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National Workshop on Basic Education, Hyderabad

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Foreword

Educational Development is a fundamental requirement for all sorts of development such as social and economic development. In our Indian context education controls all developmental aspects of the Man and the Society. It is a matter of great concern that after 50 years of our proclamation to achieve free and compulsory education for all the citizens up to the age of 14, we have not been able to provide education to a large number of children. The framers of the Constitution, while deciding the date of achieving the goal by 1960, might have thought that if the schools are provided within walking distance of each village, it will lead to the universal enrolment and retention. This was based, in my opinion, on a western education paradigm, based on "trickle-down" development paradigm. It did not succeed for the obvious reasons, because it did not satisfy the educational needs of the people living in rural India - Bharat. The elementary education has been bifurcated into two stages - primary and upper primary - with the result that a large number of drop out occur at the first stage i.e. primary. Efforts are continued to provide schooling to this age group (6-11) of children rather vigorously. In the present situation, when education is being seen as ''fundamental right of the child'', it is absolutely necessary, that we should explore alternative channels to cover all children up to the age of 14 years besides the formal schooling.

In the formal schools, the number of children effectively enrolled and retained upto the upper primary stage is about 1/3rd of the total population (about 210 million) of school goers. If we want to cover the out of school children of this age group (2/3 of this population) only through formal education, we will require at least double the number of existing primary/elementary schools that is on the ground today. It will mean that the financial outlay of this particular sector will have to be trebled apart from the non-recurring cost of opening new elementary schools. It is, therefore, necessary for us to look for alternative modes of schooling.

Open Schooling is a viable alternative. It provides opportunity for continuing and developmental education to learners of all ages particularly (i) the children who are out of schools - dropouts and non starters (ii) the adult population who are either illiterates or are coming out of the total literacy campaign (TLC) or post literacy campaign (PLC) of the National Literacy Mission (NLM). Open Schooling uses Distance Education Mode (DEM). DEM is one of the potential areas particularly at the upper primary level when the child/ adult has acquired the skill of reading, writing and comprehension.

Need of the hour is to explore the potentialities of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education.
National Open School has initiated to this process by conducting the study on "Reaching the Unreached - Use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education" and organising a National Workshop to discuss the conclusions of study besides other initiatives that have been taken up. Ways and means need to be explored by all of us for using distance education mode at the basic education level. The UNESCO has joined hands in promoting the cause of Open Schooling at the elementary level and I record my deepest appreciation for the same.

The workshop has been a collective endeavour. Thought, initiative and hard labour of many have gone into it to make it a success. I am thankful to all concerned without whose help it would have not been possible to organise the workshop and bring it to a successful conclusion.

I take this opportunity to express my appreciation, to all my colleagues, particularly Dr. S.S. Sangal and Dr. H.L. Sharma who remained involved in this task throughout.

Looking forward to all concerned with great expectation to chalk out new paths of using Distance Education Mode (DEM) in Basic Education.

Place : New Delhi (N.K)

Acknowledgment

With a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction, I express sincere thanks to the participants of the National Workshop and through them to their international, national, state, district, block and village level organisations, without whose participation and help the organisation of national workshop would have not been possible. The names of the participants are given in appendix 'D'.

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Hon'ble Minister, MHRD, Shri M.K. Kaw, Education Secretary, Shri K.S. Sarma, Additional Secretary, Shri M.M. Jha, Joint Secretary, and Smt. Sonali Kumar, Director, MHRD and Ms. Maria Malevri of UNESCO who spared their valuable time to guide the deliberations of the Workshop.

Organising a national workshop which includes many activities, in itself, is a difficult task. This difficult task had been made easy by my colleagues, Mr. V.J. Williams, Shri S.S. Gill, Shri R.K. Arya, and Shri S.K. Misra. Their teams of committed colleagues deserve our thanks. The names are given in appendix 'B'.

Academic aspect of workshop is the focus of all activities. The work went on well with the cooperation of my committed and sincere colleagues in the Academic Dept. I am thankful to the chairpersons, rapporteurs, group leaders and paper contributors who were the pivots of the Workshop. My team from Academic Department burnt midnight oil to make the national workshop a success. The names of the repporteurs are given in Appendix 'C'. I am, indeed indebted to them for their best efforts in making the national workshop, a landmark in the implementation of Open Basic Education.

