The Story of 56 Learn Labs: SOLE in Patiala District
One room in the primary government school of Sidhuwal village, in Patiala District, stands out distinctly. If you go close to the room, you will hear children sitting in front of computers reading and interacting in English. There is a facilitator who is asking children questions and encouraging them to seek answers from the internet. Stay a bit longer, and you will see children talking to ‘Learn Pals’ from all over the globe through Skype sessions.
Welcome to a live Learn Lab: SOLE in Punjab.
As one of the flagship initiatives of RoundGlass Foundation, Learn Lab: SOLE centers were established in 2 villages, Sidhuwal (Patiala District) and Aloona Tola (Ludhiana District), in January 2018. The purpose was to see if these labs can help improve the ‘English Language Comprehension’ ability of children studying in primary government schools. Baseline testing was conducted, and a report was published after the final testing.
The report was astonishing. Along with a substantial increase in the English language comprehension ability of the children, there were more interesting outcomes. Absenteeism dropped. 37 more admissions happened in 3 months in Sidhuwal Primary Government School. And the children now wanted to come to school even on a Sunday. During our interactions with some parents, we learnt that children were no longer making excuses for not going to school. They were excited and wanted to remain in the school and learn more.
As the Primary Government School in Sidhuwal scripted a new story, the District Administration of Patiala took notice. Now, in association with RoundGlass Foundation, it is funding 56 more SOLE Labs for 56 primary schools in 56 villages in the district. The District Administration also conducted a workshop where principals and teachers of the selected schools and the team from RoundGlass Foundation articipated. During the workshop, the RoundGlass Foundation team explained to the audience the rationale and functioning of the Learn Labs: SOLE, and shared the outcomes from the existing labs. The District Administration spoke about the efficacy of the initiative and also announced that the Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt. Amrinder Singh, has mandated that the project is to be taken forward in more government schools.
The RoundGlass Foundation team is currently visiting all the selected schools, meeting teachers, and understanding and reporting local issues to the district administration so they can be addressed at the earliest
All the selected 56 primary schools are getting a facelift. One room is dedicated to the Learn Lab: SOLE in each school. These are being painted with beautiful figures and characters from storybooks. Air conditioners will be installed in these rooms, and electrical work is getting completed. Wherever possible, internet lease lines are getting installed and high-speed dongles are being organised for the remaining locations. Frequent meetings with village sarpanches are occurring to facilitate implementation.
Patiala District Administration has shown a lot of innovation, faith, and collaboration towards the Learn Lab: SOLE initiative. District Commissioner Kumar Amit and Additional District Commissioner (Development) Shaukat Ali Parray have been extremely proactive to address issues related to education. Through these models of public-private partnership, the state of Punjab is poised to herald a new era of development in learning.