Praj Foundation, in partnership with Vigyan Ashram, has been implementing the Introduction to Basic echnology (IBT) program in 13 model schools in eight rural districts in Western Maharashtra. This project is in line with the Government of India’s Skill India Mission that targets skill enhancement as an important tool for youth development.

The IBT program develops basic skills among students of secondary schools in villages through ‘learning by doing’ and helps them explore career prospects in the industrial sector. The IBT program focuses on Engineering, Energy & Environment, Agriculture & Animal Husbandry, Food Processing and Health. Students provide various community services based on the requirement by the local villagers.

The revenue they generate is used to upgrade their labs and tools. More than 6,000 students have benefitted from this program. Adarsha Prashala School, at Nagaj in Sangli district, Maharashtra, is part of the IBT program. The students designed a multipurpose agri-power tiller that received the Best IBT Project award by Vigyan Ashram. Apart from preparing the ground for new saplings, the power tillers can be used for weeding, fertilizing, applying pesticide and creating trenches to keep critters away from damaging crops.

This year, instructors underwent a knowledge upgrade program through training on various tools, projects and teaching methodologies.

1.Introduction to Basic Technology (IBT) Schools

Introduction to Basic technology (IBT) programme is one of the pioneering programmes of Vigyan Ashram. Under this programme, students from 8th to 10th Standard are exposed to various life skills through ‘learning by doing’ methodology. The course content covers Engineering, Energy, Environment, Agriculture, Home and Health.

With an objective to upgrade this program, Vigyan Ashram and Praj Foundation created ‘Model IBT Schools’. It also aimed at generating income for IBT instructors and eventually make them Instru-preneur (Instructors cum Entrepreneurs).

IBT schools with proven track record and having committed school management and staff are shortlisted for support. These 13 schools are provided with financial support for infrastructure creation and mentoring and cover 1137 boys and 963 girls spread over Pune, Satara, Sangli, Palghar, Nasik, Ahmednagar, Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts in Maharashtra.

The ‘Design Thinking’ approach adopted in the Model IBT schools is shaping cognitive development of the students with ‘Learning while Doing’ methodology making it more pleasurable. Students organised “Scrap Rally” in their villages and collected material which was used for conducting lab practical.

Community Service is key for sustainability of any IBT program. Innovative and creative projects identified for providing community services have improved the quality of products and variety of services offered to the community. During the year, IBT schools provided community services such as cultivation and sale of fresh vegetables, prepared and sold agriculture tools, furniture, LED lights as per customer requirement. These initiatives have helped in strengthening healthy relation between school and community.