School on Wheels brings education to impoverished children

A bus remodelled to become a mobile classroom for children with no access to school facilities in Mumbai.

School on Wheels is the initiative of Mumbai-based non-profit group Door Step School, which was first established in 1988 to address the large number of children dropping out or not attending school in India’s biggest city. The bus is one of the group’s more recent and signature projects as it brings education to children living in remote areas with no access to school facilities.

Door Step School focusses on bringing literacy to marginalised areas of society. Their various programmes address three key problems with public schooling in India: non-enrolment, a high dropout rate and low learning levels. Most of the children who fall into any one of these categories live with their families on the streets, in slums or at construction sites. The children who don’t attend school have little access to reading materials and a majority of the children who do attend school end up dropping out to take care of their younger siblings. 

School on Wheels is an important programme at Door Step School. The yellow bus has been remodelled to become a mobile classroom equipped with basic supplies and a small media centre including a computer, television, dvd player for educational, audio-visual learning. School on Wheels was built to reach out specifically to children living on construction sites. In these areas, the children have no means of accessing school facilities unlike the slums where the organisation is able to set up learning centres.

Every day, the bus visits two to three locations where teachers offer two hour classes for local children. Sometimes the bus doubles up as a safe mode of transport for students in remote areas who live far from school. To encourage literacy in communities living on the outskirts of the city, School on Wheels becomes a mobile reading room in the evenings. It parks in an area for two hours, giving children access to a variety of books to read. 

All the Door Step School programmes have been designed to improve children’s learning levels and help them achieve literacy so that they can eventually be enrolled into India’s formal education system.