Custom educational tours the new trend
press trust of india
New Delhi, 4 August
Educational tours for school students have, over the last few years, picked up steam, with a variety of holiday packages now offering opportunities to take learning beyond the classroom.
Customised tours ranging from walks to neighbourhood forts and monuments to more detailed itineraries in foreign locales or even super-specialised learning trips, say to the facilities of NASA, are being targeted at school children.
A trip to South Africa with a chance to meet and learn the intricacies of cricket from icon Jonty Rhodes is the biggest attraction of an upcoming 10-day “Cricket Safari” organised by Delhi-based Acamor Academy for young sport aficionados from Class 8 to 12.
“We are seeking to combine the educational aspects of learning with out-of-classroom experiences in nature which will help develop problem solving abilities and inculcate teamwork and leadership qualities in children,” says Charanya Chidambaram, VP Marketing, Acamor Academy.
Tour operators say travel programmes for students remain a niche territory. “This was something novel and when we first started in 2010, other companies were offering such educational opportunities and global enrichment programmes to students from India,” says Vishal Verma, MD Frontiers Edutainment, which has organised over 80 such trips since 2010.
The company offers programmes in the USA, UK, Ireland and Singapore. “These range from 5 to 14 days. We work with the education department of NASA’s Space Centers to offer programmes to Indian students,” says Mr Verma. The cost of such trips, he says, varies from around Rs 60,000 to over Rs 2 lakh. Academician Navina Jafa designs and executes heritage walks which she says brings in experiential learning for children and school teachers.
“A trip to the local stepwell can encourage a child to creating a career in environmental development,” says Ms Jafa. Equipped with a doctorate in Performing Arts, Ms Jafa , the lead Heritage Consultant for Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation in the Delhi government, designs such travel
packages.
Another important name in the field of heritage education is Smita Vats who conducts study tours for school students.
“These walks are about understanding heritage and culture by breathing, away from the television and computers. We try to incorporate heritage into curriculum and encourage resourceful learning,” says Ms Vats. Her non-profit education society Itihaas, is involved with over 500 schools and covers over a lakh students divided into different age groups and keeping their curriculum requirements in mind.