Ramesh Panse kaka is working on बाल शिक्षण (early childhood and elementary education) since last 23 years. He underlined the importance of improving baal-shikshan. It is one of the most important education and one of the most ignored in our country. Early childhood is the effective age during which mental capabilities such as grasping, understanding, memory of a kid are developing.
Rameshkaka made us think from the simplest things (right from seating arrangement for kids) to the complex things (the curriculam nature and its effects) about this education. To know more about Ramesh Panse please click here.
Nature of the problem
People as well as our education system thinks that baal-shikshan is obvious and it is not needed to pay much attention. Sagar pointed out the principle that Nayna told - try to identify a problem which the socienty/communitiy feels that it is a problem. But for this education, there hardly seems an demand or urge of people because they do not feel that it is a problem. Panse kaka's reply to this : Some problems of the society are not even known to people that they exist. Panse kaka mentioned that for such problems, one is needed to work at multiple levels - spreading awareness, scientific research and studies, hitting at the right points in the administrative network (such as approaching the education ministry for changes to implemented throughout), giving "proof-of-concept" for the theories/principles. Some of these steps might not show results immediately, but they are needed.
Principles of Gram-Mangal (as I understood)
We didn't have a discussion on education in higher classes, nor have I read any book of Panse kaka yet, so, for time being, I am writing considering only baal-shikshan.
1. Importance to children/students rather than importance to teachers : As an example, why is it needed for a teacher to have a table and chair (or a dias) in the class? Why can't he just sit with students? Also, why is that benches are needed till 4th standard? Can't it happen that children are sitting on covered floor which is more suitable for their sporty/unstable nature? etc.
2. No homeworks till 4th standard : Panse kaka and the teachers in school mentioned that all studies till 4th standard can be done in class only.
3. Project based learning : Rather than teaching all subjects independent of each other, can they be somehow combined? For example, consider a learning scheme based on web-charts. Consider water as a project/subject - there will be a chapter related to water in science, there can be a poem on water/rains in languages, there can be environmental awareness regarding water, there can be essay writing on usages or water, and a lot of it. For the exact benefits of this scheme, I guess one has to read the books on this subject.
4. School as something enjoyable : Students should love to come to school and they should feel homely there. As a simple example, the principal of the school (Kadekar sir) mentioned that, the sir and madam are not called "sir" and "madam" by the students. Instead they are called "kaka" and "mavshi" which makes children feel more closer and secure.
5. Group based learning : Rather than teaching the whole class, where students of different capabilities are addressed together, group based learning is emphasized. What that means is, one student might have more interest in languages and less interest in science. So, for a languages class, there will be some students who will lead the others - form groups of students of same level for each subject and teach/address the students in groups rather than as a whole class. Group based learning assures attention to every student and it caters to student's learning needs.
Different fronts that need to be worked on
As already mentioned, Panse kaka is working at various levels to tackle the problem.
1. Research is needed and is motivated. He himself has done lot of research in this and written a number of books based on his research.
2. Spreading awareness : He's running a monthly educational magazine
3. Gathering people who have similar thoughts and exchange thoughts: Baal shikshan parishad is an organization to which Panse kaka has contributed a lot (I am not sure if he founded it, sorry for my ignorance). The conference (adhiveshan) of the Parishad is conducted once a year which is happening in November this time. I will post the details in a separate mail.
4. Running schools implementing the principles/ideas at Vai and Aina (may be at some more places as well).
5. Creating a movement which will pressurize the government to take concrete actions
In my mail, I have just tried to give an overview of Panse kaka's work and thoughts about बाल शिक्षण.This by no means is complete. Interested junta can read his books for more understanding.