Skip to main content

Discussion on making school education meaningful to vulnerable communities

ActionAid note on workshop to boost National Curriculum Framework operations:

Leading educationists and activists striving to make education meaningful to vulnerable communities gathered in Delhi to discuss the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE). Acting in response to the call of the NCF Steering Committee appointed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, ActionAid Association had organised the meeting to gather feedback on the draft NCFSE. This is part of ActionAid Association’s commitment to promote inclusive and gender-responsive education.
The two-day national workshop titled ‘NCF Perspectives: Seeking Feedback on National Curriculum Framework (NCF)’ on May 30 and 31, 2023, was held at India International Centre, New Delhi. The workshop aimed to ensure a structured approach to gathering feedback from key stakeholders and enhancing their active participation in shaping the response sought by the Government of India. Stakeholders representing eight states were present at the event, together with experts from reputed organisations working on child rights and education, including UNICEF, Save the Children, CRY, Reach to Teach, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti and Nirantar Trust.
Dipali Sharma, Director, Organisational Effectiveness, ActionAid Association, in her welcome address, outlined the continued efforts of ActionAid Association across 28 states in India to ensure voices of the most marginalised communities are incorporated in national processes, including in the feedback on NCF. Additionally, a comprehensive field study has been carried out, involving communities, children and teachers, with a sample size of nearly 600 participants. The findings from these studies, along with the insights presented in this paper, will contribute to the ongoing discussions on making the NCFSE more gender-equitable and inclusive. Additionally, Ms Sharma highlighted the efforts of the organisation towards eradicating child marriage and child labour, promoting education of the girl child and reviewing textbooks and curriculum with a view to making it gender sensitive.
While sharing insights from her vast experience, Prof. Poonam Agarwal, Professor and Former Joint Director, NCERT, stressed on the need to consider the importance of working with young boys to attain a gender-just society whereby curriculum has a crucial role to play. Rashmi Sinha, Education and Gender Specialist, and Member of NCF 2005, shared instances from western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to elucidate the intersectional nature of gender relations. She stated that the NCF needs to consider the intersectional and contextual nature of gender relations. Ms. Madhuri Das, Gender Programme Specialist, UNICEF, highlighted the importance of engendering the curriculum rather than making it gender neutral. She emphasised on the need to include psycho-social support, counselling and social-emotional learning as critical elements of the curriculum. Geeta Menon, Gender Expert and Subir Shukla, Principal Coordinator, Group IGNUS, also shared valuable inputs.
The proceedings on the second day attempted to consolidate subject and section-specific recommendations to NCF pertaining to diversity and inclusion, gender equity and gender sensitivity. Culminating the meeting, Sudatta Khuntia, National Lead on Education, ActionAid Association, stated that the valuable feedback gathered here will be carefully drafted and shared with expert members for their input and review. “The final document will subsequently be submitted to the NCF Steering Committee, together with state reports that highlight regional perspectives. Meetings with the committee members will also be arranged to push the recommendations at different levels,” she said, adding that “Through this process, we aim to ensure that the feedback is well-informed, widely shared, and receives the attention it deserves.”
The national workshop in New Delhi served as a platform for educators, policymakers, parents, students and community representatives to share their perspectives and recommendations on the pre-draft of the NCF. The interactive sessions enabled participants to engage in constructive discussions on the various aspects of education, including curriculum design, pedagogy, assessment methods and inclusivity.



Why's Govt of India reluctant to consider battery storage system for renewal energy?

By Shankar Sharma*  If having so many small size battery energy storage system (BESS) at different locations of the grid, as in the report from Australia (a portfolio of 27 small battery storage projects across three Australian states that will total arounds 270 MWh), is considered to be techno-economically attractive in a commercially driven market such as Australia, the question that becomes a lot more relevance to Indian scenario is: why are our planners not in favour of installing such small size BESS at most of the distribution sub-stations not only to accelerate the addition of RE power capacities, but also to minimise the need for large size solar/ wind power parks, dedicated transmission lines and pumped storage plants; which will also minimise the associated technical losses.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Failure of governance': India, China account for 54% pollution-relates deaths globally

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram*   A recent report jointly prepared by UNICEF and the independent research organization Health Effects Institute has been released, and the statistics within it are alarming. It states that in 2021, air pollution caused the deaths of 2.1 million Indians, including 169,000 children who hadn't yet fully experienced life. These figures are indeed distressing and raise questions about why there hasn't been more serious effort in this direction, putting policymakers to shame. 

New MVA-INDIA MPs asked to raise Maharashtra milk farmers' demand

By Our Representative  All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) national president Dr Ashok Dhawale and AIKS Maharashtra general secretary Dr Ajit Nawale have asked three newly-elected MPs of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA-INDIA) from the milk belt of Maharashtra Dr Amol Kolhe (NCP),  Bhausaheb Wakchaure (SS), and Nilesh Lanke (NCP), to take up the cause of milk farmers of Maharashtra in Parliament.  After congratulating them on their resounding victory over their BJP-NDA rivals, the AIKS leaders apprised them of the milk farmers struggle which is intensifying in the state under the leadership of the AIKS and the Milk Farmers Joint Struggle Committee, and requested them to support it. All three MPs agreed not only to support, but also to take the initiative in this struggle, an official AIKS communique claimed. Farmers in Maharashtra are currently getting as low as Rs 24-27 per litre for cow milk, which is being sold in the market for Rs 56-60 per litre, the AIKS leaders noted. The low price to farmer

Report suggests Indian democracy 'hasn't achieved' equitable economic decentralization

By Vikas Parsaram Meshram  The news that the current economic inequality in the country is worse than during British rule is unsettling. This suggests the harsh reality that our democracy has not achieved equitable economic decentralization. A recent report by Thomas Piketty and three other economists reveals shocking findings: in 2023-24, the top 1% of the wealthiest people in India hold 40% of the nation's wealth, with a 22.6% share in income. 

Women's emancipated under Mao: Girl completed primary school, began working in farm collective

By Harsh Thakor*  The book “New Women in New China”, a collection of articles projecting dramatic transformation -- political and economic -- in the status of Chinese women after liberation, originally published in 1972, and reprinted in 2023 by the Foreign Languages Press, Beijing, encompasses the period between 1949 and 1972, seeking to give justice to the subject of women’s emancipation in China after the 1949 revolution.