Monday, December 13, 2010

Madhya Pradesh

In Lucknow there are 29 Urban Learning Centres (ULCs), and I had the pleasure of visiting two of them. The children were divided three groups: class 1, class 2, and class 3–5. One ULC also had a pre-school group. The collection of books included books from Read India and other publishers, and one of the ULCs had a room in which the books where hanging from a string. Since Lucknow is a mix of Muslims and Hindus, there were books in both Hindi and Urdu, as well as English.

While I was there there was a volunteer training going on, so I ended up attending that instead of visiting schools and observing classes. But it was nice to see this part of Pratham too. I also took the opportunity to attend a monthly meeting for ULC teachers.

My Hindi wasn't good enough to understand everything, but I did get some of it, especially when people were speaking to me. This was the case with the trainers I met, who didn't speak English at all. Since I roughly knew the context, I could get a lot of what they said (and asked for translation when I couldn't).

In MP they are proudly running a science programme, visiting schools with a set of science gadgets. It was great fun to "fool" gravity and play with air pressure. But the best part was to make a tiny water pump out of an empty tooth paste tube!

MP is the last state I will visit, which means my stay is coming to an end. In the coming couple of days I'll be working on my final report, but also be sure to catch some talks on multi-lingual education (MLE) at J.N. University, which is something I am very interested in. I'm also hoping to spark Pratham's interest for MLE...

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