Kathmandu, Dec 22: When you enter Karkhana, you don’t enter into a typical work space but into a whole new creative space filled with home-built antennas, a laser cutter, colorful child-designed posters, musical instruments and many more. It began as a product designing company in 2012.
Karkhana is not a normal co-curricular program after school where children just try to spend time trying to do something productive and check their watch every hour dreading to go back home. This company persuades kids to explore their passion and turn it into something productive.
Karkhana tries to turn children into makers by the process of thinking, making, playing and improving (TMPI). Children first think of an idea that they feel passionate about, try to convert that idea into something, play with their product and try to improve it. They are taught critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration. Educators at Karkhana don’t force children to learn a specific subject but create an environment where they can create knowledge themselves. Children are first given a challenge or problem to which they are asked to find solutions. Teachers are not the only one providing feedback to students but children also get their say on what could be improved. Instead of just pointing out the mistakes, children are encouraged to focus on what could be improved.
Children are encouraged to work in groups to foster team mindset that will help them in professional life.
Karkhana teaches science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to middle school students. It doesn’t have any restriction to learning and follows multi-grade teaching pattern.
Classes at Karkhana are not limited to books or mugged up answers, they actually have to create something to find the solution of a problem. “Once we actually ended up making a 10-foot long bridge while trying to find a solution,” said Pavitra Gautam, one of the co-founders of the company.
While children create something they end up learning various chapters like concepts of energy, simple machine etc.
Karkhana is breaking the traditional way of learning, motivating the children of ages 8 to 14 to think outside the box. Students don’t need to worry about the availability of the resources as they have full access to the resource needed to produce their innovation. Karkhana spreads practical knowledge through two ways: Karkhana Innovators Club (KIC) and Bee Creative (BC). Children who join the KIC come to Karkhana for three hours every Saturday for three months where they work to solve a problem. BC is a school level program which focuses on an hour long classes and generally relates to science and computing. BC is now in 22 different schools and the company is teaching 1,300 children every month.