“Adding Scholarship to Teaching”

 

201707081122 (1)

Sunday, August 6, 2017 saw HERD Foundation attending the Annual Conclave organized by The Hitawada – a leading newspaper of Nagpur. The media-house has been organizing the event for almost a decade in a bid to head-start advancement and progression in the field of higher learning. Entitled “Adding Scholarship to Teaching” the convention included the upper echelons of the teaching fraternity of Nagpur and few surrounding towns of Vidarbha.

The Hitavada is the largest selling English daily newspaper in Central India. It was founded in 1911 by freedom fighter Gopal Krishna Gokhale, whose portrait took center stage at the dais.  Sitting down to hear the speakers spell out their views on how teaching could be enhanced to indoctrinate and instill scholarship in students, the fairly full gathering appeared keen on the offerings that were to follow.

The erudite crowd gave their ear to the submissions of the five speakers invited to share their opinions and insights. Aside from the Chairman, Shiksha Mandal who provided some general interpretations about what it meant to add scholarship to teaching, the remaining four eminent speakers (Amravati University, IGNOU Nagpur, Institute of Science and RTMNU) were actually mulling about teaching-learning methodologies coupled with thoughts on scholarship norms.

A visibly disheartened Chief Editor of the newspaper attempted to salvage and reconstruct the theme for the benefit of the audience. His focused interpretation of scholarship in terms of erudition, knowledge, learning, literacy, education soon made it clear that what was expected of the speakers was to chart out ways to inspire and motivate academic attainments from students. As also, to enumerate the role of teachers in doing so. Sharing influences of teachers of yore, on minds of students, he went on to elaborate how present day teachers could begin to tap the minds of young academicians to bring out enquiry and original thinking.

Apparently the invited speakers had been caught up with their interpretation of the term ‘scholarship’. The first known use of the word scholarship in circa 1536 had of course meant serious, detailed study for academic achievement. Synonymously, it is now understood to pertain to learning of a high order for attaining the character, qualities, and activities of a scholar. The current meaning of scholarship is more commonly understood as an amount of money or grant given by a school to a student to help for the student’s education. Somewhere between these two definitions the convention took off at tandem to make it all inclusive. Of course they did elaborate on the subject in its entirety by adding practical and experiential dimensions to explain teh finer nuances of teaching.

Had it not been for the chief editor’s elucidation, the conclave would have been bereft of the serious nature of the thematic issue at hand. It was his inferences on how a fund of knowledge or learning could help draw out the scholarship (read scholarly quests) of an avid student that lent the right context to the pursuit of this intellectual enquiry. Hopefully the understanding of the theme filtered down to the audience after his simplified description on this serious question of notching up scales in teaching to inculcate scholarship.

“Adding Scholarship to Teaching” was a first-rate attempt at reviewing and making projections for best practices in assessing the teachers role in value-addition to the student’s learning. The goal appears to be refining active learning. Let us work together to ingrain enhanced features that will inspire research and contemporary designs to foster systematic, intentional changes in teaching and learning outcomes. The mission here could be to leverage research among university educators to create appropriate value addition in order to provide orientation for original thinking in students.

201707081114

It’s the Season for New Beginnings

monsoon-rainfall-and-indian-economy

Two things happen with perennial certainty each year in our country. It’s that time of the year again when countless students wait with bated breath for the much anticipated high school and twelfth board results to-be-announced. And it’s that time when meteorologists get busy predicting the advent of the south west monsoons spelling relief from a sultry summer. Both these phenomenon bespeak of new beginnings in terms of growth for the country.

A total of 14,29,478 students appeared for the Maharashtra Board class XII examinations of 2017. Of these 12,79,406 cleared this basic examination that sends them onward ahead for further studies in areas of their choice. Matriculates is the revered term used to refer to these final year high school students who are now ready to blaze forth in the new found world of higher learning.