To thank Prof. N.K. Ambasht, Chairman, NOS for his inspiration, motivation, vision and direction would be to thank ourself. The workshop was, as much as, his affair as anybody else's. Right from the day he took over as Chairman, NOS, the work on UNESCO sponsored project began actively with a unique force and dynamism. It has been a continuous effort on his part to see that everything went on well. He very kindly agreed to direct the Project and the National Workshop. If it has been a success, the entire credit goes to him.

It is hoped, that those who are in any way concerned with the implementation of Open Basic Education Programme would kindly try to see that the recommendations made in this workshop are implemented. I take this opportunity to thank them in advance.

I am also thankful to the NCERT for providing venue and other facilities for organising the workshop.

My sincere thanks are to my colleagues Shri Satya Narain, Shri J.L. Sehgal, Mrs Rashmi Kumar, Shri N.K. Mandal, Shri Saket Kumar and Smt. Preeti Srivastava and others who are associated with the activities of Open Basic & Elementary Education in NOS.

The last but not the least, Dr. H.L. Sharma deserves my most sincere thanks who took over himself to complete the work envisaged in the UNESCO sponsored Project so efficiently within a very short period. But for his academic inputs and coordination provided to me and to the Chairman, this workshop could not have been such a success.

If there has been any inconvenience caused to the participants of the workshop or the shortfall in organising the workshop, I am alone to be blamed and I seek their forgiveness. The credit of making the national workshop successful goes to one and the all who have been associated with this task.

An Overview

The country has been exploring all possible mechanisms and alternative strategies to fulfill the constitutional commitment of universalisation of Elementary Education to all children upto the age of fourteen years. There has been a massive expansion of elementary education during the post independence period. However the goal of universalisation of elementary education still remains elusive.

India was one of the signatories on the World Declaration of EFA' 99 and further reiterated its commitment in basic education in the Delhi Declaration of E-9 Countries Summit in December 1993. As a follow up of the EFA Declaration, several measures were undertaken for expansion of early childhood care and development activities especially for the poor, disadvantaged and disabled children by involving families, communities and appropriate institutions. Access to basic education for all-child, youth and adult, through nonformal education programmes and the open learning system through distance education mode (DEM) were further strengthened. The time bound and area specific campaigns through voluntarism and community participation launched by the National Literacy Mission (NLM) have raised the level of literacy from 52% in 1991 to 62% in 1997 (expected to be 64% in 1998).

Such of the measures and the programmes like Operation Black-board (OB) , Nonformal Education (NFE), Teacher Education (TE), District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) setting up of District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs), District Resource Unit (DRU), Bihar Education Project (BEP), Mahila Samakhya, Lok Jumbish and Swarn Jayanti Primary School Programme of Rajasthan, Rajiv Gandhi Siksha Mission and Education Guarantee Scheme of Madhya Pradesh, UPBEP, Shiksha Ghar Programme of Uttar Pradesh. etc. have helped in changing the Basic Education scenario in the country. Pursuant to the NPE 1986 and the revised POA of 1992, the expansion of the Open Learning System through distance education mode to promote basic education in the country also started yielding fruitful results.

It was in light of this background of the basic education scenario in the country that the NOS was given the prestigious assignment by UNESCO to conduct the Study on Reaching the Unreached: Current use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education. The NOS conducted the study in a very systematic and scientific manner using qualitative methods of collecting information through open ended questions involving interviews, focussed group discussions, interactive inquires, observations, including researcher's observations and by starting publishing special News Bulletin in Hindi and English on Open Basic Education.

The NOS organised the National Workshop from 15-17 December, 1999 at New Delhi. The main objectives of the National Workshop were to understand the current status of the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached, share the finding of the Study with the practitioners, political leaders, policy planners, bureaucrats and the implementers, develop strategy through partnership with various voluntary agencies for smooth implementation of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education and suggest mechanism and modality for promoting the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached.

The workshop concentrated on main themes namely, efficacy or otherwise of DEM in basic education, Distance Education Mode at primary level, effectiveness of material at lower primary stage ( I-III ), use of various forms of print media, self learning charts, comics, books, learning games, etc. logical problems ( financial resources, material resources human resources ) in Reaching the Unreached child, suitabile audio / video materials, their logical problems in remote rural areas where the unreached child is located, making OBE relevant to socio-economic and cultural needs of community - decentralisation process in Distance Education Mode, changing mind set of educational, planners, teachers, parents, educators etc towards the education as provider of jobs-need for vocational education at upper primary level, functionality of education for self-employment and employment generation, walk in examination modalities - process of certification, financing the OBE - Reaching the Unreached.

