“Adding Scholarship to Teaching”

 

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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.

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Pre-schooling for Toddlers

 

Pre-school education is actually pretty important for infants today. With increasing nuclear and one child families, pre-schools become a familial hub that aid kids to learn all about the world around them. Early on they begin to understand and learn how to live a healthy and purposeful life. Research suggests that pre-primary education is vital for development of young children before they begin formal schooling. This early juncture helps in cognitive development of children that in turn has strong bearing on attendance and participation in school in later years.

Pre-primary education helps children become more independent and confident as well as promotes their all-round development. Children who have been to pre-primary schools tend to learn more quickly and understand curriculum and learning-aids better. They also learn to interact and attain social skills with other children. The main purpose of pre-primary education is to prepare children physically, emotionally, socially and mentally for formal schooling.

This stage is considered necessary for all children of 3-6 years of age. But now children start pre-school from as early as 1.6 to 2 years. The reason for this is the increasing numbers of working parents, lack of family support, and wanting the best start in life for the children. All this makes pre-primary school education significant.

Various types of pre-primary schools run in India and more children are now attending them indicating an increase in demand for such education even at this early stage. The pre-primary stage then becomes the foundation embedding children’s knowledge, skills and behavior. On completion of this stage they happily move on to primary schools after attaining 6 years of age.

A preschool is also known as playgroup, nursery, pre-primary school, kindergarten and Montessori. These are all semi-educational establishments that offer early childhood education to train infants. Several factors ensure the quality of preschool education. First and foremost it is imperative they have well-qualified and trained teachers who have requisite aptitude for their chosen work. Next, these must have the necessary facilities and amenities for pre-schoolers. Finally they must provide safe, healthy and suitable environment for the young ones.

These are very important years of learning for the young ones. The brain grows most rapidly in the early years. During these early years they are capable of absorbing more information that they retain for the rest of their lives.  High-quality teachers and a good preschool can have a lasting effect on children. Here are areas of development that preschool education cover:

  • Personal, social, and emotional development
  • Communication (including sign language), talking and listening
  • World-around-them knowledge and understanding
  • Creative and aesthetic development
  • Physical development
  • Physical health
  • Play
  • Teamwork
  • Self-help skills
  • Social skills
  • Literacy – Mathematics and Language awareness

Pre-schooling is no more a luxury. It is now considered the very foundation of a child’s formal education. Therefore, you need to find a preschool that introduces your toddler to academic learning and at the same time ensures that he enjoys the time spent there. Play schools have cropped in every part of India. And you are overwhelmed with options, making it difficult for you to choose. The curriculum, facilities, and personal attention paid to the kids, all play a key role in determining the best from the rest.

 

Vision 2017: Access to All for Basic Schooling

What is vision? It is the faculty or state of being able to see. In terms of organizational vision it is the ability to think and plan the future with imagination and wisdom. What is a world vision? This would mean comprehensive view of the world and human life. Presently HERD Foundation’s aspirational vision is keyed on meaningful humanitarian plans intending to serve the future course of envisioned humanist values to facilitate access to basic education.

Having been in the education field it pains us to see that cutting across the country there is still lack of equal educational opportunities for all. More especially for the underprivileged; this leaves countless children bereft of schooling opportunities even at the basic primary education level. Education in India is provided by public sector as well as private sector. The Indian Constitution offers provisions for free and compulsory education as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14.

Provision of quality education is dragging at different levels. What is more apparent is that schooling is being transformed into a human supply chain schooling system centered round education becoming a business. We still have hackneyed curriculum and modes for teaching even as we move towards a world thriving on the information boom. Despite India emerging as an outstanding force in the IT sector, we yet grapple with transformational aspects to be introduced in the basic primary school education system.

The current challenge remains that of building up quality and quantity for primary and basic education schooling. Since we all agree that education is a human right, therefore like all human rights we cannot allow it to be taken for granted. We need to take up the responsibility to ensure that boys and girls everywhere get the chance to study a well planned course of primary education.