Passing the matriculation examinations opens the portals to an academic world – Pure Sciences, Humanities, Commerce, Medicine, Engineering, and Computer Sciences and so on. The avenues are open-ended and really endless in today’s modern world. Matriculation is the formal process that allows one to enter a university with students getting enrolled in different fields of study. This rite of passage then sees the careful nurturance and paving of way for the development of human resources for the country at large. Education clearly plays a crucial role in creating the scientific temper of our land.

Scientific temper is a way of life and this is the time when the growing educated population is getting groomed for the social processes, to think and act with conviction, courage and knowledge. Scientific temper may also be described as an attitude which involves the application of reasoning, logic and good sense. Herein are sown the seeds of fairness, equality and democracy.

It was Jawaharlal Nehru who first used the phrase in 1946 in this sense. He goes on to give a detailed explanation in his famous book ‘Discovery of India”: “What is needed is the scientific approach, the adventurous and yet critical temper of science, the search for truth and new knowledge, the refusal to accept anything without testing and trial, the capacity to change previous conclusions in the face of new evidence, the reliance on observed fact and not on pre-conceived theory, the hard discipline of the mind—all this is necessary, not merely for the application of science but for life itself and the solution of its many problems.”

And so, just as we implant knowledge in the young minds of our pubescent citizenry, it is also the time to sow the seeds in the ground for them to grow, flourish, and bear fruit. Monsoons are a boon for this, our land of tillers and the very foundation of our economy, contrary to what one may imagine. Our food security really rests on the monsoons. The Indian monsoon is the most prominent of the world’s monsoon systems, and one on which is based the entire agricultural economy of the country.

Because the land and its cultivation depend entirely on monsoon rains it becomes absolutely necessary to invest in quantitative long-range weather forecasts. It’s an area of operations that we still need to perfect. We need to be on top of the situation and move on from fathoming predictions through clues that appear prior to the months leading up to the big rains. We need to have a weather perfect forecast that ought to be released to the farmers. Forecasts need to be clearly refined so that agriculturists can positively correlate them for cultivation.

Truly, this last day of May 2017 has us believing that June is the month for new beginnings for us in India. The billowing clouds and stirring wind speeds already give indications of the onset of the great monsoons. Smiling graduating matriculates splashed on newspapers augur the scientific temper Nehru bespoke, long years back. We stand on the verge of an academic universe of our making and an agricultural revival that will spell rural development.

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark”- Rabindranath Tagore

Nagpur – Center of Learning

Education widely accepted as important for attainment of developmental goals is really the fundamental right of all children whether they are in the city, suburbs or jungles. Nagpur city located in the geographical center of India continues to be a major education hub. College of Agriculture is the oldest college in the country that was founded in 1906 by the then ruling British Government. The historic and heritage Victoria Building in Maharaj Bagh houses this College that was built in 1856 for the stay of Queen Victoria of England at Nagpur!

Nagpur University, now known as Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University was founded in 1923 and is one of the oldest in India. Nagpur with both municipal schools and private schools has emerged as a hub for education in Central India. Nagpur Municipal Corporation runs over 500 schools all over the city. There are numerous private schools run by trusts or individuals. Vidya Shikshan Prasaran Mandal (VSPM) is an affiliate partner of HERD Foundation and it is registered educational body under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

VSPM as it is better known was set up as a trust in the year 1971. The vision was to create learning centers that will allow education for all and at the same time work to eradicate social disparities causing unrest in society. 51 separate educational institutes operate under VSPM that includes a Medical College, Dental College, Physiotherapy College, Nursing Institutes, Hospitals, Degree Colleges with Arts, Commerce, Science, Business Management, Education and the schools in both urban and rural areas.

The school system follows a 10+2+3/4 plan and students have the option to enroll in junior college after 10 years of schooling and then undertake degree courses for three or four years depending on their choice of field. Nagpur can verily be said to be the nucleus for education having countless schools, colleges and higher learning centers. In hindsight it appears that astute political will has seen the emergence of educational centers across the length and breadth of the city.

