Pune: The ubiquitous scene of wandering school drop-outs at traffic points, near shops and around cinemas is not exactly an eye-catcher here. Yet, the situation has not changed even with the government’s annual ritual of surveys to identify these children and include them in mainstream education. Government officials, experts and educationists are at a loss as to how to reduce the number of such children by putting them in schools.

Now, a ray of hope has shone after a Pune-based architect designed a mobile school concept. In the novel idea, 23-year-old Pruthvi Nimbalkar aims at taking the school to these children instead of dragging them to the institutes.

His idea has bagged the first prize at ‘Transform Maharashtra’, an initiative for youth to make them participate in governance. The prize comes with Rs 1 Lakh which was conferred to him by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, industrialist Ratan Tata, actor Akshay Kumar and Major General Anup Mishra on May 1.

Nimbalkar, a student of Padmavibhushan Dr Vasantdada Patil College of Architecture and hailing from Kolhapur, came up with the idea and designed a model. The budding architect has always a soft side for the street children. He often opened his purse strings for them but soon realized that his money benefits end with an ice cream or whenever an elder takes it away.

It was then he thought of taking the school to the children instead of pushing them to attend classes. “In the concept, a mobile school room will have 12×12 ft with steel panels with bamboo or pipe joints. I have used wheels of mopeds at the base of the room so that it can be moved around using a vehicle. It will have charts, images and basic learning material so that the children can learn on their own.

“We have also designed the doors in such a way that when it opens and reaches 30°, a marking is made. The same mark again appears at 60°. This will enable the students to learn about angles and degrees. The same practical principle is also followed during teaching,” Nimbalkar said.

He further said, “We will put mobile schools at places wherever street children are found in large numbers. Members of NGOs or social workers can regularly visit these mobile schools and teach the children. Generally, schools for street children are located faraway, which is also one of the hindering factors for drop-outs.

“This is why I want to develop the mobile school. They can be taught according to their convenient time,” Nimbalkar said, adding that said one mobile unit will cost at least Rs 96,000 but he is hopeful that it can be reduced with the help of NGOs and by using used material among others.

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