Such an undertaking is certainly daunting. But the high numbers of children out of school, for reasons beyond their control, make us more determined to find resources for our vision and to include them in our intentions for delivering it to them. Our vision is to improve the quality and learning outcomes for these children so as to provide an education that adapts to the required changes with the wherewithal needed.

Years of being in the business of social change makes us understand that there is a decided connection between access to quality education, and economic plus social development. Lack of access to education to boys and girls, leaves communities with lopsided educational development. It is only when accessibility to education is ensured that we will we be able to reap subsequent benefits relating to health, equality, and employment.

Children today need modern day skills and knowledge, more so ones who come from low income groups and underprivileged communities. Current teaching methodologies and current requisite education has to focus on inputs like reasoning, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and digital literacy that is the need of the hour. Even young children need to be familiar with new technologies and cope with rapidly changing educational environments.

We therefore aim to work in constructive ways to improve the quality of education. Innovation has to be brought in with like-minded partnerships that will be forged. Simply financial aid cannot replace domestic-resource mobilization; however donors do play an important role. More so in supporting initiatives needed in these directions. It is for this reason that we look for newfound educational patterns to develop a new order of basic primary education.

Our focus is going to be on intensifying efforts to rope in the poorest and difficult to reach children and ensure they have access to education. Since education is a right for everyone – all girls and all boys should be facilitated to have it. It is a right for the countless out-of-school children and adolescents. Regardless of where you are born and where you grow up, it is time we ensure that primary education has to be made accessible to all.

 

Medical Camp at Hiwra Bazar – Happens Despite Heavy Rains

Sharing more Information

Dr Amol Deshmukh with the Patients at Hiwra Bazar

In the series of medical camps organized for rural citizens of neighboring districts, HERD Foundation conducted its free medical camp at Hiwra Bazar. Camp timings were 4 to 9 and despite the steady drizzle from morning people had arrived since two in the afternoon. At one point overcast clouds gave way to heavy rainfall looking like the camp would be cancelled. The arrangements outside were going haywire but Dr Amol R. Deshmukh gave the go ahead to move inside classrooms to keep the healthcare camp going.

This proved to be a good decision since people had assembled from nearby villages too –  from Salai, Pauni, Fulzhari and Khanora. The assembled crowd was perhaps an indicator that doctors remain in short supply at these locations and a medical facility is needed. These villages are all at a distance of 5-6 kms and people had actually walked over to be able to see a doctor. Also most of the visitors were old people that shows geriatric population responds to these medical camps with alacrity and a sense of conviction.

Check-ups continued well into the night. Dr Amol R. Deshmukh accompanied by his mother Smt Rupatai Deshmukh were present at the camp along with the entire team of doctors, para-medics and essential medicines to be dispensed. The medical camp was inaugurated by the hands of Smt. Nandatai Nanhe, Sarpanch of Hiwra Bazar. Other influential village people were also present to extend support for such a noble cause.

As expected over 2000 people were checked-in to be examined for the varied physical complaints. Aside from seasonal ailments some serious conditions were diagnosed that included cases of oral pre-cancerous, hernia hydrocele, learning disability, pediatric tuberculosis, infertility and spondolysis and low back pain.  A singular case of ectopic uterus (displaced womb) and a chronic suppurative osteo myelititis (inflammatory condition of bone) case along with severe pus formation was also detected and referred for further treatment. Incidentally the latter was being mistakenly treated for cancer locally.

In all nearly 80 severe and surgical cases were referred for further treatment. The patients were counseled and provided due information. Eight medical departments of NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences and Lata Mangeshkar Hospital with teams of doctors, interns, nurses and attendants examined and treated the people. The medical team of Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Dental and ENT Departments attended to patients who had come from the surrounding areas too.

Dr Amol Deshmukh continues to play a key role and in contributing for the medical welfare of people through provision of needed medical treatment. He is a strong advocate for weaker sections to gain access to medical care, particularly those living in remote rural areas.

Free Medical Camp

People Lined Up all Through the Long Evening