independent NGO, which works in the area of primary education and has in the past successfully executed many such endeavours in Rajasthan. Pratham Rajasthan is involved in all community level activities ranging from monitoring and evaluation to community mobilization, conducting training and awareness workshops, and ensuring overall smooth functioning.

Children can't wait to get hands-on.
The PLCs are much more than a rugged PC in an open playground setting. While it consists of innovations in hardware technology, software technology and cognitive design, the service offerings such as periodic content upgrade, monitoring and evaluations, student-teacher orientation and elaborate community intervention programs ensure the efficacy of the initiative. The underlying idea is to supplement learning resources to enable creative and interactive self-learning in an informal setting. Children discover a versatile learning tool and they embark on a journey through experimentation, collaboration and social networking amongst learning communities.

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Press Coverage: A clipping from The Times of India.

A PLC ready to be inaugurated

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