There is little doubt that Nagpur will continue to grow as a bigger educational hub. Not only in the State but across the country it will have its unparalleled presence drawing countless students from all over the land and outside. Even now students from surrounding districts and states arrive in city with the aim to pursue their education. It is also evident that all these institutions attract companies to Nagpur and create jobs in various disciplines.

The Future is Ours to See

 

dsc03050

HERD Foundation works for provision of counseling services and career guidance to young students. Acting as an information resource the organization offers guidance through a pool of in-house experts who provide much needed benefit to the groups of young people on the brink of their adult lives. They help them to understand issues related to career and employment. Such information sharing occurs for students between 16-18 years of ages, of class 10 and 12 and is free of cost.

Offering personalized attention, the aim is to ensure that young people who lack guidance on education and employment opportunities are assisted to get all available, up-to-date information on future prospects. Quite often rural students of smaller towns distance themselves from teachers and tutors when they go through a sense of uncertainty or inability to fathom the future. HERD Foundation creates a distinct opportunity for such students by getting them to attend these educational meets.

In August 2016 career counseling services were organized for school students so that they could be facilitated to gain information and possible directions to achieve desired results for their educational journey. Career Counseling programmes were held at Savner, Ramtek, and Kanhan for students of class 10, 11, and 12. On an average 7 to 8 schools from each town participated in the sessions. The motivational speakers included Dr Amol Deshmukh, Mr Milind Apte, Dr Kalpana Date, Dr Suresh Chari, and Mr Sanjay Jog.

HERD Foundation is well aware that the lack of information on job prospects raises the need for organizing such specialized counseling services. Offering suitable choice of career options these discourses helped eliminate misconceptions about occupations and get students to gain in-depth knowledge about various other career options that could be pursued. These services inform of employment options that range from government, public, to private institutions.

Such counseling sessions focus on advice on occupational training, career choices, actual job opportunities, career counseling, job search techniques, personal skills development, Importance of extracurricular activities, gaining part time work experience, professional choices, attending training programs, information about different careers, public jobs, professional qualifications, and importance of a curriculum vitae.

HERD Foundation offers these services through professional trainers who are in the business of human resource development. They usually prove more useful to reach the minds of young children who do appear all fired up after every session and seem to look into the future with a sense of confidence. These experts prove inspirational for the purpose as they offer techniques that help students choose the right professional goals. In the final count most students develop the knack to learn to apply their minds for making decisions through learning, self-awareness, application and their personal competence.

dsc05445

Employment Opportunities for Our Youth

Despite the brouhaha about ‘acche din’ or good days as they say, it remains a hard fact that the youth of our country continue to confront challenges for getting suitable job placements after graduating from their studies. Creating a platform for availability of jobs that suits the employer base and that readily absorbs a growing number of young people entering the work force, is now part of HERD Foundations inherent activities. The Employment Fair is a regular feature, adding value to our education component.

We start off each year to understand and estimate availability of productive jobs in our vicinity. Alongside we explore the spectrum of disciplines that will respond to such openings. With final year students ready to walk out of portals of educational institutions in March each year, such an enterprise becomes all the more meaningful. With due preparation we remain focused on the employment scenario in formal/informal, private/public and urban/rural sectors for jobs that become source of income for the needy.

The Foundation pays special attention to low income families comprising majority of the population. We see good impact of efforts in the employment sector to positively influence growth and expansion of opportunities for more applicants who are able to secure suitable and better paying jobs. This then becomes a reason for much satisfaction and one that complements our work on poverty mitigation. We encourage young people to open up to ever widening choices. In a region beset with challenges for employment, the youth are actually provided due hand-holding and support to seek every possibility.

Vidarbha has not escaped the youth employment crisis and in fact in rural areas the situation is really quite grim. Unemployment rate for young male graduates in rural region is particularly high. The whole point of provision of education here appears to be in a morass if employment avenues are not in sight. In fact we are keen to start vocational education in these parts so that we can then offer them increased chances to find jobs as also to facilitate self-employment. This will be beneficial in the long-term too.