This was the first occasion in the history of the National Open School when the National Workshop was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India and witnessed the presence of Education Secretary, Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary and the Director, Department of Education, Government of India guiding the deliberations and proceedings of the workshop with their valuable and learned suggestions and observations.

Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Hon'ble Minster of HRD, while inau

It was in light of this background of the basic education scenario in the country that the NOS was given the prestigious assignment by UNESCO to conduct the Study on Reaching the Unreached: Current use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education. The NOS conducted the study in a very systematic and scientific manner using qualitative methods of collecting information through open ended questions involving interviews, focussed group discussions, interactive inquires, observations, including researcher's observations and by starting publishing special News Bulletin in Hindi and English on Open Basic Education.

The NOS organised the National Workshop from 15-17 December, 1999 at New Delhi. The main objectives of the National Workshop were to understand the current status of the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached, share the finding of the Study with the practitioners, political leaders, policy planners, bureaucrats and the implementers, develop strategy through partnership with various voluntary agencies for smooth implementation of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education and suggest mechanism and modality for promoting the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached.

The workshop concentrated on main themes namely, efficacy or otherwise of DEM in basic education, Distance Education Mode at primary level, effectiveness of material at lower primary stage ( I-III ), use of various forms of print media, self learning charts, comics, books, learning games, etc. logical problems ( financial resources, material resources human resources ) in Reaching the Unreached child, suitabile audio / video materials, their logical problems in remote rural areas where the unreached child is located, making OBE relevant to socio-economic and cultural needs of community - decentralisation process in Distance Education Mode, changing mind set of educational, planners, teachers, parents, educators etc towards the education as provider of jobs-need for vocational education at upper primary level, functionality of education for self-employment and employment generation, walk in examination modalities - process of certification, financing the OBE - Reaching the Unreached.

This was the first occasion in the history of the National Open School when the National Workshop was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India and witnessed the presence of Education Secretary, Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary and the Director, Department of Education, Government of India guiding the deliberations and proceedings of the workshop with their valuable and learned suggestions and observations.

Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Hon'ble Minster of HRD, while inaugurating the workshop lauded the progress made in promotion of literacy from 52% in 1991 to 62% in 1997 ( expected 64% in 1998). He stated that India has the highest number of literates in the world. The Hon'ble Minster wanted a change in the mind set and attitudes of the people of India to feel proud of the achievements of the country. He explained about the open learning system as basically an Indian concept and gave a salogan " Desh Padhao, Desh Badhao" (educate the country for its progress).

Shri M.K. Kaw, Secretary Education, stressed the flexibility and diversity as main strength of the open school system and reiterated the need for setting up State Open Schools in the country to reach the unreached. The Education Secretary wanted the NOS to concentrate its efforts on 148 black hole districts where the literacy level of females in SC/ST is very low, 331 educational blocks having concentration of muslim minority, the underprivileged sections of society.

Shri K.S. Sarma , Additional Secretary, emphasised on the importance of the role of radio in promoting distance mode of education and gave an idea of starting open school in the sky through the radio.

Shri M.M. Jha, Joint Secretary, wanted due care of disabled. He considered NOS and the Open Learning System as the very potential means for promoting the equal opportunities to the disabled

Ms. Sonali Kuamr, Director, stressed upon programmes leading to empowerment of woman and poverty alleviation. Co-operation of the community was considered by her as essential for achieving the goal of UEE.

Ms. Maria M Pouscoulous, Education Specialist, UNESCO, India found the Indian initiative very encouraging.

The National workshop was an opportunity for the academician, policy framers and the implementers to share their experiences and formulate strategies for achieving the goal of universatiation of Basic of Education by using Distance Mode of Education and by developing an active system of networking. The plenary sessions were used for inter- active discussions, to develop clarity about the concepts and ideas and sharing of experiences whereas the group work facilitated threadbare analysis of issues and problems and the development of the strategy for implementation. The panel discussions were very stimulating. The exhibition of the material developed by NOS was the centre of attraction for all the participants.

The guidance from Prof. N.K. Ambasht, Chairman, NOS was the

It was in light of this background of the basic education scenario in the country that the NOS was given the prestigious assignment by UNESCO to conduct the Study on Reaching the Unreached: Current use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education. The NOS conducted the study in a very systematic and scientific manner using qualitative methods of collecting information through open ended questions involving interviews, focussed group discussions, interactive inquires, observations, including researcher's observations and by starting publishing special News Bulletin in Hindi and English on Open Basic Education.

