Monday, October 25, 2010

Beasts of burden

I am referring to school going children of-course! My son goes to a reputed school in South Bangalore. His classroom is on the 5th floor and everyday he has to struggle up and down the stairs with a load of 5-7kgs! This has been on my mind for some time and I was grappling for a solution. There is a concept called "Value" and "Value Stream" in Lean. From a book publishing and distribution point of view I guess it makes sense to package the complete 1 years syllabus of a subject in one book. However from a learning/teaching point of view the unit of values is the one lesson that is currently being taught. While this point may not impact the teacher so much it does result in the huge burden for the student since they need to literally carry the "muda" or waste of all lessons just because that is how text books are published and sold!
We see a clear conflict in the value definition from the perspectives of the two value streams - publication and learning. Considering that the final customer in this whole process is the student and the objective is learning it is important that the production value stream is transformed to meet this objective. This is a challenge as well as an opportunity. I can see possibilities such as print chapters on demand from an online source, text books with detachable chapters - more ideas welcome!
P.S. In case of my son the school agreed to him carrying photocopies of the relevant lessons instead of entire text books. It is an extra cost but a good enough work around for the time being...

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