Report of the workshop on Classroom, Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion: Voices form the Margin
Deshkal Society Delhi in collaboration with UNICEF and in association with Shiksha Sandhan ,Bhubaneshwar and CYSD, Bhubaneshwarorganized a two day workshop onClassroom, Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion: Voices form the Margin on21st -22ndMarch , 2009 at Hotel Presidency, Bhubaneshwar.
As expected, the workshop generated lots of interest among the key stakeholders including government agencies, organic intellectuals and activists from Orissa, international agencies, civil society organizations working on education, research and development organizations, educationists, academic and professionals.
The issues related to the themes of Practice of Classroom, Textbooks and Marginality; Classroom, Teacher and Marginality; Caste/Class, Ethnicity and marginality, and, Home, Classroom and children were discussed with in depth analysis, sharing of best practices, presentation of case studies.
The proved to an important occasion for learning for the organization and generated agenda forsimultaneous action by all actors for addressing the issues of curriculum, teacher'sorientation, classroom practices and textbooks so that all children avail the bestof education with equity in all respects.
We are pleased to share a report for the workshop. Your comments and critical feedback on the report would be most valuable for advancing the work on Classroom, Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion that will facilitate access to quality education to all children in general and children belonging to marginalized communities in particular.
With warmest regards
For Deshkal Society
-- THE TWO DAY WORKSHOP Classroom Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion: Voices from the Margin
21st and 22nd March, 2009 Presidency Hotel, Bhubaneswar
Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam
ORGANISED BY DESHKAL SOCIETY In collaboration with UNICEF and, In association with Sikshsandhan, Bhubaneswar and, CYSD, Bhubaneswar
Deshkal Society www.deshkaledu.org as part of the programme for making the classrooms, curriculum and textbooks inclusive and plural organized a two-day workshop on " Classroom Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion: Voices from the Margin" in collaboration with UNICEF www.unicef.org and, in association with Sikshsandhan, Bhubaneswar www.sikshasandhan.org and CYSD, Bhubaneswar www.cysd.org on 21st and 22nd March, 2009 at Presidency Hotel, Bhubaneswar . The broad objective of the two day workshop was to contribute to developing new tools, strategies and approaches to influence classroom curriculum, pedagogy, school management towards the development of inclusive classrooms, schools and systems, such that those currently marginalized are able to participate fully in the education – across the spectrum -- and access their constitutional right to education of an acceptable quality. The discussions for the two day workshop were held on the following themes:
• Practice of Classroom, Textbooks and Marginality • Classroom, Teacher and Marginality • Caste/Class, Ethnicity, Religious Identity, Classroom and Marginality • Home, Classroom and Children
The workshop is part of our long term sustainable programme on Classroom Curriculum, Pluralism and Social Inclusion: Voices from the Margin in which Deshkal Society working as a facilitator has been organizing and facilitating this process in the seven states of regional capital and five regions of the India that are as follows:
Northern region (Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar and Rajasthan)
Southern region (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka)
Eastern region (Orissa and Chhattisgarh)
Western region (Maharashtra)
North-East region (Assam, Meghalya and Manipur)
All the potential stakeholders in Orissa were invited for taking forward the agenda including the representatives of SSA, SCERT, teacher training colleges, international agencies, Department of Education, etc for ensuring collective participation of best practitioners, schoolteachers, trainers (DIET and independent) and pedagogic practitioners.
