Connect & Extend
Rumi Schools of Excellence approach learning differently. The network of schools is improving the life opportunities of India’s children through affordable quality education that breaks out of the standard rote educational model and expands into the community. This reimagining of Rumi’s Hyderabad Jiya school, as the Jiya Community School, involves all stakeholders in a child’s education — the child, mother, teacher, administrator, and neighborhood community.
The school’s success in educating and attracting students is based in Rumi’s ability to connect the learning environment with the local community. While the student’s excellent test scores demonstrate core educational competencies, the school’s hands-on approach to learning helps prepare children for success in tomorrow’s world. From the school’s façade to its classrooms, computer lab, and rooftop space, Rumi, at a glance, shows both students and the community its progressive, hands-on approach to learning. The physical space illustrates the organization’s commitment to 21st–century learning and to implementing the Indian National Council of Education’s curriculum framework, which aims to connect knowledge to life outside the school, enrich the curriculum beyond textbooks, and nurture an overriding identity informed by empathy within the democratic polity of the country. To achieve all this, the building focuses on connecting and extending both the physical space and the learning opportunities from the school’s students to the larger community. The space is designed for flexible in-classroom learning, as well as festivals and entrepreneur activities, including student start-ups, adult craft-training centers, and medical NGOs. In the end, the classroom becomes the community.
Design Principles of the Jiya Community School
Build a learning community.
Learning happens in and beyond the boundaries of the school day and building. Learning is social, and it involves the whole family. Develop ways to engage parents and build partnerships to bring resources and knowledge to the school. Design ways for everyone in the community to learn, so students see learning as a way of participating in the world.
Treat stakeholders as partners.
A school’s success is created by school owners, teachers, parents and children—this success should benefit all involved. Incentivize teachers to enable learning. Build an environment where teachers are empowered to shape their classroom. Shift the conversation from prescriptive rules to flexible guidance.
Make nothing rote.
Helping children succeed in tomorrow’s world means helping them find their strengths in new ways. Its no longer just about tests— creative thinking, collaboration and adaptability are core capabilities of the global economy. Engaged learning means finding opportunities for children and teachers to learn by connecting to life outside school.
Extend the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Running a private school in India is a competitive business. Growing the business requires educational and organization skills, as well as business and marketing savvy—and enthusiasm. Extend these skills and energies into every fiber of the school—the curriculum, the staff, the tools and the space.
Spatial constraints and limited resources don’t have to be a limiting factor. Constraints can become a design opportunity through programming, materials and furniture. Multi-use spaces and flexible infrastructure can maximize limited resources. Design for flexibility and encourage customization with modular components.
Descriptions of Spaces, Jiya Community School
This flexible space extends the learning outdoors. It allows for different learning modes such as physical/recreational activities or large group gatherings. As the school adds on floors, the elements of the terrace can be reconstructed on the new level.
The redesigned classroom provides additional breathing room for the small and crowded space. With easily reconfigurable walls, the classroom extends into the hallways and have added storage and display possibilities in addition to increased ventilation and light. Kids are no longer layered behind other students while interacting with the teacher with the individual multi-tiered desks and seating. Taking advantage of the vertical height of the space, there are variable-height display tools and private learning spaces.
This next generation computer lab can transform into a multi-use center with protected windows that allow the school’s computers to become a resource for the community. It also provides a space for kids to generate entrepreneurial ideas and try their hand at small businesses. The Internet Café is the purest form of community connection, promoting greater interaction with the school and the successes of the students.
The open and configurable Innovation Lab allows for small clusters of people to meet and work. It’s a place to learn and move in different ways than the confined space of the classroom—ideal for gaining the interactive skills of the 21st century. The lab doubles as a space for community rentals and adult learning experiences.
The hallways of the school are no longer just an in-between space—they’re the central spine of the flow through the building. The corridors are activated throughout the day, whether through learning in the extended classrooms, creating serendipitous connections with classmates and teachers, or providing opportunities for basic comfort.