ClassroomEach boat accommodates 30 students at a time, with two half-day classes per day in grades 1 through 4.
Green curriculumThe curriculum includes a book on river biodiversity written specifically for the boat school students.
Solar powerPhoto voltaic panels on the roof collect solar energy.
Stored energyBatteries store energy from the solar panels through a charge controller.
InvertersDC-to-AC inverters convert the direct current from the batteries into alternating current to power onboard computers and LED lights and to re-charge electric lanterns. They also regulate the voltage to a constant 220 volts whether the batteries are full or almost empty
Technology in educationThe inverters connect to onboard computers.
Floating cinemasAt night, the batteries power a projector that screens movies onto a sailcloth on shore, where communities gather to learn about sustainable farming practices.
InternetThe computers connect to the internet via cellular network using EDGE/GPRS data cards, allowing students to connect to the world.
Double-deckersNewer double-decker boats feature elementary classrooms in the round on the lower level; on the upper level, classes for women feature internet-linked instruction with experts at remote locations on farming, erosion, climate change, health care, and human rights.
Mohammed Rezwan, Architect and Creator of the boat schools
Architect Mohammed Rezwan is the founder of Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a not-for-profit development organization in Bangladesh. Drawing on his architectural expertise, he designs spaces on boats that successfully accommodate the needs of schools, libraries, and training and healthcare centers. He is also the inventor of the “solar water farming” technique, as well as the “bamboo, bottle and siren” flood warning system and the SuryaHurricane solar lantern. His floating schools and SuryaHurricane solar lantern designs were exhibited at the “Design with the Other 90%: CITIES” exhibition, organized by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.
He has received both national and international honors including the 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award, the Sotokoto Green Fighter 2010, Cordes Fellowship 2010, Heroes of the Great Bengal 2006, Social Entrepreneur of Global Philanthropy Forum 2006 and Global Social Benefit Incubator 2005/2006, and Ashoka CBI Award 2003. Rezwan has been featured in international newspapers and magazines including Bergens Tidende, Politiken, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Independent UK, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His work has also received coverage on CNN International, Al Jazeera English, the National Geographic Channel, and the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.