The Museum School is an innovative concept aimed at bringing quality education to urban slum children without much investment. Many big cities with a large population of non-school-attending slum children also have many museums, which are subject-focused and house knowledge for those of all ages. The model identifies museums in the city and collaborates with them to make them the school for the children, matches the museum's exhibits and working models with curricula in different classes, and collaborates with colleges conducting Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) courses for B.Ed students to practice teaching.
The children of The Museum School come to the museums (their schools) every day by school bus, just like privileged children do, and are taught by the B.Ed students through the exhibits of the museums according to the curriculum. Thus, the model provides poor children with the best infrastructure already set up by the government (the museums), the best teaching aids (exhibits and working models in the museums), and the best teachers (B.Ed students practicing teaching) and removes the disparity in quality of education without any further investment. Knowledge comes from a conceptual understanding of the exhibits.
Educated girls from the same slums are hired as literacy teachers and are trained on innovative, fast-learning approaches that use naturally available resources. The model follows a curriculum designed to provide holistic education ranging from behavioral changes to literacy, to academics, physical education, and adolescence education, to vocational skills and entrepreneurship development. Besides B.Ed students and literacy teachers, citizens and volunteers with different skill sets come to share their skills with the children. While the children are mainstreamed into regular schools or National Open School as per their choice, the objective is to make the employable or self-employable, confident, socially responsible, and independent in society.It is innovative in using available infrastructure and resources in the cities’ existing museums and in creating a different learning environment for children instead of only depending on books. It also creates an opportunity for B.Ed students to teach.
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CEI approaches in actionStudent supportLearning materials for studentsLearning through Play21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsArt & Music
Model details2005Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculumLiteracyScience & engineering21st century skills (soft skills)Entrepreneurship skillsArt & MusicActiveLong-term projectFunds from FoundationsChild Empowerment Foundation India90030%70%
BeneficiariesIndividuals with disabilitiesLinguistic minoritiesOut-of-school childrenOrphans and vulnerable children
TechnologyOtherWorking models in the museumEnrichment or remediation resourcesLearning materials for students
Scale900 children have been served to date50In Bhopal: 13 salaried teachers, 35 B.Ed students as teachers (every year), many volunteer teachers. In Bangalore: 7 salaried teachers, 30 B.Ed students, many volunteers. 4Currently active: 2 (Bhopal and Bangalore). Inactive: 2 (Delhi and Mumbai) for lack of a good partner.
In Bhopal, the program began in 2005 with 40 ragpicker children from 1 slum and 3 teachers. It has grown to 200 children from 8 slums and 13 teachers. Every year, about 30 new children are enrolled, as 30 others graduate from school.
In Bangalore, the program began in 2012 with 100 children from 2 slums and 7 teachers and still continuing with the same children.
The program is planned to be replicated in every A and B class city of India that has museums.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
The program monitors its results through quarterly assesment of children by monitoring the children's growth and learning and regrouping them into different subjects and activities.Standardized assessment performanceInternal assessment performanceGraduation or promotion ratesTeacher attendanceStudent attendanceTeacher retentionStudent retentionIncreased enrollmentNo
In June 2014, 80% of children got mainstreamed into government and private schools. Using the Right to Education Act, 7 children have been admitted in reputed schools in Bhopal, 3 children are learning Bharatnatyam from a reputed Bharatnatyam teacher, 2 children are pursuing engineering, 5 children started their own small business and became self-employed. In Bangalore, 85% of the children have been mainstreamed, and all have developed computer literacy.
Unit cost per student is $11 per month.