Deliberations for Day One: 21 March 2009
Mr. Anil Pradhan, Secretary, Sikshasandhan welcomed all the participants and describing briefly the context of the workshop expressed hope that the deliberation on the issue of plurality and social inclusion in the classroom curriculum, teachers would contribute to the realization of the critical goals of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with reference to bridging the gaps in educational development indicators with reference to social groups, gender, classes, religious groups and castes.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Secretary, Deshkal Society described the context of the workshop in detail explaining the need to discuss the issues of marginality and plurality in the classroom curriculum, teaching transaction, changing social group composition of classrooms, school. He called upon all the key actors and organic participants in the journey for making primary education responsive to the needs of marginalised communities. He called for the need to attend to the changing social compositions in the schools and referred the Probe report that indicated substantial increase in the number of children in the government schools. Noting this change in the composition of the school, he pointed out that the educational content and teacher training, textbooks needed change. He shared the findings of several studies where the teachers and students belonging to the scheduled castes felt tension in the relationship with the children. He called for the need to create a perspective for diversity. Referring to the experience of the some Dalit writers documented through their biographies, he shared how many Dalit children continue to suffer discriminatory behaviour in the classrooms. Recalling from the studies in pedagogy of oppressed, he noted that there has not been much work after Paulo Ferreira's famous work on Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Noting the importance of the two day workshop, he expressed hope that deliberations in the workshops would help build the recommendations that would be used for formulating the final recommendations that would be used for influencing of the policy of the government of India on the occasion of the national convention that would be organised in association with research organizations such as NCERT and NUEPA and with involvement of the MHRD. He explained the context of the workshop as part on the processes in the region for building network on Classroom Curriculum, teaching transaction, pedagogic practices so that voices from the margin are incorporated. He noted that the workshop in Lucknow was part of the national journey on the issue that will culminate in the national conventions where recommendations from the regional consultation will be collated in association with NCERT and NUEPA and in association with MHRD for integration in the national policy building for addressing the issues of diversity and marginality.
Dr. Aruobinda Behera, Principal Secretary, Government of Orissa delivering the inaugural address thanked Deshkal Society for initiating the discussion on the themes of Marginality and Plurality in education and noted the retention of children in the schools, access to primary and upper primary schools in the tribal areas remained a concern in Orissa. He referred to the findings of the PROBE report and shared that authors of the report John Dreze had gone to those areas where the initial data had been collected. The team of John Dreze found that infrastructure is good, textbooks are there, mid day meals are available for children, enrolment has improved, and drop out rate has fallen. Sharing the findings, the team reported that it is the quality aspects of education that needs serious attention now. He shared that workshop is for understanding the issues of exclusion and accelerating the pace of corrective actions with the involvement of all the stakeholders in education including the education managers at state district, block levels, teachers, teacher education, parents and children.
Noting the importance of school as a place for imparting value of tolerance, mutual understanding as issues related to caste and religions has been there in the schools. He noted that Orissa has created integration and there are more common bonds than the differences among the various communities. Related to the increase in the number of private schools, he lamented on the impact on social inequity as segregation was increasing. Very few among the rich were sending their children to government schools. Recalling the government schools in the villages, he mentioned that the schools were for all the children and a source of generation of great ideals, teachers and students had warm relationships. He pointed out that lowering of values in the society has occurred as a result of current changes due to stratification of education system with qualitatively different schools catering the iniquitous aspirations of the various classes in Orissa.
Citing from his visit to a school run by department of tribal welfare, he informed that tribal children in the schools had stopped taking food in the school as one of children had been severely punished. It was only after the assurance for transfer of the teacher that children started taking food in the school. Therefore, he noted that it is extremely important to discuss how teachers transact information and knowledge in the classroom and how they behave with the children and in this regards he noted the importance of diversity training for the teachers in the classroom transactions. "Education has a liberating influence and it is important how children are integrated in the classroom". Thanking Deshkal Society, he commended the participants for sparing time for a critical discussion on the issues of marginality and diversity in the classroom.
Prof. Prafull Chandra Mohapatra, Former Director, SCERT, Orissa noting on the languages used for teaching he referred that local languages required recognition for imparting primary education to children and called upon the government to recognise the need to incorporate as many languages as possible. For some languages, it has taken more that 40 years for granting recognition. Citing the reasons for this delay, he pointed out that this was due to absence of recognition of multiple governance mechanisms and absence of research in this regard. Citing UNESCO recognition of equality of men and rejection of inequality of languages, he referred to the Colonial education system that was set up for producing men and women that would assist in the administration and even after independence there has not been much change. He maintained that exclusionary policy of British should have been abandoned long time ago. The schools are producing students for serving a class. Reflecting on the differences in the written and spoken language, he called for making the written language as close to the spoken one as possible and in this regard he shared examples of textbooks that were produced by NCERT in a version of Hindi that was not in use and this was the case with several other languages where the yearning for standardisation have left many children confounded. He cited the case of 6th standard children who could not read 2nd standard text. Referring to absence of follow up action, he shared that conferences and seminars are not followed up in concrete action plans by those concerned with the curriculum and education of the children belonging to diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
He called for new initiatives and asserting voices for making curriculum responsive and sensitive to cultural and linguistic needs of the children belonging to diverse social groups that have been marginalised and ignored with a couplet from Allama Iqbal, an Urdu poet and philosopher: khudi ko kar baland itna ke har taqdeer se pahle; Khuda bande se pooche bata teri raza kya hai (raise yourself to such a height that the Almighty God asks about your wish". With this evocative couplet, he noted that schools are dead and they need to be revived with the new enthusiasm for inclusive and ecologically safe nation building and, in this regard he called for a movement for improving the quality of the schools. He called for getting rid of the old notion where it is accepted that teacher should teach and students should learn as this assumed absence of the sensitivity to the diverse needs of children. Underlining the loss of moral values that has been created with predominance of career based education, he lampooned the slogan of My India is Great with a slogan mera Bharat Mahan, 100 mein 99 beimaan (My India is great with 99 % dishonest men and women). He called for education that sought balance of head, hand, heart, health and hereafter and sought serious attention to the factors that were responsible for the poor condition of education of SCs, STs, minorities, and women and physically challenged. He called for inclusion of key values for education such as life enrichment education, life value education, life skills education.
Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra, Coordinator of Tribal and Minority education at OPEPA, Orissa shared the background work on education of the tribal children in Orissa along with the statistical date for describing the education of children in Orissa. Referring to the concern for the education of tribal children shared by Prof. P.C Mohapatra, he shared that 75% the children in the tribal region find schooling difficult. He noted that children at the primary stage would not be able to learn if they are not integrated in the school with the use of the language that they use at home. Referring to PROBE report, he noted that the report has only assessed the infrastructure related issue and it has not addressed the quality related issues associated to the education of tribal children in Orissa and Muslim children in Orissa. Reflecting on the inter-cultural understanding, he wonder as to how many non-Muslims in Orissa were aware of the contribution of Muslims in terms of knowledge, food, dress, architecture and several other fields. Similarly, there was lack of awareness on the contribution of tribal leaders in India. He noted that these should have been integrated in the curriculum. He called for special sensitivity for children from various cultural backgrounds so that schools in real sense could be the place for education.
Comments and Questions:
Dr. Prafull Kumar Dhal: What is the source of data for the retention rate and drop out rate of the children, actual strength of children in the school? Noting that use of shoe is a matter of dignity and in some villages old feudal attitudes prevent some children from using the shoe. He called for adoption of framework that focussed on the key values of equality, dignity, fairness, ecological safety.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar: How many Adivasi children were found interested in education? Teacher behaviour is important. How does the behaviour of teacher influence the education of tribal children?
A Participant cited the example of migrant children in Bolangir district and sought the arrangement for their education
Prof. D P Pattnaik: all those talking about marginalisation are those who are marginalising people and believe in marginality through seeing from their perspective there are issues of diversity.
Dr. Ananta Kumar Giri: What are the implications of pluralism?
Dr.Prafull Dhal: There are two kind of marginalisation inside the school and outside the school. Going beyond the issue of language it is important for people
Chairing the second session Prof. U.N.Dash shared some of the critical concerns with the change process while maintaining continuity and emphasized on the role of teachers. In this regard, he questioned as to how many teachers knew the national curriculum framework. Considering the quality of education, he pointed out that at nay point 99% of children would not like to go to school. Considering quality of education to be critical, he noted the disjunction between the administrators and the practitioners of education and in this regards noted that there are different views for education. Bureaucrats have a file view of education and teachers, parents and people involved in education have a field view of education. He called for getting all together so that those who only have the field view should be able to critical assess the policy and contribute significantly in the policy formulation and those who only have the file view of education should have adequate field level knowledge and experience for addressing the needs in the schools. Similarly those who have a development view on the issues related to education need to be critical aware of the file view and field views. Calling for the need to generate convergences, he called for all the stakeholders to come together for improving the situation of education in Orissa. He cited the importance of activity based learning and noted that pedagogic practices needs to differentiate between the higher forms of knowledge and then the one that is based on activity as for children it is important that they are provided information and knowledge through adopting the gradualist approach. Reflecting on the intellectuality capacity of children, he noted that 50-60 percent of this remains fixed. Noting the importance of teachers, he called for optimum involvement of teachers in the process of formulating, designing and implementing innovations in the schools. Instead of playing to the tunes of powers that support status quo, he called for the need for change.
