If you have an M.tech degree from IIT Kharagpur, with a great job package and a job with the IBM, what would you do with your life? Work hard, Party harder , excessively socialize and enjoy life? Meet Girish Mahale, who came back to his hometown of Pandurna in Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh, leaving it all behind to start Pratyaya EduResearch Lab. Their approach is to focus all their resources, effort and research on a systematic improvement in quality of education in the government schools, especially in the rural areas.
Since he was a child Girish felt an incessant urge to bring about a change in the existing methodologies of the public education system without any compromise on its affordability. Since he had a first hand experience of the public education system he ardently wanted to start something to improve the quality of education for the local communities using the local resources and knowledge base itself. Hence Pratyaya Eduresearch Lab, a non-profit social change organization working towards quality and equity in education was conceptualized. It was established in 2014 with a vision to provide the society with a meaningful, innovative and high quality education which is affordable for all.
According to Girish a parallel and different system will not provide a solution to the irregularities prevalent today. Instead there is a need to reconnect with and increase the capacity of our existing system. He works with the system to map the existing curriculum with the project based learning and practical pedagogical system. The lab has created a systematic, structured and replicable practical teaching methodology. Initially, a complete mapping of the existing curriculum of a specific institution is carried out. The amount of technology that is available locally and via open sources is utilized for the mapping. Moreover,Involvement of local resource persons such as teachers, technicians and student leaders is heavily promoted as such participation helps in creating a rooted and a conducive educational ecosystem for such a practical skill based learning model. Leadership and capacity building activities for the local graduates, technicians and student leaders are regularly carried out. Also interns and members are invited to study and partake in daily activities in government and tribal schools and contribute to the research, development and implementation of the experience gathered.
Community involvement is third integral pillar of this model. They try to involve the school management committee and local authorities to effectively assess the quality of education. They promote youth entrepreneurship and social and academic clubs at the local level so as to profoundly enhance the ecosystem holistically. The intervention of the lab begins at standard 8th and gradually improvements are implemented for both the curriculum and the students. Also, Second hand laptops and other such equipments are provided to the school for these purposes.
Girish believes that this model can help in achieving a certain level of credibility and consciousness for the current system of education. These sort of social interventions in our public education system can be a boon for the adivasis and other restrained and financially adverse group where coexisting curriculums can lead to an education which is equitable and exemplary at the same time and create changemakers for a better tomorrow.
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