Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, ranked the 4th Best Overall University in India in the 2020 NIRF ranking, has launched its much-acclaimed Online Labs for School Experiments called OLabs in Maldives for all of the island country’s schools. OLabs enables school students anywhere in the world to conduct online lab experiments more efficiently and less expensively through the Internet. It has been developed by the varsity in partnership with CDAC, Mumbai, based on a research grant by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has provided training to 194 teachers and teacher educators from various schools of Maldives to integrate OLabs in their teaching practice. The online training session was attended by Fathimath Naseer, the Minister of State for Education, Maldives; Anil Kumar Pipal, HoD, eLearning Divisions, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Govt. of India, and Prof. Madhu Parhar, Director, Commonwealth Educational Media Centre For Asia (CEMCA), among others.
Said Prof. Prema Nedungadi, Director, AmritaCREATE, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, who is leading the OLabs initiative at the varsity: “We are extremely delighted to launch OLabs for the benefit of school students in Maldives. The aim is to provide high-quality laboratory access in science, mathematics and English for students and faculty members of Maldives, helping enhance teaching and learning outcomes. Lab experiments are an integral part of science and engineering education. However, access to lab equipment is often limited for school students due to resource constraints. Online labs provide an alternative to physical hands-on labs in schools where such labs are not present or augment existing access to experiments. There is an urgent need for integration of virtual labs into school learning across the world.”
Said Fathima Naseer, Hon’ble Minister of State for Education, Maldives: “Maldives is a nation with many geographical challenges and has few resources such as laboratories in schools. The launch of OLabs in our country is a golden opportunity for our school students to get access to high-quality virtual labs for performing various experiments and excel in their education.”
OLabs enables school students from classes 9 to 12 to understand and perform online laboratory experiments free of cost. The program hosts virtual experiments in physics, chemistry, and biology developed by Amrita CREATE, with content aligned to NCERT, CBSE and State Board syllabus. The Mathematics and English components have been developed by CDAC, Mumbai. The experiments offered on OLabs have been evaluated and endorsed by CBSE.
OLabs is hosted on India’s National Knowledge Network and is offered free of cost to any school. The experiments are available in several languages, including English, Hindi, Malayalam and Marathi. OLabs is also being used in several European countries and its experiments have been translated into Spanish.
Added Prof. Prema Nedungadi: “OLabs can be used as a supplementary resource for schools that have their own labs, as well as a primary resource for schools in rural areas which lack lab infrastructure. It has been hugely useful for school students in Covid times. The number of online users of OLabs has doubled from 16 lakhs in pre-Covid times to 32 lakhs today. The program is currently in use across 12,000 schools in India.”
OLabs was launched in December 2015 by the Hon’ble Minister of MeitY, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.