Through a unique mentorship programme called ‘1Lab-1 School,’ Indian Institute of Technology Madras is connecting top-notch graduate laboratories to the high schools of rural Tamil Nadu. The programme, now into its second year, has reached over 800 students of 20 schools in the districts of Thiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Vellore. The initiative is fully funded by Verizon India.
Mentor groups from IIT Madras research Labs comprising of M.S., MTech students, Ph.D. scholars and faculty from different science and engineering departments adopt rural Government Higher Secondary Schools. Each laboratory visits their respective adopted high school to train and mentor the students for two to three years through a structured and expansive curriculum that spans topics such as experiential learning, device engineering and skills development and career guidance.
The labs carry simple devices used in everyday life like Electric Iron, Calling Bell, and Vacuum Cleaner etc. during these visits. Dismantling and assembling of the devices by the school students, interactions through question and answer- and demonstration-based lectures by the graduate students of IIT Madras are some of the learning activities that happen during the training.
In the next academic year (2020-21), the project is planned to expand to 15 more schools. IIT Madras is collaborating with ‘Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan,’ a Central Government Scheme for universalising elementary education and its ‘Teach to Learn’ (http://www.teachtolearn.co.in/) team envisions a strong bond between educational institutions across India, particularly between premier institutes of the country and rural schools.