And now, customised education tours

And now, customised education tours

Educational tours for school students have over the last few years picked up steam, with a variety of holiday packages now offering opportunities to...

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, 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 VIII to Class XII.
Participating students also get a chance to explore the attractions of South Africa like the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, the oldest national Park there and the historic Robben Island where Nelson Mandela, the country's former president, was imprisoned.

Tour operators say travel programmes for students remain a niche territory. The company offers programmes in the US, UK, Ireland and Singapore. "We work with the education department of NASA's Space Centers to offer programmes to Indian students," says Verma.
The cost of such trips, he says, varies from around Rs 60,000 to over Rs 2 lakhs.

Apart from overseas tours, students also get a chance to take learning out of the confines of textbooks by exploring local monuments and heritage 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 Navina. Equipped with a doctorate in Performing Arts, Navina, the lead Heritage Consultant for Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation in the Delhi Government, designs travel packages that take students to cultural sites.

"We flag off two walks every month in Delhi on weekends. Anyone can attend these walks. They are usually around a monument and include not only the architecture of the monument but other aspects, like birds too." she says. "Slum children of migrants too are involved which create a sense of belonging to the city," she adds. Another important name in the field of heritage education is Smita Vats who conducts study tours for school students.

"Children inherit heritage from home, city and the country. We try to incorporate heritage into curriculum and encourage resourceful learning," says Smita Her non-profit education society Itihaas, she says, is involved with over 500 schools and covers over a lakh students divided into different age groups and keeping their curriculum requirements in mind. CBSE too has tried to include educational tours in its curriculum to encourage students to learn about Indian heritage and traditions. The programme includes training for teachers and students in its heritage program.

Meanwhile, tour operators, say organising such educational trips comes with a host of problems which makes it a challenging business. "There is a lot of competition these days and there are several challenges in the form of a depreciating rupee, increasing airfares and other costs. It is getting tough to grow in a profitable manner" says tour operator Verma.

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