Videoshala is a unique and innovative program that trains community members to produce educational videos. It combines a powerful visual medium with a strong pedagogy to address ‘Hard Spots’ in the curriculum, while simultaneously incorporating the values of democracy, diversity and citizenship in the video kits. Locally trained producers from community produce educational videos and screen them in schools.
Research in education has shown that despite having sufficient number of teachers and a good infrastructure, schools around the country have been witnessing increasing rate of dropouts and low learning levels among students. Videoshala was developed as an attempt to tackle these problems.
Videoshala was started in 2007 as a joint project by Video Volunteers and two Gujarat-based NGOs, Drishti and Udaan. There are four Educational Community Video Units (E-CVUs) in Gujarat run by four different NGOs. These are Udaan-Meghdhanush, Sahyog, Hind Swaraj Mandal and Navsarjan. The E-CVUs also have, as supporting partners, USAID, Quest Alliance and International Youth Foundation.
Each of the ECVUs has a team of a trainer, coordinator, producers and classroom facilitators. Producers of each team are trained in video production, pedagogy and children’s unique learning needs, to produce the films which accompany elements of the curriculum children find challenging.
So far, 24 videos have been produced about various topics, including plants, democracy, religions and nutrition.While each ECVU chooses its own topics for its videos, nonetheless each video is based on the key pedagogical strategies:
- to approach the hard spots chosen from the lens of the values of inclusion and diversity
- to target a dual audience of students and teachers
- to make learning entertaining, interesting and fun
- to model instructional guidance for teachers by demonstrating examples of teaching methods
Each of these Videoshala films is seen through the prism of citizenship, diversity and democracy. After completing the video, the Producers develop workbooks and games to accompany it. The films are screened to children in 200 schools throughout the state. Teachers have reported that children are now more engaged and have more fun in the classroom as a result of the program.