Waking up early in the morning and getting dressed for school just got a lot less boring because the long journey to school ends the moment you board the school bus. A “school-on-bus” initiative at Lohit district administration of Arunachal Pradesh has done just that for the young bright minds of their community. They arranged for a bus with paintings of the political map of India, the national bird and a skeleton making it a fun place to study. The idea behind this brilliant concept was set into motion about two years ago, when Ajitso Ama was trying really hard to get kids to come to his three-roomed house in the middle of the jungle, with no staff, no drinking water, or a toilet, a phone or even electricity which was officially a school.
Last year, a student from there made it to Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in Mahadevpur which was a huge success as that was the first time someone from that remote village made it to JNV. This caused parents and students to change their mind and the whole place was overflowing with admission requests. The classrooms were still three. Finally, when Deputy Commissioner of the Lohit District, Prince Dhawan got the idea of turning a school bus into a school itself, he immediately called up Ama’s school in Thowang. Dhawan has called it a “happy marriage of sorts” and the School on a Bus project was initiated. “The project aims to convert defunct buses into ‘classrooms’ said Dhawan. He has also mentioned that this is a temporary measure to tackle the classroom shortage crisis.
The main joy is in watching the children huddle to school, excited about the experience. This new ecosystem for studying has made a huge impact on the attendance of the schools that have adopted it.
Students stay back after school hours and spend extra hours to get guidance. “These children have never even seen a bus. They are loving it,” said Ama. If the project has been a success in spreading smiles among the children and the future of the nation there is nothing we could be more proud of, than this school bus.
Children from nearby villages have also begun applying to this school and are showing a keen interest in such a school in their village. Not only do the buses get painted with striking colours but also have an abundant supply of stationery, paper, boards and books. 11 of such buses have already been painted by the volunteers of the project for other villages. “These school buses are a small initiative but are showing a huge impact, the students enjoy learning. We hope to transform more of these buses into beautiful classrooms,” said Dhawan and so do the children and possibly most of humanity.