Videoshala was an innovative program that trained community members to produce educational videos. It combined 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 the community produced educational videos and screened them in schools.
Research in education had shown that despite having sufficient number of teachers and a good infrastructure, schools around the country were 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 were four Educational Community Video Units (E-CVUs) in Gujarat run by four different NGOs. These were Udaan-Meghdhanush, Sahyog, Hind Swaraj Mandal and Navsarjan. The E-CVUs also had, as supporting partners, USAID, Quest Alliance and the International Youth Foundation.
Each of the ECVUs had a team of a trainer, coordinator, producers and classroom facilitators. Producers of each team were trained in video production, pedagogy and children’s unique learning needs, to produce the films which accompany elements of the curriculum children find challenging.
24 thirty minute documentaries were produced about various topics, including plants, democracy, religions and nutrition. While each ECVU chose its own topics for its videos, nonetheless each video was 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 was seen through the prism of citizenship, diversity and democracy. After completing the video, the Producers developed workbooks and games to accompany it. The films were screened to children in 200 schools throughout the state. Teachers reported that children were more engaged and had more fun in the classroom as a result of Videoshala.