Dr. Savyasaachi from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi in his thought provoking presentation questioned what was primary in the primary education as most of content was defined as per the needs of the state. He called for the need to redefine 'primary education'. He suggested that the current criteria of age group is not correct way to define primary education and called for reorienting the definition of primary education considering the ecological challenges and needs of maintaining diversity. Critiquing the PROBE report, he pointed that voices of the margins has not been captured in the report. He wanted to know whether the Adivasis struggle for land, wage and culture is reflected in the education system. He noted that education system needs to the relate to collective challenge of the community who are being subjected to a particular 'development' process in which ecologically sustainable habitats and livelihoods are just instruments for manipulation with tremendous loss to their self esteem, resources and dignity.
Dr. Mohit Mohan Mohanty, Former Director SEIMAT, Orissa noted the importance of learning from the immediate surroundings and use of activity based learning methods that have been used successfully. He noted that introducing only textbooks turns out to be a hurdle in learning by children.
Dr. Monmath Kundu Former Director, ATDC, Orissa shared about questioning as an important process for co-learning and in this regards quoted a couplet from ancient text in which it is emphasised that question is a question and not a sword or an arrow, if answered it is fine and, even if this is not answered it is also fine. Our questions are for being together, learning together, exploring together and searching together for meanings and purposes. He noted the importance of questioning in the classroom and considering this to be the foundation for creative learning and endeavours and invited Ms. Supria Mallick, Principal, DIET, Dolipur to speak on exclusion in Indian Schools. She described how caste system determined interaction, relationships, economic relationships and it creates a basis for exclusion of social groups from public services and entitlements. She noted how Adivasis are suffering isolation and exclusion as school walls are decorated with the image of Saraswati and Ganesha excluding all those for whom these images represent domination of culture. Critiquing the recruitment policy of teachers, she noted that teachers are recruited on the basis of mark and not their capacity to manage education, creativity, innovation. Old evaluation system is based on rote learning. Teacher believes in Hindutva. School celebrate Guru Diwas, Increased enrolment is also followed by increased drop out. Statistics show a wide gap in the retention rate among the social groups. Religious fanaticism is also practices in schools at extreme levels as teachers instead of being caring teachers for all children turn out to be intolerant.
Dr. Monmath Kundu underlined the importance of transacting with children from tribal groups even with the few words as there are more than 200 schools where impacts need to be felt. "Making the children connect with the school is possible with knowledge of 3-4 indigenous words". He shared his experience of training of teachers where teachers did not show interest in new tools and teaching techniques for children. He called for making learning pleasurable through removing all the unpleasant features existing in classroom transaction, attitude of the teachers for children. Noting the dominance of education by men and women belonging to the upper caste, he called for inclusive justice in the recruitment of the teachers.
Dr. Anant Kumar Giri, Associate Professor, Madras Institute of Development Studies called for experiencing exclusions and imagining the suffering of children, men and women who have been suffering the same for generations. Ms. Supriya Mallick shared about a high school with predominant SC children where on the occasion of Saraswati Pooja, SC children were not permitted to have water and they were experiencing discrimination. She called for removal of such practices and make the schools a socially just and discrimination free space for children. She noted that observances of festivals such as Ganesh Pooja and Saraswati Puja are divisive and do not represent the multi-cultural and secular ethos of the public institutions. She called for training in democratic values and elimination of differential treatment of children in the schools.
Comments and Questions
Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam: To what extent training manuals have incorporated the values of human rights and social inclusion education? (For Ms. Supriya Mallick). Attitudinal changes happen in seconds and this just needs information on the different religio-cultural traditions for the teachers and students.
A participant: Bihari and Bengali children are feeling excluded. Attitude change in required for the teachers with representations of the various social groups and their role models in the textbooks.
Ms. Jannatul Begum: How to change the attitude of the teachers in the schools for children from the diverse social backgrounds as teachers more often than not impose their values?
Mr. Girish Chandra Das, a teacher shared his experience in the school with predominant Christian children who did not eat Prasad. Thereafter, while observing Saraswati Puja for the sake of few Hindu children, sweets were arranged separately for Christian children as they believed they would not partake of 'prasad'. Further, he shared that children did not have feelings of caste and religion.
A participant: How Oriya language is foreign to some if they are learning English as a language?
Morin Panda: How do we mainstream the Adivasi children? How do we take examination of tribal children in their language?
