09 October 2009

Teacher-centric Primary and Secondary Education

Today, I received an unsolicitated mail from Mr Ashish Putambekar of the Nataraja Foundation. With so many of spam mails coming I was about to delete it, but there was something in the lengthy subject line 'Project Proposal: The Indian Primary and Secondary Education Megaproject ... A Unique Teacher Centric Project' that made me open the file. A lot of work has gone into this. It is a worthy cause. I thought of putting their link in my blog, whcih will also come up as a link in my facebook. I request everyone to have a look and share this.

A couple of points that I have are as follows.
The asthetically cost-saving architechture was nostalgic for me. I studied in Trivandrum at the Centre for Development Studies, built by Laurie Baker. There is this anecdote. Prof KN Raj got some funds to begin the Centre and he was worried that all the money will go in just putting up the buildings. It is because of Laurie Baker than the cost of construction could be reduced substantially (perhaps, 25 per cent of the original estimate) and the money saved went to the library. While proposing such structures, the schools/megaprojet can claim green funds.

While travelling in remote parts of rural India, one observes that schools, health centres, banks are deserted because service providers do not reside due to absence of basic facilities (physical and human). Teacher mentions about the absence of health care, banking and other basic facilities. Health care providers point out the absence of good schools and other facilities. Bankers bemoan the absence of education, health and other facilities for their families. There is a need to keep other basic requiremnts in mind. One feels that 'The Indian Social Infrastructure Corporation' proposed should not limit itself to schools alone.

On a cautious note, if the goverment fails to take this initiative, what is the alternative. Can one not start this on a pilot basis. Or, maybe take it up in states where the governments are willing. It is worth trying to initiate the exercises in states of Bihar and Orissa. An example is the success of Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty in Andhra Pradesh. Yes, it was given full autonomy, not linked with any departments and worked as an independent body with the help of professionals.

I wish this initiative success.