School access
  • Home
  • School access
  • BaLA

BaLA - Building as Learning Aid, i-BaLA - Inclusive-Building as Learning Aid

for developing Model Schools of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Gujarat


BaLA (Building as Learning Aid) is an innovative concept towards qualitative improvement in education, through developing child-friendly, learning and fun based physical environment building in school infrastructure.

This concept was originally developed by Vinyas Centre for Architectural Research & Design with support from UNICEF. It is now implemented across the state in all districts in more than 2558 Model Schools, since 2006 by SSA Gujarat. SSA Gujarat has trained its large team civil engineers at district and block level, several teachers and Headmasters of schools have been trained to plan, implement and effectively use the BaLA concept in Model schools. While government may have limited resources, the demand for making or converting schools to Model schools with BaLA is growing by day.

What is BaLA ?

BaLA is a way to holistically plan and use the school infrastructure. It incorporates the ideas of activity based learning, child friendliness and inclusive education for children with special needs (CWSN). At the core, it assumes that the architecture of school can be a resource for the teaching-learning processes.

There are two levels of this intervention:

  • To CELEBRATE the Unity in Diversity of our Nation and to maintain and strengthen the fabric of traditionally existing emotional bonds between the people of our Country;
  • Develop the SPACES to create varied teaching-learning situations
  • Develop the BUILT ELEMENTS in these spaces as teaching-learning aids
The Spaces can be
  • Classroom
  • Corridor
  • Steps and staircase
  • Outdoor space
The Built Elements can be
  • Floor
  • Wall
  • Window
  • Door
  • Ceiling
  • Platform
  • Furniture

BaLA is about innovatively treating the space and the built elements to make the existing school architecture more resourceful with higher educational value in a child-friendly manner.

But, why BaLA?


  • Lets school be conceived in a holistic way
  • Makes the school a child-friendly place
  • Can be introduced in existing and new school
  • Makes school an exciting place, allowing learning with fun
  • Creates conducive self-learning situations for children
  • Can help creating inclusive learning spaces and provisions spaces for Children With Special Needs (CWSN) - i-BaLA is being developed for this purpose.
  • Allows learning materials accessible to children, at all times
  • Does not allow the TLM to be stolen or misplaced and hence it can remain orderly
  • Allows Teachers to adapt them to suit their specific needs
  • Is more lasting and durable
  • Can be combined with building repairs and up-gradation

Intervention of BaLA could be achieved through a large inventory of 'design ideas' developed by Vinyas through an intense interdisciplinary approach. These are listed as follows. They have been implemented at several urban and rural sites across the country. Few illustrated examples follow from Gujarat.