for developing Model Schools of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), GujaratIntroduction
BaLA (Building as Learning Aid) is an innovative concept towards qualitative improvement in education, through developing child-friendly, learning and fun based physical environment building in school infrastructure.
This concept was originally developed by Vinyas Centre for Architectural Research & Design with support from UNICEF. It is now implemented across the state in all districts in more than 2558 Model Schools, since 2006 by SSA Gujarat. SSA Gujarat has trained its large team civil engineers at district and block level, several teachers and Headmasters of schools have been trained to plan, implement and effectively use the BaLA concept in Model schools. While government may have limited resources, the demand for making or converting schools to Model schools with BaLA is growing by day.What is BaLA ?
BaLA is a way to holistically plan and use the school infrastructure. It incorporates the ideas of activity based learning, child friendliness and inclusive education for children with special needs (CWSN). At the core, it assumes that the architecture of school can be a resource for the teaching-learning processes.
There are two levels of this intervention:
BaLA is about innovatively treating the space and the built elements to make the existing school architecture more resourceful with higher educational value in a child-friendly manner.But, why BaLA?
Intervention of BaLA could be achieved through a large inventory of 'design ideas' developed by Vinyas through an intense interdisciplinary approach. These are listed as follows. They have been implemented at several urban and rural sites across the country. Few illustrated examples follow from Gujarat.