Bal Sansads: Rethinking education in a changing world

Skills meant to cultivate collaboration and problem-solving will become essential for businesses across all sectors in the future. This necessitates the need for schools to make 21st century skills a core component of education.

Rajeev Ranjan may be on his way to becoming an able retail manager, but the Bihar native still fondly remembers his experience as the ‘Prime Minister’ of the student parliament – or Bal Sansad – in his school. Democratically elected, he identified problems in his school and undertook change-projects to resolve them with the help of the school administrators and community.

Thus, tasked with overseeing key functions and activities around the school, Ranjay unwittingly ended up grooming his bargaining and presentation skills – crucial in his current job, which regular classroom teaching would have left him lacking. As a Bal Sansad member, he in turn cultivated the skills of leadership, networking, self-expression and most importantly, problem-solving.

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Lessons learnt in government relations

“Engaging with the movers and shakers of the sector varies depending on the geography and, more importantly, on the political hierarchy one is dealing with.”

It is unfortunate that the words ‘government’ and ‘relations’ taken in conjunction commonly inspire perceptions of inaccessibility and hopelessness. Navigating this diplomatic tightrope may be a skill perfected by a blend of tact and credibility, but real-time experience goes a long way too.

While ivory-towered optimism is always eclipsed by the realities on ground, I don’t think starting off with that attitude is necessarily a bad thing, as long as expectations driven by that passion is managed well. I speak from personal experience when I offer this caveat, because for all the policies that are in place to ensure good practises, the execution phase can be very challenging.

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The Educator: A Designer, Innovator, and Thinker

“To facilitate effective learning spaces, educators must also think of themselves as method designers. You are in the role of a hacker or a ‘prototyper.’” David Jul, a learning designer from Kaospilot, outlines five questions that educators must ask themselves when they design learning experiences.

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The educator plays one of the most important roles in determining how young people experience learning. We at Quest have worked with children from diverse age groups and backgrounds for over 12 years, and we have observed that the educator’s role is a constant and highly important factor in young peoples’ learning. How students experience their learning environment has a significant impact on their attitude toward learning as a whole. It is the educator who cultivates this environment and determines how young learners interact with various forms of knowledge and with each other.

At Quest 2 Learn 2018, we had the opportunity to interview David Jul, who is a learning designer at Kaospilot. We discussed how Kaospilot designs learning experiences for its students and how educators use a variety to tools and methodologies to design education environments. In the conversation, David outlined five questions that an educator must ask himself or herself when designing learning experiences.

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Building Trust, Strengthening Education

The importance of improving relationships and building trust between parents, teachers, and communities for improved education

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In the development of a school, the local community has a crucial role to play. Teachers and community members both see the development of students as a priority, but the challenge lies in channelling this shared desire in a productive way. A lack of trust between the school and the community lies at the heart of the matter – school personnel generally seem to believe parents are not interested in their child’s education, and parents similarly seem to believe teachers are not productive. Continue reading “Building Trust, Strengthening Education”

Education & Skills Sector Reading List, March 2018

The Quest Alliance round-up of what we’ve been reading in the education and skills sector this month.

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EMPLOYABILITY

An analysis of corporate data suggests that while corporations have been creating new jobs, the pace of job creation has been lacklustre in recent years. Read more in Live Mint here.

The ministry of labour and employment has issued a notification extending full-benefit, fixed-term jobs to all sectors of the economy, reports the Financial Express here.

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Coalition Building & Corporate Philanthropy

Funder and nonprofit perspectives come together to tackle an issue at the heart of the development sector. What needs to be done to amplify the impact of CSR funds?

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Over the past decade, I have watched the admirable, at times controversial, but ceaseless march of corporations and philanthropic foundations to ‘do good’ in India, and to do it well. It’s been accelerated by changes to the Indian Companies Act, which mandated that 2% of the average profits of a company be invested in CSR.

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Ten Tricks for Effective Facilitation

Meaningful teaching boils down to keeping it simple and harnessing your passion, shares Training Coordinator and former facilitator, Rohan J

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Facilitation is an art which adds value to the traditional teaching and lecturing process, like adding sugar to milk. Effective facilitation can bring a very positive vibe to the learning ecosystem, which can enhance cooperation and collaboration, and thus bringing synergy to the entire teaching-learning process. Facilitation brings a deeper meaning in this 21st Century classroom framework which is driven by emotions, technology, peer learning and the internet of things. But how can you master this much-needed skill to harness the maximum potential of teaching?

Developed through nine years of my teaching/facilitation career and a further six months working as a MasterCoach Training Coordinator at Quest Alliance, here are some tricks of the trade:

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