Dr. Monmath Kundu, Former Director, ATDC responding to the issues agreed that attitude can be changed and for this training should be rigorous for the teachers. Teachers should have an inclusive attitude respecting diversity. He shared that he and all in his family believed in inclusive culture. In this regard, he shared living with two tribal boys at his cottage where they stay together equitably and at times bystanders feel strange that tribal boys should have that much access to his personal quarters. Referring to NCF, he noted that this has turned something like Veda for which there are different interpretations from Kashmir to Kerala. Referring to some of the attitudes for the tribal children that non-tribal teachers hold is the way children from tribal groups speak as they are straight forward and in their language there are no words indicating special honours' for elders. This not considered courteous and some teachers hold this against the tribal children, though in their own social milieu, there is nothing wrong in not using the honorific for elders. Thus some teachers do not appreciate the linguistic background of the children from tribal communities and appear to be imposing the cultural aspects of Oriya language. Noting these problems of difference in inter-social group perceptions, he called for special attention by OPEPA and SCERT in Orissa for changing the attitudes of teachers and making them responsive to marginality and diversity for ensuring that children from diverse social and cultural groups in the schools are Orissa have a sense of belongingness. Responding to the question of Ms. Jannatul Begum for changing the attitudes of the teachers toward the children, he asserted that schools need to be kept away from the expression of inequitable and socially unjust values that are not in conformity of the constitutional ideals for equality, fraternity and dignity to all children irrespective of caste, religion, ethnicity and tribal identity. "Keep away those values from the family that are not in consonance with the democratic values." He further noted that our education is child centred and it is more teacher centred. He called for making education child centred where teacher is a facilitator. Referring to the capacity of children to learn language he noted that children have the capacity to learn all language and this is important that training modules include sessions for multilingual education.
Deliberations of Day Two: 22 March 2009
Chairing the first session of the 2nd Day of the workshop, Dr, Monmath Kundu asked Dr. Anant Kumar Giri to share his paper on Cultivating Meditative Pluralism and Transformative Learning. Dr. Anant Kumar Giri referred to the development of orientation for pluralism and called for development of processes for researches, training modules so that we would be able to eat together, live together on the earth trough inclusive education. He called for alinganmayi Shiksha, an education system where people embrace each other and understand the common humanity. He called for respect to all the messengers Muhammad, Jesus and celebrating Eid and Christmas. In this regard, he called for the need to prepare ground for such a wonderful social transformation. Without transformation, there is no possibility for inclusion. Inclusion otherwise would remain and an illusion. He called for the need for worshipping plurality as this required going beyond learning and called for participating in the cultural processes of the 'other'. In this regard he share the example in Denmark, where Government of Denmark has initiated a programme for learning Islam, in which children are taken to mosques and taught about the people in Islam and their practices.
Mr. Dasmantpur Tilsu Dishari, a teacher at AIE centre shared his work with the children at the Alternative Education Centre and described how his centre is being run following the principles of cooperative learning and democratisation of the classroom. He emphasized how the use of local language with teachers selected from the local community members have been helpful in the getting the tribal children in school.
Mr. Prafull Dhal, Consultant, BISWA noted that dignity for all children is important and at times it is lost. Sharing his work on children in biri (tobacco rolled in leaves) making sector, he called for attention for children in difficult conditions as they were the one requiring the most attention of the civil society organisation, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Referring to the reforms proposed in the Madarsa education by Gordon Brown, he noted that this was scuttled in India noting the findings of the Sachar Committee report that pointed out that only 4 percent of children were enrolled in the Madarsas. He also called for discussing plurality and questioned as to be extent to which state could grant plurality. Referring to the recommendation of Knowledge Commission, he pointed that English teaching was recommended to be taught from Class I itself. Private Schools create a challenge on quality but at the same time they also create reasons for social stratification and there is need to discuss the costs. Further he pointed out the private tuitions.
