Other Workshops

In addition to the annual workshop in Shantiniketan, Pratichi conducts various themed workshops throughout the year, and sometimes for longer periods. These workshops are the confluence of research and public action initiatives, and their sustained presence on the field, all across West Bengal and in parts of Orissa and Jharkhand, have enabled Pratichi to build a strong and committed network of local administration, scholars from or working in these areas, leaders and community spokespeople from the area, and above all, the ‘common people’ of the neighbourhoods.

The following are a list of the workshops we have conducted in the past. Linked to each are the project descriptions, pictures, and project reports (wherever available).

Workshop: Status of Primary Education in 5 Eastern States
Project background note (PDF)
In collaboration with UNICEF, the Pratichi Institute is conducting an assessment of the status of elementary education in 5 states of eastern India: Orissa, Jharkhand, Assam, Mizoram and Tripura. In the first phase of the project the Pratichi team analysed secondary (DISE and census) data and visited administrative centres, culminating in a workshop in each state. The second phase will consist of close ethnographic study as well as field survey modules conducted in each state over several months.

Community Collaboration in Primary Education
Workshop report (PDF)
A series of parent-teacher workshops, to facilitate free conversation and exchange of ideas between primary school teachers and members of their school's local communities, were organised as part of Pratichi's monitoring and evaluation project for the Sarva Shiksha Mission in North Bengal. The workshops were based on the RTE directive of community engagement, and also on Pratichi’s own past research experiences – supported by the field study for this project – which show that all public primary schools that function up to or above expectations do so with the active support of its local community. And this is not a one-way flow of benefits. By supporting the school and teachers, the community is really supporting its children, and building children’s capabilities, as we have seen first-hand, expands the capabilities of their parents and families. By imparting good hygiene and consciousness about the dangers of water-borne diseases, for example, we have seen the sanitary habits of an entire village gradually improve, because the children went home and insisted some of the older habits of the family change. Besides, a good relationship between teachers and parents encourages a more organic, and therefore more effective, way of teaching, which is particularly necessary in areas as culturally and linguistically diverse as North Bengal.

Right to Education and Child Nutrition (Birbhum, Pratichi-CRY Project)
Workshop Report (PDF)
On 18 February 2012, the Pratichi-CRY team in Birbhum organised a workshop on the implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) in the district, and its ramifications for child welfare and child rights. The workshop was attended by teachers from 128 schools from the district, covered under the Pratichi-CRY project, relevant government officials (the District Primary School Council, the school inspector of the Bolpur Sadar West Circle), representatives of teachers’ unions, people from Pratichi, CRY, and other interested entities. The panel was chaired by the Institute’s director, Dr. Manabi Majumdar, and presided over by Amartya Sen, who also released two books at the event: Shishu Shikkhar Bhumika (An Introduction to Elementary Education), and the English translation of Sobai Miley, which is an anthology of local teachers’ experiences and ideas about public primary education in the area.

Review of the Syllabus Review Committee
Pratichi, in association with the Vikramshila Education Resource Centre, organised a workshop to facilitate conversation between the Syllabus Review Committee and primary and secondary school teachers in West Bengal. The teachers debated the recommendations of the Committee, and offered several suggestions for greater effectiveness. The attending Committe members -- including the Chairperson, Dr. Abhik Majumdar -- noted several of the suggestions, and promised to consider them at the Committee's next meeting.

Reading Festivals
Report: Festival pilot (PDF)
The reading festivals are part of the ongoing Pratichi-CRY project, Documenting New Initiatives in Education in Birbhum. In January 2012, the project organised the pilot for its new primary school-based programme to encourage socialisation, reading, writing, and freedom of expression in children. The success of this pilot has launched the reading festivals as an established ongoing part of the project, and a booklet recounting the experiences and outcomes of the project is due for publication in July 2012.

Teachers' Experience and Innovations
Summary for Birbhum schools (PDF)
We belive the success of our public primary schools, amidst their severe and varied lacks, is owed in considerable part to the dedication and creativity of the teachers. In 2010, therefore, Pratichi started its first set of workshops to document the experience and pedagogic innovations of our primary school teachers. The workshops will happen at the block-level of each district in the state, to give us a comprehensive overview of primary education in Bengal. Details about the workshop, and some fascinating innovations used in the classroom by teachers, can be found in the preliminary report from the Birbhum district linked above.