Regional Workshop on “Challenges & opportunities for attaining quality Education
The regional Consultation Workshop on “Challenges & opportunities for attaining quality Education” has been successfully conducted on April 21 at Sri Ji hotel, Chittorgarh. Ninety three participants from various NGOs, social workers, activists, government officials, teachers, PRI members, students and researchers from Udaipur division participated in the workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to start a discussion among various stakeholders on quality education and use the recommendation for advocacy work with the administration and policy makers. Fourteen speakers including chair persons spoke during the workshop on issues related to the quality education.
CUTS- Centre for Human Development organized the Regional workshop on “Challenges and Opportunities in Attaining Quality Education” under the ‘Improving the Quality of elementary Education’ project with the funding support from Save the Children-Bal Raksha Bharat at Hotel Sri Ji, Chittorgarh (Rajasthan) on April 22,2009.
The objective of the workshop was to start dialogue with various stakeholders like government, donor agencies, academicians, researchers, NGOs, activists, volunteers, teachers, community and students regarding the quality education and use the recommendation for advocacy work with the administration and policy makers.
Ninety three participants from the Udaipur zone including government officials, senior personnel from NGOs, donor agencies, professionals, education experts, community representatives and local community participated in this workshop.
In 2008, CUTS-CHD started a project on Improving Quality of Elementary Education in twenty-five villages of 6 panchayats of the disadvantaged Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan with the financial and technical support of SC-BR. This project is based on the twin strategies firstly, children’s involvement and community empowerment, and secondly developing the capacity of government functionaries to effectively implement the policies and programmes to enable children, especially the most marginalized, to realize their right to education. The project also complements the Indian government’s ambitious programme called Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, an initiative that aims to provide useful and relevant elementary education for all children in the 6-14 years age group by 2010.
Efforts are being made to start the dialogue between various stakeholders. However, lack of convergence of individual thoughts has failed to support the policy to add quality in education. In order to expedite the effort for policy advocacy with government machineries, a need was felt to start the dialogue between various stakeholders at local, regional, state and national level.
CUTS succeeded in initiating the dialogue at the local level through various consultation workshop and discussion. The second step was to start the dialogue with various stakeholders at the regional level. In this regard, CUTS planned to organize a consultation workshop at the regional level for the Udaipur zone.
1) Inaugural Session
2) First Session
3) Second Session
4) Third Session
5) Fourth Session
1) Inaugural Session
The inaugural session began with the warm welcome of distinguished guests and participating stakeholders by Amit Chowdhury, Centre Coordinator CUTS-CHD. In his introductory remarks, Amit presented a brief overview of various programme and project activities. He also enumerated about child rights, focusing mainly on right to education.
The workshop was divided in four sessions, each focusing on one pertinent issue related to quality education. The sessions were as follows-
2) First Session
Defining Quality Education
In this session, Vijay Shankar Nirala expressed his view on the “Meaning of Quality Education”. He opined that education is the catalyst to social change and there are a number of social factors affecting education and vice-versa. He lamented on the condition of present education system that favors separate arrangements for the rich and poor. The school curriculum is not at all related to the lives of the first generation learners. There is no room for local knowledge art of the people in school education. Training of teachers is not value oriented and is based on centuries old teacher training modules. The value of education and teaching as a profession is declining day by day.
Vijay said that school education should promote scientific and logical thinking, democratic values and local knowledge. Teachers should behave as friend of children facilitating creation of knowledge in schools.
Indian culture and Education
Discussing the link between Indian culture and education, Dr SN VYAS, Principal PG College, Chittorgarh, emphasized on ethical values and conduct of teaching profession. Briefing about Indian philosophy, teachers morals and behaviour, he said that we have forgotten our glorious past and its vibrant culture and traditions. Most of the educational policies are designed by people who have very little experience in the education sector and have only superficial knowledge of our value system.
Role of Teacher in quality education
Presenting her views on the role of teachers in quality education Ms. Kalyani Dixit, Principal of Government College stated that education is a continuous process. She stressed on the need of such education that enhance the knowledge and skills of children and makes them capable of thinking rationally. The teacher should be the role model for others. She said that the relationship of teacher and students shall be very friendly and classroom activities be decided in consultation with the children following the child centered teaching-learning approach.
3) Second Session
Mental health and improving quality education
Dr Veena Dwivedi, Assistant Prof. Udaipur School of Social Work, Udaipur enlightened the participants by clarifying in great detail about the perspective and historical background of quality education. Next she briefed about the programme interventions such as quality education, gender sensitive quality package, child friendly school environment and role of community in school development.
She further explained about some institutions which have been established for improving the quality of education like NCERT, SIERT, National Institute of Urban Affair, Tribal and labour welfare, Panchayati Raj and Rural development and school management committee (NGOs, PRIs, Youth & women’s group).
She emphasized on relation between education and health and violence against women’s’ and its impact on life circle of the girl child such as pre birth (sex determination, abortion, infancy, female infanticide, emotional and physical violence, discrimination in food and medical), girl child (child marriage, genital mutilation, sexual abuse by family members and relatives), adolescence (sexual abuse in work place, rape, sexual harassment, prostitution and trafficking etc).
Role of Media in quality Education
Govind Tiwari, Journalist, Udaipur blamed politics for poor state of Indian education system and absence of educational environment in schools and colleges. He urged the teachers to treat students as their own sons and daughters and at the same time requested the parents to cooperate in better functioning of schools. By giving his own childhood story he suggested to teach children in Good practical and positive environment.
