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Indian innovation in education gets noticed in Qatar

Wednesday November 02, 2011 07:46:30 PM, IANS

Doha: Two unusual and innovative educational projects from India are among a list of "16 pioneers around the world" selected by a new book on the subject just released here.

Launched late Tuesday in this emirate in the Arabian peninsula, the book highlights the 'Hole in the Wall' experiment of teaching slum children computing without teachers, and the lesser-known 'Nanhi Kali' attempt to ensure 70,000 girl students from the poorest homes don't fall behind and drop out of school in five Indian states.

The book, "Innovation in Education: Lessons from Pioneers Around the World" by innovation-creativity and learning expert Charles Leadbeater rates the Sugatha Mitra-led 'Hole in the Wall' experiment as the highest among all in its degree of innovation.

This project involves self-organised learning-without teachers in the use of computers.

Released during the World Innovation Summit for Education, the book has schoolgirls of the 'Nanhi Kali' school in Mumbai on its cover.

'Nanhi Kali' is described as "disarmingly simple but highly effective". It uses full-time academic resource coordinators to work with four to five schools or train community activists who run the sessions with the girls. Community activists act as para-teachers and mentors for the children, and liason between schools and parents.

From across the globe - often its poorest and most resource-starved areas - the book zooms in on projects that could make a change in the lives of young learners, and also scale up.

These include the Cape Town-based African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which employes collaborative and highly interactive learning to develop the "next generation of African mathematical scientists".

The British Open University and its partners in Africa have the TESSA programme for teacher-education in sub-Saharan Africa, while the impact of the publicly-shared MIT Opencourseware and the Rewrite the Future Save the Children campaign to improve education for children in 20 conflict zones worldwide have also been recognised.

From Jordan comes the unusual We Love Reading campaign to promote independent reading by training mothers in local mosques to set up reading groups for children aged 6-12 years.

Five successful businessmen and professionals met on Pakistan's independence day in 1995 and, after talking about the many ills of their country, decided to launch 1,000 quality schools for the poorest children there. By 2011, they managed 730 schools, with 102,000 students and 5400 female teachers - all driven to school in mini-buses to ensure their safety. The Citizens Foundation's schools are considered "hugely innovative" in a Pakistani context.

(Frederick Noronha can be contacted at











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