For past few weeks India is grappling with urgency of change in existing laws to ensure safer existence of better-half of population. Harsher penalty and fast-track courts would bring culprits to quick justice. This is supposed to grant partial succor to victims of rape and molestation. The leader-less movement of youth, which is pressing for these changes, underlines the strength of Indian democracy.
One certain way to seek (and sometime, find) a solution is trial and error. Conceptually, it appeared destined for oblivion as bulk of human knowledge grew to lessen the sea of unknown. As, a large part of knowledge created increasingly grows dated, the degree of uncertainty remains the same. Some might even say that over the past decade, it has grown!
Knowledge may also be defined on scale of certainty. If in a particular village the sun would rise between one specific tree on left and another specific tree (or rock) on right, one could be sure that this direction may safely be called east. Mystics have always made fun of the idea of such ‘ascertained’ knowledge.
“h equals ten raised to the power of minus twenty seventh part of 6.6thness” With similar mathematical abstractions weaving near-concrete images, Taj Masood continues the oral tradition of poetry. He holds that poetry, born in head should reside there till other heads are ready to lend an ear. The images form and dissolve to reappear; they resurface, honed and enriched by flow of life meanwhile.
Orality carries an authenticity not found in the paper-rigid fixity of the material world. It is authenticated by life itself. The Classical traditions aim to capture human achievements; the oral traditions merely allow them a playground.
As an academic investigator I had visited Shikshantar, an NGO in Udaipur, to see their work on alternative education. Shikshantar believes in zero-schooling, which means not admitting a child into a school at all, but letting him/her learn on his/her own if and when the child is interested.
Shikshantar is also associated with ‘Swaraj University’, a new concept in today’s world, though an old concept if you look into ancient history. Swaraj University does not give any degrees, believing that a degree is not necessary for one to become successful in life. One can successfully practice a trade/ profession/ occupation to meet one’s livelihood needs without a degree. Students who join Swaraj University come from backgrounds and may even be school dropouts. Called ‘Khojis’, or seekers, these students interact with various experts from varied fields, seek to find out what they are most suited for themselves, and then train as apprentices under an expert in the field to learn the skills of the trade, so that they can earn their livelihood.
Conferences make one wonder whether they are of any use at all. Whether the amount of money and time spent on them in terms of arrangements made and the fares for all the participants was worth the effort and money, considering that nothing concrete seems to come out of them as far as implementable recommendations, etc are concerned. Continue reading
Dr. B.K.Passi and Dr. (Ms.) S.Passi
Dialogue is a community of researchers. It is an innovation of collective
learning. The dialogue approach is highly interactive. The authors of these lines have designed this approach for paper-presentation in the
conferences. Dialogue can encompass the processes of exploring, learning,
teaching, researching and collective paper-presentation. Dialogues have
been used for personal mastery, shared vision, team learning, team working
and team researching.
The Dialogue creates a spirit of Wholeness. Dialogue combats the current dominant approach of fragmentation and counter checks the ill effects of explaining what this means, why it matters, and how it relates to every aspect of our lives. Wholeness of Dialogue involves two sub-processes: (a) Progressive Differentiation and (b) Integrative Reconciliation. Many modes like cycled-mode and non-cycled-mode can be followed. The Dialogue mode is informal, open, and safe. The Delegates create a collective, meaningful environment of wholeness. It addresses the problem caused by isolated specialization. Dialogue implies an enhanced honor to the totality of existence.
Renu Nanda, B K Passi & S C Agarkar
Education as an activity is a social artifact modeled and remodeled from time to time to enable successive generations to realize their human potential as they grow from infancy to adulthood and beyond. The contours & characteristics of the strategies adopted for organizing the processes involved are themselves dependent on a number of factors that vary across time & space. A retrospective look at the history of mankind and the way the strategies of education have changed over the centuries reveal several interesting features.
The overall concern for illiterate, unorganized and suffering got a boost in the form of a manifesto prepared by Marx and Engles in the later half of the 19th century, becoming the first ideological base provided to voice the demands of this suffering class of humanity. Mass illiteracy, a worldwide phenomenon, is a sign of socio-economic and educational underdevelopment. Levels of literacy in a country indicate the minimum educational achievement that the population has accomplished. The rate of literacy has been used by educationists and economists, to show strong relationship between education and economic development.
Indian democracy has completed 63 years, its impact on various sectors of Indian life has been varied and in certain cases inadequate. The occasion has come for social scientists to take stock of situation and evaluate the extent to which social legislation and forces of modernization have been successful in eradicating causes of inequality and in evolving processes of healthy growth of Indian society through an appropriate educational system of the country. Continue reading
A. K. Awasthi,
It has been felt by most – differently, depending on their objectives – that modern pace of life has begin to value education. Apparently, a positive sign, this keenness has caused more grief than elevation. Suggested below is framework that strives to strike a balance between the current and ideal system. Economic models are replacing ones based on human values; it is both good and bad.