Corporate responsibilities and quality education
Satya Narayan Enani, Additional Block Education Officer said that the real meaning of education for children is to acquire power to express the inherent quality which will help them to become a responsible citizen. He also discussed about the irrational distribution of teachers in schools.
Mr. Kumar Bikram, UN District Convergence Officer raised some pertinent questions related to government supported projects and programmes in which huge financial investment is involved through various government departments. However, lack of convergence between departments and absence of sharing of learning and best practices resulted in no qualitative or quantitative outcome.
4) Third Session
Role of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in Quality Education
Talking about the importance of ICDS in quality education, Ms. Anshu Bhatnagar, (Director, ICDS, Chittorgarh), said that the education of a child starts in the womb of the mother. After birth, the learning process continues from mother, family, peer groups, neighbors and relatives. After three years of age the child starts going to the Aangan Wadi Centre (AWC) and child learns through various activities with support from Aangan Women Worker (AWW). The pre-primary education component of ICDS helps mental, physical and intellectual development of the child. During her presentation, she stressed on the requirement of community support for smooth functioning of AWC. She also suggested that teaching should take place in an informal environment using locally available material and teaching aids.
Role of Sarwasikhasha Abhiyan (SSA) in Quality Education
Deliberating on the role of SSA in quality education, Suresh Sharma, Additional District Coordinator SSA said that parents prefer to send their children to private schools instead of government schools. This has forced SSA to focus on the quality dimension of school education. To increase the participation of community, SDMC has been formed at the school level but they are non functional due to apathetic attitude of the committee members. He also discussed the formation process of the committee, its functions, roles and responsibilities of members.
He stressed that the examination results do not depend on number of teachers, but are a reflection of teacher’s devotion. Due to the burden of curriculum, there is no separate period for recreation, which is essential for integrated development of a child.
Life Skill Training
Hemendra Chandaliya – Journalist and Professor in English Department, Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur presented a paper on ‘Life skill education and its practical aspects’. He said that Education is the fundamental tools for the change and advocacy. It is essential to know where and what we are teaching to others. In spite of all the education experiment, the social problems are increasing such as gender discrimination and terrorism. We have to observe our policies, which are responsible for creating social unrest.
5) Fourth Session
Role of District Institute of Education Training (DIET)
Munna Lal Dakot, Principal DIET, Chittorgarh, discussed the role of DIET for improving the quality of education. He discussed the indicators by which the quality can be monitored such as fundamental structure of school class rooms, drinking water and sanitation, presence of teacher and students, will of administration and management, curriculum and availability of teachers. He said that evaluation is essential, but it should be reliable and well stuctured. Teachers are merely following the curriculum which makes their thinking process slow.
He said that insensitive attitude of teachers and dissatisfaction is responsible for the poor result of the students.
Difference of approach in attaining quality education by private and government schools
Jai Prakash Bhatnagar, emphasized on private school education and its consequences. He opined that in private school, teachers are more committed even in lesser salary. He himself is running a school for 2-6 years’ of children and described the kind of learning methods they are using. He argued the fact that parents are not sending their kids to private schools because of status symbol but they are sending because the teaching standard is better in private schools. He urged for immediate attention on the use of proper teaching technology as per age group, level of understanding and socio- economic condition of children.
Role of Parents in Quality Education
Mr BL Sisodia said that usually students from rural areas are not interested in adopting their traditional methods of livelihood. This is only due to the fact that present education is cut-off from the lives of people and is producing only ‘machines’. He supported his statement by quoting some real life examples. He questioned whether the present education system is helping children to become the responsible citizen of the country. Though school numbers are increasing day by day, however the quality of education is declining. He said that universal education is merely a political slogan. Our present education does not follow the fundamental right. Instead of bridging the gap between people, our present education system is creating gap between people.
The workshop covered various aspects of quality education and gaps that need to be addressed so that no child is deprived of quality education. The presenters and participants recommended couple of points for improving education qualities;
- Immediate action is required to sensitize all stakeholders towards their responsibilities for supporting child specially girl child education
- Effort should be made to sensitize policy makers and government machineries to frame educational policies from the child’s point of view
- There is an immediate need to promote child friendly education and corporal punishment should be banned.
- Teachers should be trained to deal with children with extreme care and should be encouraged to use innovative methods to raise their learning interest
- Discussion should be held on regular basis with children to know what they want regarding their education. Children should be invited in the Gram Sabha and their grievancesshould be given equal importance
- Person having interest to contribute for improving the quality of education in school should be considered as a member for School Development and Monitoring Committee.
- Life skill education should be given priority in school education
- There should be a mechanism to track the learning level and drop out of students. The monitoring system to track teachers’ presence in the school and should be linked with the retention and learning level of students. There should be strong provision of action against those teachers who are non performers.
- A period on moral science should be incorporated in school to develop positive attitude, high character, morality and humanity in children.
- There should be periods for games in school
- Student should be encouraged for library reading. There should be a library period and government should help developing library in schools
- Proper attention is required on basic facilities such as clean water, toilets etc
- A better coordination between government officials, community, local leaders, PRI members, NGOs and other private & public institutions is highly required for bringing quality in education
Vote of Thanks
Sanajay Moud thanked participants and presenters for participating in the discussion and giving their valuable inputs for the betterment of education. Sanjay extended his thanks to Madan Giri Goswami, Madan Lal Keer, Nitu Joshi and other CHD staffs for their contribution in organizing the workshop. The workshop concluded with the optimism that community and administration will work together for promoting quality education.