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Nov 15, 2018

Integration of Mathematics and Gardening

Khoj School for Community Education serves as a model of integrative and relevant education. This report shares how the teaching of mathematics and gardening is blended at the school.

The children of four and fives gathered in the school garden to make preparations for growing winter vegetables. Along with the teacher, some children from grade nine were also there to guide them. The objectives were to teach how to measure the perimeter and area of a given place, rearrange the beds, redesign the garden and also to dig the soil, add farmyard manure and leaf compost and water the beds.

First of all, children removed the boundary bricks of the four large beds; the whole garden is subdivided into. Then the length and width of the boundaries of the school garden were measured and calculated. Then, they measured the area of the garden, four large beds and the footpaths with the help of the senior students. All measurements were calculated on the board and the difference between perimeter and area was explained and clarified.

The soil was dug, farmyard manure and leaf compost was add and mixed thoroughly. One large bed was further subdivided into four beds and allocated to eight students to grow vegetables of their choice. Each allocated sub-bed was measured and further divided into smaller beds and ridges.

In the end, the beds were watered for final soil preparation and sowing of seeds a few days later.

The learning as a result of the above-mentioned activity is conceptual and practical both and will remain with them even after they leave school and will help them in their practical life. 

This kind of empowering education in a remote and crime hit village is possible only because of your vital support. Please keep supporting the endeavours of Khoj School. 

Aug 16, 2018

Education is Action-Led at Khoj School

Adding sand and cement mixture to the mould
Adding sand and cement mixture to the mould

Khoj promotes education that is gender just, relevant and integrative. But the relevance and integration is not confined just to the conceptual understanding of the content and relating it to the daily lives of the learners.

The hallmark of the education here is to take the conceptual understanding to another level in their practical lives. Learning is applied in the personal and local context. While learning the plant biology, the children verify all new knowledge in the garden of nature. The garden of nature is not limited to the school garden but extends to their home gardens they have started after learning new ideas in science and mathematics.

Everyone does not have patches of land to grow ornamental and food plants. They have to make a resort to planting in pots. Khoj School for Community Education also teaches them how to makes low-cost pots of various sizes and shapes.

Children were excited to see how pot can be made using various household items using small quantities of leftover sand and cement at home. The new skill frees them from the dependence on the elders who need to look for free time and enough money to buy expensive pots from the market. Instead, they can make pots for them as well and can grow almost no cost food for the family, using organic inputs.

The new approach is helping them get conceptual understanding and scientific thinking, test their new knowledge by growing plants, make low-cost pots to grow plants on smaller spaces and grow healthy organic food using inputs available at home at no additional costs.

Children at Khoj School have started a chain of action which has the potential of growing into a movement for growing safe food.

This is possible only because of your generous donations. Your continued support will keep us doing the work.

Shaping the pot
Shaping the pot
Shaping the pot 2
Shaping the pot 2
May 21, 2018

Challenges to Run Khoj School

Hub of unwanted and troublesome activity becomes a cause for school children’s absence from school. A dilemma faced time and again. Twenty-first century and people despite technology invasion via mobile phones and electronic media, traditions and cultures remain entrenched irrespective of the changing times. Change is never imminent or instant here, eighteen years down the road the struggle continues.

A story this time is a love affair between individuals from opposing clans, a clandestine meeting and all hell break loose, although such liaisons are not unheard of and even accepted.  When the family of the woman learns about the meeting, they charged down upon the man who had by now escaped leaving behind a friend who was to keep watch, in case of such a mishap. Unfortunately, the friend was a drug addict and it was not difficult to get a confession out of him. This occurrence of having extramarital affairs is not an unknown phenomenon in the villages, there is a free mingling of the sexes,  however, when two different clans are involved it is a recipe for disaster even becomes grounds for murder and enmity.

From 150 students the number comes down to almost half because entire clan moves for fear of reprisal thus starts the end of the beginning. It takes usually a couple of months for the situation to normalize, either because the culprit gets caught or there is amnesty from the victim’s family. It is this scenario that the Khoj School operates, trying circumstances for parents and children. A gap of so many days out of school means extra effort and time.

The resilience shown by the Khoj management is truly remarkable because the gap means extra effort and no amount of cajoling nor reprimand is of help, relentlessly they continue with the remaining students waiting for the absentees to return. 

Teachers from Lahore fear going there for work. A recent setback was from an enthused teacher who offered her services at the Khoj School, she was excited at the prospect till she spoke to her family who dissuaded her because they felt it was not safe. Given these circumstances it is amazing how Khoj is surviving there, it can only be reasoned due to the dynamism of the Founder of Khoj - Society for People's Education who come rain or shine dreams of a new tomorrow.

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