How a Leading School Chain, facing space constraints, Transformed their classrooms into Labs?
This leading chain based out of South India, was in a rapid expansion mode. Space had been a major constraint for them; especially with its ever increasing student strengths.
High Cap Ex & Running Costs for a Lab
As per CBSE guidelines: for a school with a strength of 1000 students, area stipulated is around 800 sq. ft. for each lab. So for 3 labs viz. Physics, Chemistry and Biology the total area is more than 2400 sq. ft. This also blocked significant amount of cash which was a challenge for the managements looking to expand rapidly. The cost of running such labs were around Rs.2000 to Rs.5000 per student (after apportioning all the fixed over heads, rentals, depreciation of equipment etc.). So traditional laboratories were not very effective with such high spends, they became routine record keeping sessions. They were not effective in triggering curiosity or developing interest towards science in students.
Challenges of Scheduling & Variety Across multiple campuses
Scheduling the lab sessions for each grade with multiple sections was another night mare. Half the time gets wasted in moving from class rooms to labs and back. These schools had more than 3000 students in some of their campuses, where as the new campuses were yet too small. Some were residential and others were day boarding. Some affiliated to CBSE where as the rest were to State board. So there were all sorts of permutations and combinations and to address this innovative solution was required which could be implemented across multiple campuses & be easy to monitor and track through a centralized mode.
How did Butterfly Fields Engage with this school?
Butterfly fields, school kits come in the form of Sachets and are totally self sufficient.
Except water (required in some activities) nothing else needs to be provided. So these neatly packed kits are extremely convenient for the teachers to be used in class rooms. The activities are also timed and so fit in well with the time table without disturbing other schedules. The class rooms had desks and benches for 2 students. So for convenience the school opted to conduct these experiments in the class rooms in pairs.
For multiple campuses across 10 towns, with different curricula each school has customized program which is run in regular class rooms. The fee for this program is included as part of the Book list. So the parents pay for these programs without the school making heavy CapEx on lab infrastructures. These experiments are carried out by the Subject teachers and so no additional resources (viz. lab assistants) are required, bring the operating costs down further.
What is the current status?
The management felt that through this they could give these offerings not only students of 9th & 10th grades but also students of the lower classes from 4th to 8th grade as well, to get into the habit of experimentation. The program has been running across multiple campuses since 4 years and is being implemented by 200 trained teachers impacting over 8000 students. This has helped the management save Crores of capital investment and get a better outcome that too at a fraction of the cost which is also being recovered from the parents.