The NOS organised the National Workshop from 15-17 December, 1999 at New Delhi. The main objectives of the National Workshop were to understand the current status of the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached, share the finding of the Study with the practitioners, political leaders, policy planners, bureaucrats and the implementers, develop strategy through partnership with various voluntary agencies for smooth implementation of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education and suggest mechanism and modality for promoting the use of Distance Education Mode in Basic Education to reach the unreached.

The workshop concentrated on main themes namely, efficacy or otherwise of DEM in basic education, Distance Education Mode at primary level, effectiveness of material at lower primary stage ( I-III ), use of various forms of print media, self learning charts, comics, books, learning games, etc. logical problems ( financial resources, material resources human resources ) in Reaching the Unreached child, suitabile audio / video materials, their logical problems in remote rural areas where the unreached child is located, making OBE relevant to socio-economic and cultural needs of community - decentralisation process in Distance Education Mode, changing mind set of educational, planners, teachers, parents, educators etc towards the education as provider of jobs-need for vocational education at upper primary level, functionality of education for self-employment and employment generation, walk in examination modalities - process of certification, financing the OBE - Reaching the Unreached.

This was the first occasion in the history of the National Open School when the National Workshop was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India and witnessed the presence of Education Secretary, Additional Secretary, Joint Secretary and the Director, Department of Education, Government of India guiding the deliberations and proceedings of the workshop with their valuable and learned suggestions and observations.

Prof. Murli Manohar Joshi, Hon'ble Minster of HRD, while inaugurating the workshop lauded the progress made in promotion of literacy from 52% in 1991 to 62% in 1997 ( expected 64% in 1998). He stated that India has the highest number of literates in the world. The Hon'ble Minster wanted a change in the mind set and attitudes of the people of India to feel proud of the achievements of the country. He explained about the open learning system as basically an Indian concept and gave a salogan " Desh Padhao, Desh Badhao" (educate the country for its progress).

Shri M.K. Kaw, Secretary Education, stressed the flexibility and diversity as main strength of the open school system and reiterated the need for setting up State Open Schools in the country to reach the unreached. The Education Secretary wanted the NOS to concentrate its efforts on 148 black hole districts where the literacy level of females in SC/ST is very low, 331 educational blocks having concentration of muslim minority, the underprivileged sections of society.

Shri K.S. Sarma , Additional Secretary, emphasised on the importance of the role of radio in promoting distance mode of education and gave an idea of starting open school in the sky through the radio.

Shri M.M. Jha, Joint Secretary, wanted due care of disabled. He considered NOS and the Open Learning System as the very potential means for promoting the equal opportunities to the disabled

Ms. Sonali Kuamr, Director, stressed upon programmes leading to empowerment of woman and poverty alleviation. Co-operation of the community was considered by her as essential for achieving the goal of UEE.

Ms. Maria M Pouscoulous, Education Specialist, UNESCO, India found the Indian initiative very encouraging.

The National workshop was an opportunity for the academician, policy framers and the implementers to share their experiences and formulate strategies for achieving the goal of universatiation of Basic of Education by using Distance Mode of Education and by developing an active system of networking. The plenary sessions were used for inter- active discussions, to develop clarity about the concepts and ideas and sharing of experiences whereas the group work facilitated threadbare analysis of issues and problems and the development of the strategy for implementation. The panel discussions were very stimulating. The exhibition of the material developed by NOS was the centre of attraction for all the participants.

The guidance from Prof. N.K. Ambasht, Chairman, NOS was the main spirit and the force in crystallising the ideas, concepts and the formulation of strategy for implementation of the Open Basic Education programme as well as the type of academic and technical support expected to be extended by the NOS as an apex institution at the national level to realise the goal of Education for All (EFA).

The workshop envisaged NOS to play a very crucial role and expected NOS to plan and develop curriculum guidelines and exemplary self learning material with a frame of reference to develop similar local specific material by the leading voluntary agencies for their use.

The workshop resolved for a partnership mutually beneficial for all and wanted NOS to develop and provide broad based expected learning outcomes at fifth and eight standard to various agencies. The agencies may be free to adopt suitable methodology with the element of flexibility. Joint evaluation and joint certification of learners (NOS and the agency concerned) were considered convenient to maintain quality of education. The idea of decentralisation was considered appropriate to make learning local specific and need based.

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