Comments and Questions
- There are various types of schools, Saraswati Shishu Mandirs, run by RSS are exacerbating exclusion and what is the role of Sarva Shiskha Abhiyan? - Ms. Supriya Mallick enquired about the data source for children and new children in schools. - How children should get confidence? - Weight of book that children carry has increased from 5 kilogram in 2003 to 13 kilogram in 2008. This is not pedagogically sound. - Student's suicide in increasing, Parents expectations are too high. - How would we realise the vision of APJ Abdul Kalam. Only 13% children are studying science and 67% of children failed mathematics - Children feel alienated in the classroom as dominant culture and politics gets represented in the school and this was also the position of Gramsci who felt that schools create alienation. - How to make schools a place for inclusion, freedom, and access to knowledge .We must be practitioners of goodness, freedom. Neo-liberals are turning schools to be the factory for generating consumers. - With stratified education system, even the rich are getting marginalised as it is creating a class of people who despite having belonging to the common village are pushed to feel different. - Dr. Anant Kumar Giri called for creating condition for the interested students for understanding different cultures and religions. How much do we know about Muslims and Islam
Dr. Pradipta Nayak, Human Rights Education narrated the provision of United Nations and described in detail the key features of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Citing the incidents in Kandhmal where reactionaries indulged in the violation of human rights and referred to Dalits and Adivasis who form half of the population of slums in Bhubaneswar and noted that many are not ready to accept inclusion. He cited the example of teachers who behave like zamindars and consider themselves to the chief minister of the schools. Citing flagrant violation of the rights of children, he noted that many of us were mere onlooker though actively involved in campaigns but not taking up even token measures of talking to child labourers and children in distress when we see them at various urban and rural locations. Noting of the work of human right educations, he informed about work on curriculum for human rights education working with 600 schools in Orissa. Citing the impact of techniques, he informed that passive learners have become active learners and children have started asking questions to the headmasters. He considered human rights education to be an important feature of quality education. Noting on the programme for human rights education, he informed that this was part of the work of the task force established by NHRC and NCERT.
Sharing a paper of Classroom Transaction and Inclusions, Dr.G.C. Nanda ,Reader, Department of Education, BJB, College, Bhubaneswar referred to teacher behaviour in the classroom and noted there are several improvement in student participation in the classroom and community participation in the management of schools, CRCs, BRCs and DIs collective participation is needed more for further improving the classroom transaction. Mr. Shyam Sunder Das expressed thanks for Deshkal Society for the initiating the discussions in Orissa and hoped that efforts for inclusive and cultural responsive plural education would get accelerated in Orissa. He called for collective struggle for protecting the rights of children by recognising the diverse needs of children from diverse social and cultural backgrounds.
Dr. UN Dash Professor of Psychology, Utkal University chairing the 3rd session sessions referred to multilingual education and called for the need to emphasize on the bilingual education in the schools of Orissa.
Mr. Sanjay Pattnaik: Referring to the expenditure pattern of allocations under SSA, he informed that lots of money is not being utilised and returned. Government is not interested in teaching tribal children and they are not realising the value of education. He shared public hearing in 20 districts that showed the need for livelihood based education .Noting the problems in tribal education he informed that language used for classroom transaction continued to be barrier in education of the large number of children in Orissa. This lack of sensitivity is directly linked with rise in the number of child labourers and trafficked children. He called for a study on the use of budget for education as lots of money meant for education is getting refunded to ministries. He shared his dialogue with OPEPA in Orissa and started 30 schools for children. Calling for increasing value additions from SSA officials, he noted that most of SSA officials were administrators. Reflecting on the impact of development projects, he noted that children are the worst victims of development project as large populations get dislocated and displaced without proper rehabilitation and resettlement. He cited the example of Indrawati project where children were rendered homeless with no assistance. Noting on lack of sensitivity and responsiveness to international covenants, he noted that Conventions on Rights to Children are not honoured and there is no implementation of Juvenile Justice Act. He called for common education system as stratified education created division in the society. Noting on impact of education system, he informed that lots of Dalit and tribal children were getting exploited and corporal punishment was very much prevalent in the schools. 50% of the drop out is happening due to corporal punishment in schools. A GO has been sent to all the schools that bans corporal punishment.
Ms.Vidya Das of Agragamee speaking on the importance of the education noted the problems in the education of girl children in Orissa as several of panchayats did not have upper primary school. She informed about her work with the children where 93% of the girl children are enrolled. Due to distance and considerations of safety and security, parents are not sending girl children to far away schools in the rural areas .Even where schools are there, quality of education of children is pathetic as teachers are absent from the schools. There are many schools that does not have buildings and some constructions that have been done is not complete .Most of the schools have only two teachers for teaching 5 classes with low level of functional literacy. She called for alternative paradigm as tribal children have a cultural learning from their childhood with knowledge of survival skills. She called for repudiation of the banking model of education. In this regards she shared about the initiation of schools for girls in Kashipur as teachers in the primary schools are absent. She noted that parents despite bias for girls are interested in education and they are ready to pay Rs.300 per annum for the education of children. Sharing some of the features of education, she informed that the medium of instruction is Oriya and English is being taught. Referring to the attraction of the English language, she noted that children and parents are happy as they are learning English language.
