Saturday, December 03, 2005



One of the greatest challenge in the future is going to be keeping alive initiatives that are joyful for the learner. This needs to be done with full realization that such initiatives might not fruition in any tangible measures in the modern and commercial driven context. Yet, such initiatives will holistically help the young minds evolve as better human beings.

Hoshangabad Science Teaching Program (HSTP) -one of the few, ‘joyful learning initiatives’ in the state of Madhya Pradesh, heralded and run by an independent non-governmental organisiation (NGO) Ekalavya, was abruptly stopped and relegated to a supplementary program.. This program covered about 1000 learners from 13 backward districts of Central Indian state of .Madhya Pradesh. The reason forwarded by the government was rather simple. The HSTP for the past 30 years have not been able to make Hoshangabad even an average performer in terms of learning outcomes as measured from indicators related to school education. One of the positive aspects of HSTP, according to Ekalavya was ‘enjoyment of children’, which according the experts from the government was not a tangible, measurable parameter (Menon, M. 2002). The HSTP incident is one of the many sad portrayals of ‘independent joyful learning initiatives’.

The modern portals of education are slowly but steadily wiping of such beautiful, harmonious and organic learning/teaching initiatives. Most of our problems are rooted to the systems of which we are a part. Unfortunately most of our systems lack such a exploratory and expressional space. We are bound by too many deadlines that are actually the lifelines of the system of which we are part. We are bound by a curricular framework, we are bound by a time limit set by a central authority, we are bound by the parent community who reach out learning only with exam-induced fears. More than all these bindings that seldom allows us to create a effective learning space, there is also a lack of motivation for the learning. Students who ‘learn for the purpose of learning’ are a highly endangered species. So are the learning spaces that provide rich and healthy experience.Like the biology of environment management, the realm of education also has its own conservationists who are desperately trying to bring back this endangered species back to a healthy numbers. But for this scenario to change our evaluation methods will have to change. The methods of evaluation and assessment from ‘top’ at this point of time are actually governing our curriculum. The curriculum unfortunately is not tuned to actual needs of the life. The day the needs determines the curriculum, learning will be a more purposeful endeavour.


Arrowsmith, W. 1967. "The future of teaching." In C. B. T. Lee (Ed.), Improving college teaching (pp. 57-71). Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
Facundo, B. Freire-inspired programs in the United States and Puerto Rico: a critical evaluation.
3. Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Howard Gardner, 1999, How cultures Educate, The Disciplined Mind, Simon and Schuster, U.S.
Koetzsch, R. 1997. The Parents’ Guide to Alternatives in Education. Shambala Press.
Krishnamurti. 1974. On Education. Pondicherry, India: All India Press.
Martin, R.A. 2000. Paths of Learning: An Introduction to Educational Alternatives.
Menon,M. 2002. Of laziness and tennancy. The Hindu.
Niell, A.S. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Ramachandran, V. and Saijee, A. 2002. The New Segregation: Reflections on Gender and Equity in Primary Education. Economic and Political Weekly: 1600-1613.
Rampal, A. 2000, Texts in Context, EFA 2000 review. Development of Curricula. Textbooks, and Teaching and Learning Materials, Indian Educational Report, ed Govinda, OUP, New Delhi
World Bank, 2003. "A Review of Educational Progress and Reform in the District Primary Education Program (Phases I and II)", Human Development Sector, South Asia Region, The World Bank: Washington, DC. September 1.


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