Archive for the ‘Education India’ Category
Teacher Plus is a real interesting venture. This is a “magazine for the contemporary teacher” brought out by Sparks-India and brought out by Sparks-India, Plot 48 (Cellar, Padma Kamalam Apts, Krishnapuri Colony, West Maredpally, Secunderabad 500026 Ph 040-2780 7039. Subscription for a three year period costs just Rs 675, and I was glad I subscribed recently.
Sparks-India calls itself “a publisher dedicated to improving the quality of teaching in India”. It offers printed and other teacher-training material, and children’s books for the class and out-of-class for the “true educational experience”.
Today, they sent me a list of good books from various publishers that they distribute to schools. “Most of these titles have been read and assessed by our team of educationists, and found useful in teaching-learning.” Their website is at http://www.teacherplus.org and can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the books offered on their list are titles in English and Telugu, in wide diversity. There were some 1053 titles on the list I received. (Maybe they could put this list online, to make it more sharable.) I’m sure there would be some good titles here. Indian publishing is growing fast these days…. which is a good sign.
Sukumar Anikar <email@example.com>  and Prasad <firstname.lastname@example.org> managed to get across to me a copy of a DVD … and what a DVD at that! It contained a whole lot of fascinating educational software for school children.
A couple of nights ago, I ended up ‘playing’ some educational games with Aren, 5, and told him that my friends had sent the same across free. “Did you say ‘thank you’?” he asked me in turn. In fact, he kept ‘playing’ on these games, though it was almost midnight, and even though he’s too small to obviously understand many of the concepts being taught here (decimal fractions, and what not … but big enough to be interested in the wild animals of the jungle and to try and comprehend how fruits and a balanced diet gives us the energy we need to do work). The ‘games’ sent across in this DVD work excellently and without flaw (so far) on my Ubuntu laptop. They have been adjusted to work with the GNU/Linux operating system.
It drew my interest enough to dash across another email to Sukumar and Prasad, requesting more programmes.Given the medium of instructions being used (and subjects taught) in Goa, I am particularly interested in software dealing with:
- English language
- Hindi language
- Environmental Science
- General Science
- Social Science
- Co-curricular subjects
Check out the long list of what’s available. http://www.azimpremjifoundation.org/html/E_Learn_Mat_table1.htm
The Azim Premji Foundation is actually keen to work with educational institutions (rather than with individuals, if I understood right) for obvious reasons.
Said the APF in a mail to me: “We always support the state governments by providing them the Digital Learning Resource (DLR) for deployment in Government schools. Generally, the support is by providing the right to replicate our content to the state, without any costs. Our Digital Learning Resource is not provided if the intended use is for commercial purposes. We also share content with NGOs and other institutions who manage schools where there is no barrier on admissions and where no fee is being charged.”
And Mr Anikar added, “Almost all our titles or Digital Learning Resource are trilingual i.e. in English, Hindi and in any one of the regional languages. While we have just 10 titles in Marathi the same is not available for immediate release as they have to be validated by a state government. However, we will share other titles that are in English and Hindi. Further, we are also in the process of making our content compatible with [GNU]Linux platform and hence for the present we will be sharing only such titles which are compatible with both windows and Linux and those that have been tested. The remaining titles would be shared on a future date and on completion of testing. We will be clustering our titles in a couple of DVD’s and send it across to you in the next week…. We also wish to state that there is a process that needs to be followed in implementing the Digital Learning Resource in schools which we will share the same with you once you confirm the receipt of Digital Learning Resource .”
And: ” Digital Learning Resource are not meant to help in computer literacy. The target group is children in the age group of 6-14 years and the Digital Learning Resource primarily presents concepts related to Maths, Science and Language related to the curriculum for classes Standard I to Standard VIII.”
By way of background, from their website: ” Azim Premji Foundation has commenced the digital content creation effort in the year 2002. So far, Foundation has created over 100+ master CD titles for the classes 1 to 8 and the same have been translated into various regional languages in India including few tribal languages. The content is created with the pedagogical focus to enable the children to directly use and learn where the teacher will act as facilitator. The attributes of the content are; curriculum oriented, child-centered, self paced, interactive and multimedia based content.”
