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Gandhian thought inspires Delhi University’s ‘travel to learn’ project

Delhi University has launched a project inspired by the Gandhian ideology of on-the-ground experience and hopes to initiate out-of-the-box learning. DU’s pilot project – from July – will include NCC and NSS students who will travel to Ahmedabad where they will visit Sabarmati Ashram and Gujarat Vidyapeeth.

In Mumbai, the students will visit INS Vikrant. The Goa naval dockyard will be next on the agenda followed by a visit to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore ending with a trip to Gandhi’s ashram at Wardha before heading back to Delhi.

In essence, train journey will fetch marks. In a first of its kind experiment in “experiential learning” DU plans to roll out a train with 1,000 students travelling across the country and earning credits for their project work.

Elaborating on the “Understanding India” project, DU vice chancellor Prof Dinesh Singh said, “We are breaking the blackboard. Students should get more hands-on experience and learning will happen outside rather than sitting in classrooms.”

DU has already working on creating tailor made courses for its students to ensure a wider number of options for students pursuing humanities and social sciences.

Singh said that the students will be divided in to groups and given project work related to physics, English, history, culture with problems ranging from research on the technology used for trains, to cultural differences in regions, agricultural diversity, geography, food. Singh said, “The students will be expected to submit a short dissertation and make presentations on which they will be graded.”

The University plans to institutionalize this trip that is likely to be planned during vacations for interested students. The project has already evoked interest in foreign universities like Princeton, Columbia, Houston and Maryland who are keen on sending students for the train journey.

Singh hopes to get an eclectic mix of students for the December break – including Indian and foreign students-adding that it would prove to be great cultural experience. (Times of India)

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