The working group of InDEC 2017 met for the first time on 28th June 2017 at our convenor Amukta’s residence. The team had been meeting in pairs, or small groups previously, or talking over the phone or by email. Not to forget the group in the now ubiquitous WhatsApp.
The group discussed about the participants count, on ways to increase them and on getting state departments participating too, with a brief interlude on how best to manage the participants list.
The group was provided a brief background on IDEC, APDEC and the opportunity in front of us to set up the first ever of a series of InDECs focused on improving participation from within India and taking it deeper into the nooks and corners of the country. Then everybody in the group gave a short update on the work they had done so far, what they intended to do further and what help they needed.
Amidst tea and sumptuous snacks courtesy of our host, we had wide ranging discussions on different forms of democracy as structures and cultures; what went wrong with education in India; attempts by government, aided and private institutions; what is better or worse or similar; examples from some of the states; what is going wrong with schools and education over the generations; is it a personal issue of individuals, or a systemic issue or does a sense of ownership and behaviour depend on the culture of the environment? We agreed that every time we meet, we would set aside time for discussion on democracy and education; so that we do not get lost only with logistics and planning.
The meeting was attended by Aditi Aparajita (worked with APF & UNICEF earlier, now consultant for Language Learning for state govt teachers); Biplaw Singh (CWC, Concerned for Working Children, i/c of urban programme); Nivedita Ram (Teaching English in Sishu Griha school as a consultant; and online to others); Indira Krishnaswami (retd teacher, Computers, at Aditi Mallya School); Joseph Deyone (Gubachi School and volunteer in nearby govt school); Vidya Shetty (Teacher in Prakriya School); Prem Kumar (Leads a team in Cognizant & runs a school & training program in Hosur, with his wife) and Amukta (SchoolScape, centre for educators).