As an advocate for youth HERD Foundation is attempting to ensure that candidates commit themselves completely to this endeavor. We make certain that they make full use of the opportunity to participate effectively in their own best interests. We address the match between prospective companies and qualified students that opens up ways to reduce long-term youth unemployment. The attempt is also to train candidates to become fully equipped in following through with the demands of employers. For this we organize measures like extended training programmes to enable better access to jobs.

Employment Opportunities for Youth

Employment Opportunities for Youth

Employment Scenario and Development

Training for Competitive Job

Training for Competitive Jobs

HERD Foundation is concerned with regard to drift in development trends in the face of continuing employment crisis that obstructs efforts to mitigate poverty. With a view to improve the standard of living and enhance prosperity, especially for youth just stepping out into the real world, the Foundation organizes yearly Employment Fairs to open up avenues for candidates keen on getting placement as per their qualification.

For professional students walking out of colleges it is a huge opportunity to interact directly with companies that offer openings in various areas. Candidates from both urban and rural areas look up to this event with great hope and satisfaction. Bringing well known companies to their doorstep, so to say, the uncertainty and insecurity in the wake of a just-completed education is a very welcome opportunity.

The acquiring of jobs is a sure shot way to increase standards of living. It helps address our attempts to mitigate poverty. Our past experiences tell us that many families escape poverty simply because one family member is able to secure a job and thereby initiate a source of income for the family. Therefore HERD Foundation works on improving the employment scenario as this is central to our development agenda.

Securing jobs and successfully inducting newly passed out students to a line of work of their choice,   does transform their lives. A steady source of income improves living standards and pulls people out of their penury. With appropriate training for being successful in getting placement we prepare them to be efficient and more productive in their jobs. Also, we bring about social cohesion when we gather candidates from various social backgrounds to jointly take on opportunities coming their way.

Provision of jobs can really alter lives for the better and provide wider benefits. For instance, besides taking care of the basic needs of a family, women candidates may actually change the way households spend money by focusing on spending on education and health areas. It is heartening to note that more and more women of working age are participating in our Employment Fair. We also feel gratified by the inclusion of rural candidates for whom competing with city students for jobs is a challenge in itself.

HERD Foundation realizes that just provision of jobs may not be enough. With plentiful rural poor involved with farming or self-employment in areas like vegetable selling, sewing and other such occupations we foresee the need to find ways to augment incomes especially in the rural sector. In this the role of development of new skills in line with locally available opportunities for increasing earnings will play an essential role for a more productive scenario.

Job Aspirants at Employment Fair 2014

Job Aspirants at Employment Fair 2014

International Thank-You Day – January 11

International Thank You Day

International Thank You Day

HERD Foundation takes the opportunity to thank everyone on the occasion of International Thank-You Day celebrated on January 11. Belated as it may be, this singular day is marked out to thank someone for something special. And so we take this moment to thank all people, supporters and volunteers who helped us on in this great journey. We share our deepest thanks with each one of us who really deserve to be acknowledged for hand-holding and cheering us on in the fulfillment of our dreams.

This special day matters to us, as often enough in our busy routine and rigors of daily living we may forget the niceties of life. Sometimes we do not really even have the time to say these two beautiful short words “Thank You”. May be this is why the day was assigned and set aside so that we appreciate the parts played by everyone around us and who is important to us in the fulfillment of our endeavors.

The International Thank You day is a great opportunity to start of the New Year on a new note by thanking everyone. Just as the holiday season is getting over and once again we delve back into work and business, along comes this day reminding us all that something essential needs to be done. January 11 as International Thank You Day starts us on by showing appreciation to people who make our lives better.

We do believe that all of us have plentiful people to thank something for.  Perhaps it is a day that helps each one of us cultivate goodwill by expressing our gratitude. This special day may add just that much more meaning and fun by conveying and celebrating the quintessential importance of  International Thank You Day! So go ahead and say your own thank-you messages. We usually miss the opportunity to express our gratitude to friends and colleagues – let us thank each other for our countless blessings. Let us all ingrain gratitude.

THANK YOU

THANK YOU