Free and self-determined learning in Bangladesh
Nooks or centres for self-determined learning want to fundamentally change this situation: Supported by a facilitator and equipped with laptops, internet, technology, electronics and tools as well as with various, often recycled materials and resources, they enable learners of all ages and social backgrounds to create their own learning projects.
Through the two-month introductory program to self-directed learning and three-month project cycles in which learners realize their own ideas and projects, they acquire concrete new skills and knowledge. From what they learn, they can develop new ideas and create independent initiatives and unique projects, which enable the learners to find and create new livelihoods for themselves and others, as well as to improve the interaction in the local community through joint projects.
If you visited one of the learning centres you would meet, for example, a young girl learning English with the help of various online tools; a boy whose dream is to produce a drone with affordable materials; the son of a farmer experimenting with organic fertilizers to improve his family’s income; a 65-year-old woman learning to build an electronic robot together with school children; or a group of young people who want to develop and market environmentally friendly products.
Unlike schools there is no competition in Nooks and no false ambition to be better than the other. Instead, learners support each other and learn with each other instead of against each other. Inter-generational learning also plays an important role here, where people of all ages can learn together – and not be separated by age group as in school. Nooks usually have learners between the ages of 8 and 80 who work together on projects.
The Nook concept originates from the Indian organization Project DEFY (Design Education For Yourself), which is already successfully implementing the model in India and several African countries. Barishal City Nook is run by the Barishal Youth Society (BYS). BYS is the largest youth organization in the south of Bangladesh with 10000 active members. A main focus of the organization are projects in education, gender equality and sustainable development.
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