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Field Updates from Rajasthan

RTE seminar held in Rajsamand, 16 October 2014.
Sufi-Sangat organized at our Tonk District Institute
Work on local history in Newai
Madarasa Training, phase 2 report
Three-day residential Math Workshop conducted in Tonk, Rajasthan
Bal Mela organised in Newai Block, Tonk, Rajasthan
Madarsa Teacher Training conducted in Tonk, Rajasthan
Voluntary Teachers Forum (VTF), held in Diggi, Rajasthan

June 2012: It is a sweltering day in June and the summer vacation is on. But Kalyan Madhyamik Adarsh Vidya Mandir, tucked away in Diggi, Rajasthan, is open and a classroom is filled with teachers, sitting around having an enthusiastic discussion. They have come from schools scattered around in Malpura Block, one from as far away as 20 km.

The topic under discussion was the National Curriculum Framework, 2005, and the meet was facilitated by Virendraji and Alokji from Azim Premji District Institute, Tonk. Virendraji detailed the chief objectives of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and how it is essential for teachers to incorporate them in their day-to-day teaching practices. Debates and questions ranged around how rote learning makes teaching less relevant, how to deal with the new syllabus and textbooks, the nuances of connecting teaching to the learner’s local environment, and the need to properly understand CCE and CCA rather than the tendency to misinterpret them as not failing students. 

The teachers unanimously vouched for the benefits of participating in VTFs. They see it as a platform for them to get together, meet each other, and discuss issues. They felt that they get new information, are able to share effective teaching methods and end up benefitting from the exchange.
They had something removed from NCF to think about when asked why the word ‘joy’ doesn’t feature in discussions on teaching, best practices, or improving the quality of education. They pointed out that the high frequency of deputations and transfers often increases the burden on teachers; it also results in situations where they are compelled to teach subjects which are not theirs, hence making instruction mechanical and dry. But they all agreed that there is of course an inherent joy in the process of teaching, which keeps them enthused, coupled with the interest the children show in attending school and lessons. It is indeed a kind of self-motivation and joy that made them brave the heat and take time off from their holidays to get together in Diggi.
Observing the Venus Transit in Sirohi, Rajasthan
June 6, 2012 will be long remembered by the citizens of Goyli village, Sirohi, Rajasthan when they got an opportunity to observe the Venus transit at the Government Upper Primary School in a program organized by the Azim Premji Foundation. Also present were the district collector Banna Lal, the SDM, Prahladsahay Naga, the ADPC (SSA) Kantilal Khatri, the village headperson Jhamu Devi and residents of the neighboring villages who had come in huge numbers to watch what would be the last Venus transit of our lifetimes. The next one will take place in the year 2117. Similar events were organized in every block of the district.  

Beginning in April, the Foundation had carried out a comprehensive campaign to raise awareness about the Venus transit that included articles in newspapers and workshops at the block level where people were informed about the safe methods of observing the transit. The school and the district administration ably supported the Foundation in organizing the event that allowed hundreds of people to see this astronomical spectacle. Events such as this one will help generate an interest in astronomy and outer space, especially amongst children and will give the country a new generation of astronomers
Science Day Celebration, BRC Bhawan, organized by District Institute, Sirohi
February 2012: The District Institute, Sirohi, organized a ‘Science Day’. The objective was to spread the message of importance of science and its application among the people, to ignite the minds of citizens for scientific inquisitiveness, to inculcate scientific temper among school children, offer an opportunity to bring issues of science on to Centre stage and to attract many young children to take up science as a career.