Need for a movement and policy
Human society and man’s attributes are all part of Nature. History tells us that his creation reflects his rationality, which may sustain onslaughts of time provided it is in agreement with the natural order, law or scheme of things. When otherwise, it goes into disarray either late or soon. It may be anything, a thought like communism or any technology. An idea, which is compatible with nature, alone possesses the quality to succeed – it has universal appeal, is practicable by all and therefore acceptable to all.
The natural scheme is relative, inter-linked; one cause leads to an effect that becomes a cause for another effect, which is sustained for yet another effect Thus there is a chain, unbroken and affecting the whole and leading to the supreme cause. In comprehension the whole phenomenon appears too complex and intriguing to conceive what exactly it is. Man may not think to create such complex phenomenon but he can follow the fundamentals of natural selection and compatibility. Accordingly, the worth, the subject or the process may be decided as being in conformity with Nature. Continue reading
A stock of adjectives used with education illustrates the variety of interests in what is perceived to be pillar-stone of any society. From the days of studying professions or pursuing vocations, adjectives have been added to this natural activity of a community. Study had been restricted to the domain of religion; renaissance brought it to secular domain. In a feudal structure, only the curious pursued it and found it strangely illuminating their minds and liberating their consciousness from immediate concerns of here and now. The enchanted mind could transcend the bounds of history and geography and soak his thirsty soul in perpetual fount of knowledge. It was with his blessed state as a model that education found its truest epithet. Liberal education existed till almost the final decades of last century, but paradoxically the political change it formulated and realized – burgeoning of democracy – could not support this ‘feudal’ ideal and it gave way to several of its avatar-s, each of which tried to replace it fully and failed. Well, failed to hold their own, but together they almost succeeded in flushing it out.
There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good. Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) Taxation No Tyranny
This seems to be the guiding philosophy behind all agencies, technologically empowered to gather information for their own ends. Governments have been, for very valid reasons, collecting in-depth information about the citizens, their location, education, well-being and so on. It is now groups with less benign motives who gather information for their own ends. Not public information which is available from different sources, but invasive, personal information about routine activities that create a profile as X-Ray or MRI examination do of body.
Data – in itself an abstraction (meta-data?) – has come to represent materiality. Its value has outgrown that of idea. Lust for bits of insignificant reality has led to disregard and disdain for the individual. It was the idea that created a set of conditions known as democracy. Following the eternal ethos, Mahatma Gandhi stressed on purity of means to attain the desired (pure) end. Time and again his followers were frustrated by his insistence on absolute respect for this principle. It is evident in most everyday situations, the harm caused by neglect of this. The greatest harm, one that creeps in silently, is that impurity of action corrodes the mind.
Educators never rest. Through their looking glass they focus on this and that. At times, it pays to have narrow focus, for learning gets intense and in-depth. Generally, an inclusive point of view appears liberal, but it tends to fitter away energy. The holistic model might truly get whole, if it allows a two-way communication. From Veda-s to Greek philosophers, a dialogue between the curious and the wise has unfolded the mysteries of universe and existence. Many have tried to emulate it in parts. David Bohm, Donald Factor and Peter Garrett among others are proponents for application of Dialogue. Proposed below is one more look at this approach.
Dialogue Based Wholistic Model
This model called Dialogue Based Pedagogy of teacher education is powerful and relevant for correcting a fragmented society. Dialogue creates a wholistic pedagogy that works against the approach of reductionism.
The website, Texas Crossroads Gathering attempts to connect consumers with farmers. ‘Bottom of pyramid’, ‘grass-roots’, ‘foundation of society’, ‘food-providers’ – there are numerous titles given to farmers across societies globally. The very vocation that founded the basis of human society and evolution of civilization stands almost as remote as its historical point of beginning. It is sad fact that estrangement of farmers from non-farming members of society has been on constant increase. In third world countries, economic gain governed formulation of policies which changed the natural crop cycles, made nature-dependent agriculture lose geo-sensitive crop preferences, bringing end to farmer’s autonomy where he exists as a loser – as entrepreneur and worker.
In many societies lack of infra-structure leads to absence of dialogue between farmer and the rest. At best, they might have access to information channels, which coax them into adopting current practices. This has led to suicides by famers in countries like India. An estimated 200,000 farmers have taken their own lives in India over the past 13 years, according to Indian government statistics. Prime factors were ceding of seed supply control to the corporate chemical industry, which enhanced production costs and falling food prices in a global agricultural economy.
Magister Ludi, considered to be most significant work of Herman Hesse, was given another title, Das Glasperlenspiel or The Glassbead Game. In a futuristic setting the author speaks of a game of life (the rules are alluded to but never stated), which the students have to master. It is the story of Joseph Knecht who starts as a schoolboy and rises to become Magister Ludi of the great place considered to be Ivory Tower. The Latin stem, Lud means both play and school. The apparently modern notion of learning by fun is a rediscovery of essence of learning.
This brief post is to highlight how Gaming Pundits are discovering important truths about inter-relationship between game, motivation, learning, fulfillment and hard-core reality. The following Slideshare presentation by Sebastian Deterding, aimed at designers for better comprehending the concept of ‘gamification’ , serves equally well in understanding the prime objectives in education.
Don't Play Games With Me: Promises and Pitfalls of Gameful Design