Situated in the Jawhar Taluka in Palghar, the Government Ashram School at Dehre welcomes you with its vibrant walls adorned with the Warli paintings and artistic strokes of the Adivasi students that study here. The traditional stick figures playing the culturally significant Tarpa instrument or performing the Warli dance or merely seen going about their daily tasks like farming can be seen in the meaningful paintings. These works of art can be seen on all the floors of the school building, decorating its otherwise pale walls.
The Ashram school accommodates around 700 students, right up to the XII grade. While most of these students live in the girls’ and boys’ hostels next to the school building itself, those living within a range of 5 kms of the school, called ‘day scholars’ go home after tea.
While the colourful furniture and creative charts and projects brightened up each classroom, the most striking feature of the school was its science lab. In most schools even here in the city science labs are frequented only to study a cell under the micro scope, use complex instruments like veneer callipers or conduct experiments with chemicals. However, the science lab at the tribal ashram school in Dehere was used even to teach simple concepts to the children and connect it with practical uses in life.
Applied Mechanics, a word that would fret any non – science students were taught to the students in the science lab with the help of a system of pulleys which allowed students to see how the concepts of applied mechanics work. Instead of burrowing themselves in books and mugging up seemingly complex concepts in this technical subject, these concepts are being put to practical use in the lab where students can conduct these experiments themselves until they are satisfied and aware of its workings.
These Adivasi students learn the Newton’s law of motion with the help of pendulum while the prism experiment and the Newtons’ wheel is also placed in the lab so that the students can practically see the divergence and convergence of light. They can discuss details about experiments like the gravity defying double ended cone with an ease that doesn’t come to urban students who may have just given their science exam on the subject.
Shy at first, the secondary students of this Dehere school can explain the practical applications of each and every experiment and tool in their surprisingly exceptionally equipped lab. Their simple explanation seems much wiser than most of us who pride ourselves with having graduate degrees and great exposures.
Despite being located in this remote village of Maharashtra, the Tribal Department provides these students with all the facilities they require for a holistic education. These tribal students are making the most of it as they flock to school every day… eager to learn new things… eager to experiment and innovate… eager to become the teachers, doctors and leaders of tomorrow!
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