You probably know that Azim Premji is the Chairman and CEO of one of India’s largest software companies, Wipro. Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azim_Premji] says he was rated the richest man in India between 1999 to 2005 (and is probably among the top five now). This impressed me: “Premji is known for his modesty and frugality in spite of his wealth. He drives a Toyota Corolla and flies economy class, prefers to stay in company guest houses rather than luxury hotels and even served food on paper plates at a lunch honouring his son’s wedding.”
Check it out. Really useful stuff. The educational content on the DVDs, I mean!
 Head – Technology for Education, Azim Premji Foundation, #134, Doddakannelli, Next to Wipro Corporate Office, Sarjapur Road, Bangalore – 560 035 Tel: 91-80-66144900/901/902 (Board) 91-80-66144922 (Direct) Fax: 91-80-66144903 Mobile: 09449820054 www.azimpremjifoundation.org
(Apologies for this somewhat lengthy missive)
I am a teacher educator based in Bangalore (see the link to my personal blog below for a better idea of who I am) and have been involved in an effort educatorslog.in – to create a free online space for people involved in India to CONNECT . SHARE . GROW — connect with other educators and those interested in education in India (pre-K through higher and adult education), share resources that are contextually relevant to educators and teaching in India, and grow through learning about exemplary practices and professional development programs that cater to the needs of Indian educators.
The idea is to serve the cause of education in India – to someday have a comprehensive repository of resources relevant to teaching in India, and a host of ideas from showcasing best practices in education in India, in addition to having a space that a teacher or anyone passionate about education in India can come to raise an issue, discuss, debate, voice, or perhaps even just announce a conference, a new book or product related to education.
This initiative was launched among a small user community in Feb. 07, and since March it has been opened up for general membership. You can catch some of the most engaging discussions (thus far) in the following threads -
* Grey areas of school admission policy, a search for new assessment ideas
* Indian school education: good or bad, why this dichotomy?
* The 100 laptop
* Sex education in our schools, how to deal with the taboo
* Should Indian languages wither away?
* Learning diabilities-1
The site is built on drupal, and uses web 2.0 features such as those for group blogging (comments, forward as email, no. of hits), tagging (each post can be tagged, and there is a tag cloud view available as well as the 20 most popular tags on the landing page), organization by themes and tags for easy searching and access.
In the interest of education in our country, it would be great if you could check out educatorslog.in and profile it on your blog or provide a link to it, or simply pass this email on to those you know who are involved in education and would benefit from being a part of this free community space.
We could certainly use some help to get the word out!
I know it’s too much to ask regular bloggers like yourself to post to other blogs, but it would be great if you could also contribute your thoughts/ideas/resources on educatorslog.in.
I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this.
Blogged with Flock
Those Good Ol’ Days
Stories From Two Schools and A College in Mapusa, Goa
Price (in Goa) Rs 150. Pp 84 (large size)
“Must be ink fell on it,” commented three-year-old Aren, struggling to get his words right after gingerly asking permission to see the book. Touching the wrong book can mean big trouble, as the kids have by now learnt. “This looks like my school notebook,” Riza (8) commented earlier in the evening, pointing to the cover. “Can I write on it?” she went on to boldly ask, when shown another page with the same texture.
I was thrilled. Obviously, the artist had done a good job in getting across his point!
The ‘artist’ in this case is Britto Old Boy Alex Braganza, the Patto-Panjim based commercial artist better known for the music he and his late brother August created through the many bands they were linked to. The way he and his Broadways team slogged to package this book (if one could call it that) over a ad-busy Christmas season was inspiring. One saw it at close quarters, and learnt a lot more about Alex in those days.
The blue-green-red BMX logo (for three prominent educational institutions in Mapusa) stands out on the cover. The top half of the
page looks like an exam paper, and the title is scribbled across it with a neat schoolgirl’s handwriting. Under the BMX logo is the
Konkani saying, “Mog Assundi”. Particularly untranslatable (like other good Konkani sayings), it could mean anything from “Hey, don’t keep any anger (as we leave)” to “Go with only good memories”.
The “ink” Aren noticed was a blotch of blue on the front cover… meant to depict ink. Which it did. Effectively.
