Fledglings (Followers)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Book Charity of the month- Eklavya

Hi! Here is the post for the Book Charity of the Month-
Well, Hi guys, and sorry for not having posted for a while. Here I have the post, after much hhm-ing and ahh-ing, and the charity is.....
(drum roll)
Yes, this lovely charity is awesome. Seriously. There are no words for its epicness. Here's some stuff from their website.


How often have you thought that all children should have the opportunity to get meaningful education that isn't just a drudgery to be endured, but an experience to be cherished? Eklavya strives to translate this dream into reality to promise children a meaningful education through innovations.

The Eklavya legend from Mahabharat inspires us to bring the best in education within the reach of everyone; to support each one's effort to learn and discover, question and create.

here are some of their projects and web pages...

hbd_campus.jpgThe HSTP story began in early 1972, when a group of scientists, engineers, educationists and social activists formulated a vision of developing a model of school science teaching close to the ideal envisaged in various policy directives. The Department of Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh, permitted two non-governmental organisations, Friends Rural Centre (FRC), Rasulia, and Kishore Bharati (KB) to take up a pilot project in May 1972 in 16 middle schools spread over two blocks of Hoshangabad district.
The main objective of the project, which came to be known as the HSTP (Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme), was to explore the extent to which innovative changes can be introduced within the framework of the government school system. To test this hypothesis, the HSTP undertook to investigate whether it would be feasible to introduce the ‘discovery’ approach to learning science in village schools in place of the traditional textbook-centred ‘learning by rote’ methodology. In course of time, the concept of environment-based education was included as an integral part of science teaching.
A basic assumption behind this effort was that learning science through experiments and field studies would help build up a questioning and analytical attitude in children. Since the programme also emphasised learning directly from the local environment, it was hoped that the children would eventually begin to question the traditional social structure of their village society.
The Madhya Pradesh education department played a special role in this nascent effort by giving administrative backing and academic freedom to experiment with books, kit, curricula, teacher training and examinations. This freedom allowed the HSTP to address innovation and quality improvement in science education as an integrated whole, focusing on all aspects of school functioning to facilitate innovative teaching. This unique instance of a state government accepting the role of a voluntary agency in changing school education within its own framework was a landmark in education in the country, enabling the HSTP to evolve as a model for innovative quality improvement in the mainstream education system on a macro scale.
The programme was academically guided through the active involvement of young scientists, educators and research students from some of the leading academic and research institutions in the country. The initial impetus was given by groups from the All-India Science Teachers Association (Physics Study Group) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai. They were joined in 1973 by a group from the University of Delhi, which went on to take over the academic responsibility for the programme. Other institutions of repute that contributed to the effort included the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), various universities and post-graduate colleges.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) granted fellowships to faculty members from Delhi University and other academic institutions to participate in the programme at the field level while the Madhya Pradesh government also permitted its college science teachers to interact on a regular basis from 1975. This synergy between the university community and school science teachers in developing academically sound curricular materials for village schools was also a unique feature of the programme.

Working with schools
Eklavya works with schools that are interested in improving their educational standards.
The basic thrust lies in developing learner-centred subject content and teaching practices. At the elementary level, content and teaching is structured around the natural and social environment of the learner. Such an approach requires that assessment of learning outcomes goes beyond traditional testing for rote learning.
Changes in classroom practices also mean changes in the way teachers are trained. The teacher is the pivot on which innovation hinges so unless teachers are motivated and mentally equipped to face the demands of the new teaching methodologies, all innovation will fall by the roadside.
The school management must also approve and internalise the changes, otherwise the necessary climate for innovation cannot be maintained. Approval means going beyond merely providing the required infrastructural and financial inputs to evolving a new understanding of what ‘good’ education is.

How do children learn languages? How do they interpret natural phenomena like day and night? At what age do young children begin to understand highly abstract concepts like atoms and molecules? What images do terms like ‘democracy’ and ‘government’ evoke in their minds?
Textbooks are loaded with information and abstract concepts that children fail to assimilate or internalise. There is very little available data on how children of different age-groups in India learn and at what age they begin to understand such difficult concepts.
Eklavya conducts and commissions research studies and surveys on these aspects of children’s learning through direct field level interactions and its own educational programmes.


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