Rukmini Banerji talks about the state of education in India, why reading needs to be encouraged and the part that all of us can play in bringing about change.
Via Akshara Foundation
Dr.Rukmini Banerji has been an active member of the core team of ASER, the Pratham-facilitated Annual Status of Education Report, since 2005 and currently heads ASER Centre. Her talk, Disruptive Learning in 45 Days, was illuminating,engaging and thought provoking. In an anecdotal way she made telling, hard-hitting points on the state of learning in India. The genesis of ASER lies in a small experiment Pratham began many years ago with children who were left behind and could not read - in school maybe, but nowhere on par. Dr.Banerji and hundreds of people like her wrought a miracle with village children, turning those who stuttered and stumbled over letters into confident, fluent readers of sentences. All in 45 days, using a specially designed tool, a simple reading expedient that went on to become a rallying point not just to teach children how to read but to engage communities. It moved to the next dimension of a village report card and a learning survey of children, and ASER had begun, in embryo form. Its reading and Mathematics statistics are always cause for dismay and concern. Dr. Banerji called education one of India’s biggest problem areas and urged people to engage groups of children in reading, using appropriate material. Two hours a day for thirty or forty days. If hundreds and thousands of us can do it India will change forever, she said.