About the book, one can say little here. My name figures as being responsible for editing it… after reading a few pages, I realised
where exactly the errors had crept in! Ouch! But let’s leave that to some others to talk about ….
This “book” (inverted commas, because it has a souvenirish appearance, and a number of ads from alumni and their networks) has some 32 “chapters”. Some are brief, less-than-a-page essays, and other span as many as four pages. Giving that alumni tend to be people in their fourties (if not older) with failing reading-vision, a larger point-size might have made sense. But, being an ‘insider’, I know that money, paper and time factors were more important.
Chapters focus on college and school memoirs from Mapusa. By young students, by students who passed out half-a-century ago. Or teachers and lecturers. By a historian, ex-priest who gives an interesting insight into life during the post-1961 times with the Jesuits. By an engineer who tells a great story of life in Mapusa and Britto’s, warts and all, during the ‘fifties. By an ‘Africander’ boy who moved from Britto’s to the Jesuit novitiate, to political commitment and then working in a prominent global tech company in Britain. And by many more.
There’s also a tribute to ‘Pop’, as Fr Nicolau Pereira, St Xavier College’s longest-serving principal, was known. Interestingly, it
comes from the free-to-share Wikipedia online encyclopedia…. That’s the power of sharable information recycling. You create a Wikipedia entry. Then print it somewhere. When people notice that, the Wikipedia entry will probably grow in quality and depth. Or will it? Let’s be optimistic….
But to know more about the book, check it out. Without publicising it (or building up expectations) further, one could say that two
realisations stuck in my mind while putting this together. Firstly, there are so many people waiting to tell their “story”, if only asked.
They need some convincing that writing is applied commonsense and a discipline anyone can inculcate, hardly rocket science. Secondly, the sharable-content Creative Commons model works — specially when profits are a secondary issue, as for these alumni networks.
Content for this (and an earlier book, ‘Britto Retro’) were largely generated through online electronic mailing lists. This being the
case, it would be unfair for any “publisher” to claim copyrights over the resulting material. All of it (in this book, and most in the
‘Britto Retro’) was put out under a CreativeCommons.org license. It implies a sharable, some-rights-reserved approach (rather than the ‘all rights reserved’ approach of Copyright).
Not only did it make the content sharable (two publications are out, more could result… at least in terms of e-books… ). But it also
ensured that the price of the resultant publication — because of the ‘not for profit’ clause, and also the fact that it could be repackaged anytime more affordably — was itself reasonably priced.
That, to me, was a satisfying experience.
Contributors to this volume include Arlette Azavedo, Cecil Pinto, Benny Faria, Joyce Heredia Fernandes, Charmaine Abreu Lobo, Avelino D’Souza, Caroline Andrade, Alex Pascoal Silveira, Clara Fernandes, Lea Mathias, Jose Da Gama Paes, Ingrid Vallesl Po, Constantino “Tino” de Nazare, Anna D’Souza, Lydia De Souza, Anne Vaz, Sr Margaret Correa (a nun en route to Bamako in Mali when she wrote her piece), Dorothy Desouza Almeida, Dr Teotonio R de Souza, Daniel DeSouza and James Fernandes (both profs at Xavier’s formerly), Aureo De Souza, Lumen de Souza (nee Pereira), Oscar Correia Noronha, Nadia Isabel Miranda Fernandes, Sidney Mendes, and poet Brian “Mr Xavier” Mendonca.
Obviously one shouldn’t be reviewing a book one has himself been closely involved in… On the other hand, the option is that, Goa
being Goa, most books published here never ever reach the reviewer’s eye. (Very few reviewers exist anyway. Neither is there space for locally published books in most publications.) So, while confessing about this confict of interest, I won’t stop myself from keying in these few words.
Believe them at your own peril….
And btw, Jen is also behind the impressive VascokarsUnited mailing list, meant to keep in touch people from Goa’s largest urban area and port-town. Beneath her name, I also saw a link to the esoterically-named IEIGLC That stands for the Goa branch of “The Institution of Engineers (India) Incorporated by Royal Charter 1935″. Guess the GLC stands for the “Goa local chapter” and it includes members with engineering degrees such as the AIE, AMIE, MIE and FIE. Oh fie, don’t ask what that all stands for!