Mr.R. Mohanty appreciated the initiative of Agragamee and Dr. G.C.Nanda enquired about the classroom curriculum and textbooks of Agragamee. Dr.Prafull Dhal enquired about the endeavours for strengthening the education system as government of India has ratified CRC. Vidya responded that the school has been initiated considering the absence of teachers in the schools and after the initiation of the school even the government school has started functioning with headmaster reaching them and questioning as to the children who have enrolled there. She considered this to be an important impact of the initiation of the classes for children.
Dr.U.N. Dash noting the importance of language shared that every 15 minute a language was dying out of the 7000 languages in India. He called for development of scientific temper and inculcating of questioning as to what, when, why, whom, where, how, who in the schools. He called for correcting the state of affairs in the country as 99 percent of people were not satisfied with the existing state of affairs. He called for active thinking for solving the problems and thanked Deshkal for the instituting the process in Orissa.
Sanjay noting the key spirit signified through the spirit of 'bahudha' shared that Orissa demonstrated the example of diversity in terms of language as four different languages namely Angika, Oriya, Hindi and English were used for communicating experiences and learnings in the workshop and re quested speaker to offer the summative assessment of the proceedings in the workshop with recommendations and comments.
Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra appreciating the discussion on the education of deprived such as Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims enquired on what would be knowledge base for education of these groups. He wanted to know whether the knowledge on the morals were inside the curriculum? Noting the constitutional provision for representative justice, who would determine the needs of these groups –government, people themselves or those who advocate on the issue. He noted that Adivasi education is emerging as a major focus with Adivasi voice, networks and campaigns. In this regard, he called for the involvement of Deshkal Society and Sikshasandhan, CYSD, Agragamee and other interested organisations in making the curriculum representative of the diverse knowledge systems in Orissa.
Mr.Achyut Das of Agragamee noted that the ways social exclusion is increasing, it has to be redefined as more and more communities and individuals are getting excluded through displacement and this has been happening in all the areas where forest areas are being sold for mining or for development projects. He asked as to capacity to the teachers for addressing the issues of exclusion that is being executed systematically by the state. Referring to mindset to be at the root of the problem, he said that right to education has not been taken seriously. Questioning decisions for nuclear deal and Chandrayan, he called for adequate allocation for right kind of education that did not break the organic and ecologically sustainable relationship of people. He questioned the process of mainstreaming and considered SSA to be hogwash as there are many denotified tribes and nomads in the countries who have not even been registered and thus technically are not even citizen of this country. "Do you want to make them second class citizen by mainstreaming"? He called for development of alternative tools, processes and techniques for education for ensuring the dignity and ingenuity of the indigenous populations.
Dr. Radhakrishna ,Former Information Commissioner, Orissa relating to the some of the great scientists such as Mendel, Thomas Edison for their humble social backgrounds and emphasised that humble social background is not always a hurdle in the path of men and women who have desire to do something for the humanity. Referring to the need to respect native knowledge system, he called for having respect to the indigenous skills and knowledge sharing that great works of architecture was executed not by men who had been equipped with the most sophisticated instruments. Referring to the call of Mr.Achyut Das, he called for development of a think tank that would address all the issues.
Dr. Anant Kumar Giri: Noting the importance discussion on social inclusions, he referred to the loss of cultural memory that dealt with equity and called for reviving the respect for pluralism through recalling his experience of learning from a Muslim teacher, appealing for transformatory education and negotiating conflict between Dalits and Brahmins. He called for creating ground for education for pluralism and recalled his learning from Zapatistas in Mexico. Underlining the need for substantial research and innovative work in the operational areas, he called for active endeavours in Orissa. Concluding, he prayed with greeting to all the great personalities. Sanjay Kumar highlighted three major point India a country of diverse social group with an active culture of discourse and debates. Education policy can not be framed without underlining the importance of pluralism and recognition of its reality. He shared the learnings from Uttar Pradesh where organic Dalit leaders presented their views on history and curriculum most effectively. Dr.Muhammad Mukhtar Alam, Deshkal Society delivered the vote of thanks in English and Mr.Anil Pradhan, Secretary, Sikshasandhan delivered the vote of thanks in Oriya.
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