Bursting with excitement, primary schoolchildren clamber off of school buses as they pull up at the science center. They enter a room filled with curious gadgets and machines, and the children dash off to investigate, to play, and to learn. A model of the solar system rotates above their heads. An optic kit box demonstrates up to 16 types of light phenomena. Hands-on models and experiments at Agastya’s science centers employ play and fun to help students and teachers learn and retain important concepts. By fostering curiosity, critical thinking and creativity, Agastya aims to eradicate the high dropout rates in government schools by augmenting the content and quality of education for underprivileged children and rural teachers.
At the centers, which are located in urban and semi-urban areas, training is available for government schoolteachers to hone their own knowledge of the sciences and their skill in teaching it. Special training sessions and activities occur regularly at the centers, as well as summer camps, so that learning doesn’t have to take a break when school does.
Science centers function as hubs, where models and experiments are exhibited for visitors. Mobile Labs act as spokes, extending from the science centers deep into remote areas to reach the students and teachers located there.