Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Education and Governance tracks - The story uptil now

Here is a quick summary of the problems identified by the participants as hampering Indian rural development:

Educational Infrastructure
Disinterest and incompetence of teachers
High overhead costs for students
Rudimentary or improvised classrooms arising out of poor construction
Mixed aged classrooms
Inaccessibility of schools in rural India
High opportunity costs of sending children to school

Teacher and Student Participation
Disinterested educators
Low enrollment of students
Low motivation of teachers due to inadequate pay

Government and Policy Decisions
Bureaucracy, i.e. corruption and red-tapism
Diversion of funds away from the educational sector
Government schools tied up by red-tapism

Student Backgrounds
Gender disparities - Unequal sex ratio (in dropout levels) Especially in Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat.
Religious disparities
Size of land holdings
Caste-related problems
Academic performance affected by malnutrition
Poverty and child labour drawing children from classrooms
Lack of attendance of students from agricultural backgrounds
Family size (the larger the size of the family, the lesser the education levels of children)
Physical handicaps of children lead to discrimination
Cultural discontinuity of tribal children in schools
Variances in language of instruction

Outdated syllabus
Curriculum is impractical
Lack of structure and focus
Basic functional literacy is inadequate
Large number of educational systems

Familial values
Lack of parental support

Monday, September 13, 2010

The General State of Affairs

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may have by now realized that the Symposium has hauled itself into its second week. The agenda, the itinerary and whatever else it is that is to be set for the week has been set and things should move on in a jolly fashion now. Everybody is happy we presume. If not, ask us politely and we will conveniently ignore you.

I was honestly surprised to note that one thread had 93 replies in them. I was stunned. I mean, 93? May be you guys can have a race to hundred or something and the person who makes the cent gets some sort of unofficial prize. And, umm, I don't think this bright idea of mine is going to be financed by the high and mighty over here. Like many bright ideas, this one too seems ahead of its time. So it's left to you guys to do something about it.

Toodle-oo! And get back to work.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week One and progress so far

Symposium, '10 is off to a flying start. The first week has seen intense discussions, with participants bringing relevant points to the fore. In the Education and Governance tracks, thoughts have concentrated around six important themes:

a) Educational Infrastructure
b) Teacher and Student Participation
c) Government and Policy Decisions
d) Student Backgrounds
e) Curriculum
f) Familial values.

The discussion forum has been the hotbed for identification of problems plaguing the educational system in rural India. The participants are also slowly veering towards the issue of tackling these problems with viable and realistic solutions that can be implemented on a national level.

Some of the posts elicited attention for both content and style. Anubhav discoursed at length on the viability of CCT's; much appreciated, but lost on the other participants. Neelakantan was highly enthusiastic in all his posts. He brought up many points, illustrated them and substantiated them with insightful videos. Ashish's points were focused and were followed up by the other participants extensively. Lord Arawn supplemented Neelakantan in his enthusiasm, and successfully consolidated the plethora of issues previously mentioned. Niharika moderated and controlled the flow of debate. Mounika, Karthikeyan and Chitra deserve special mention for their contribution. We'd also like to thank Sneha for her singular contribution.

The organising team of Symposium, '10 hopes that participants will keep up this tremendous response and continue with this quality of work in the upcoming weeks!