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Field immersion

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Miles to go...


We are a team of two guys – Mayank Khewaria and Nishanth Naik – from IIT Gandhinagar, Gujarat and we have travelled across the country on the theme - Education in India. We took up a fellowship after our final year as we wanted to experience the world outside the institute before we enter our professional life. So we travelled across 10 states of the country in search of schools, institutes, NGOs and individuals working on primary education. The trip lasted for 42 days and we have gained a lot of insights on our theme and the cross cultural differences within India. We started with this theme as we saw a deficit of quality education in the primary level and we wanted to get an experience of reality and also look for the changes that are coming up.





As a part of our trip, we headed to Mananthavady on June 13 2017 and reached there by 2 pm. We got to know about Reach India Foundation through some of our mutual friends and came here with a blank slate. Once we reached Thettam…
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Ants, Trees and me.
I had nothing in my mind before reaching Reach India Foundation. I started my exploration from Mysore – Manathavathy bus journey. In that journey, I saw isolated communities in the forest with sustainable life style.It was my first observation part in this journey. I am from Tamil Nadu so I don’t know Malayalam language but I met more Tamil speaking people in the field. I learnt few Malayalam words. It helped me to engage with people in the field.




In a new place, initially, I made my friendship with ants and trees. They were my listeners for the first week. I explored few wards in the Thondarnad panchayat to understand the locality and social structure. In my exploration I observed people’s livelihood, lifestyle, sustainable living and agriculture. The exploration part of my first week made me realise that exploration by foot is important and it is the only way to understand deeper about the society.
I learnt about Muslim community and influence of religious instit…

When in Wayanad, Walk.

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Classrooms or Prisons!
-By Vijitha RajanVijitha is currently a research scholar in Central Institute of Education, Delhi University

Not until recently have I realized why Kumar’s (1991) description of a teacher as a ‘meek dictator’ has appealed me to the core of my understanding about Indian teachers and classrooms. As I went through his book – Political Agenda Of Education – second time during last summer, almost as an epiphany, I realized that the author, Kumar, was describing my life as a teacher and not just the colonial teachers. When he described the nature of teacher training and teachers’ work during the colonial times, I was reliving my own experiences of teacher training and work as a school teacher. Though there are changes in state standpoints and policy level reforms regarding our school and teacher education classrooms, the underlying processes that define our classrooms haven’t really undergone any fundamental change. And that is why the colonial classroom that Kumar (1991) …
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A lesson on Values.
“Let us organise an event in the village with the help of the students to raise awareness” responded the teacher in response to a query by an anxious parent. Student enrollment in this school was declining alarmingly. I was following a conversation between a parent and the teacher on the issue of dwindling school enrollment. One might be forgiven for thinking: Why on Earth does a parent care about the school enrollment of a government school? We will come to this question in a bit, but it is interesting to note that this question is puzzling not just parents and teachers but even governments!
Regardless of the continuing philosophical debates over the merits of public and private education, the trend is there for all to see. Private schools and educational institutions are on a steam roll. Just to rest the case in point, Wayanad, where I am based, a tribal district of Kerala, has almost 40 per cent children aged 6 to 14 enrolled in the private schools according to th…
Padhana Veedu.......a narrative.
There were fifteen kids aged six to twelve along with the local facilitator and I squatting on a dimly lit porch. Each one of them held a notebook and a pencil/pen in their hand. Some of them had to be cajoled out of their home and still others were escorted from the play ground. It had been ten minutes since were sitting idly. The facilitator, a locally appointed teacher, is attending a phone call. Children curiously ask my name and they smile on hearing my name. Perhaps, is rather odd that a male should have a feminine sounding name. 
Giggling went on for five minutes until the facilitator returns. He opened one notebook and scribbled vowels in Malayalam and instructed the child to copy. Next he opened another notebook and wrote few single digit addition problems. The elder girls requested him if they could sing instead. While they sang the rest of the kids too joined in the chorus. The singing session abated after fifteen minutes. The songs had rhythm…

A Story, a dream continues...

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A Story, a dream continues...-by Vaishnavi Mohan and Deepthi J Students at Azim Premji University
Our visit to Reach India Foundation was intended to give us some field exposure so that when we return to our classrooms after our semester break we go with a richer experience and a big bag of questions. That was exactly what happened in the few days we spent there. We met interesting people, had long conversations about things that we held valuable and learned a little bit about the education system that exists in the Thondarnad Panchayat. 

Our initial interaction with Janaki had taken place when he came to Azim Premji University for Kappi Aur Charcha. Further interaction with the team members gave us better clarity on what this new organization was intending to do. It was the brainchild of few Malayalee students at APU who felt that Kerala public education system needs qualitative intervention. This seed of a thought gradually took them to this small sp…