GRAAM organized a 2-day convention of “First State Level Teachers Experiential Research Conference” from May 25 to 26, 2018 at Mysuru. The conference was supported by the Department of Public Instruction, Government of Karnataka and witnessed the participation of around 70 delegates from all districts of Karnataka. They included officials from the Education Department, policy thinkers from non-profit and non-government organisations, academics from various public and private universities, researchers and field workers across the state of Karnataka as well as the media.

The main issues discussed included the importance of skill development and skill labs in building quality education, strengthening the enrolments and attendance of students in government schools, the idea of an ideal teacher and its relevance in today’s education system, the importance and need for after-school initiatives, the role of School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMCs) in strengthening government schools, teaching languages (both Kannada and English) at the Primary level, the present status, challenges and the way forward for public school education and the physical well being of students (Cleanliness, Sports and Health).

The agenda of the conference was to

  • Check the facilities as laid down in the Constitution and stated by Government guidelines has reached schools at the grassroots.
  • Observe the facilities provided in the school and do an experiential research on them.
  • Advocate the Government to implement the suggested results to implement in developing the school.
  • Co-opt the Government to be a part of the initiative to inspire the active involvement of the local community in the development of the school.
  • Strengthen and closely monitor the relationship between SDMCs and teachers and to look into their cordially working towards the development of schools.
  • Constantly check the proper implementation of the grants sanctioned towards the development of the schools.

Some of the recommendations made by participants during various sessions of the conference included

  • Clear rules or targets laid for teachers to do at least one compulsory ‘Experiential Research’ in an academic year. This should be a major potential consideration for their yearly incentives and transfers.
  • An easy-to-access library for children in every school thus creating more opportunities to be a platform to enhance the quality of learning of every student.
  • Train and develop teachers and inspire them to take up experiential research throughout their careers. For this there is a need to have a committee comprising of university professors and officials from the education department which should encourage, train teachers to take up experiential research in their respective schools.
  • Supported by the external organisations like GRAAM, this committee should organise seminars, conferences etc. to develop and strengthen research initiatives so that a teacher can also be a researcher in education and also enhance their own professional growth, in the process supporting their students, schools and community at large.
  • Focus on providing quality education implemented through projects of central and state governments. In state level projects, they recommended building a strong committee at the school level comprising of local teachers, researchers, academicians and educationalists and taking their suggestions by organising meetings and interactions with all stakeholders and disseminating their research findings to prioritize them in the implementation of educational projects.
  • Maintain and share a database of all the innovations and creative development initiatives across all schools.
  • Provide all government schools in the state with the same facilities as provided to Kendriya Vidyalayas (run by the Central Government) and Adarsha Vidyalayas (run by the State Government).
  • Local Panchayats should start evening schools (“Sandhya Shale”) after school hours focused on providing security for school children guided by a mentor under Child Protection Act in every village.
  • Strengthen the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs) to focus on involving teachers, parents and community members more intensely on issues in every school, supported by a supervising committee.
  • For the overall integrated development of every school, teachers should be provided with all facilities as well as motivated and enabled by a constructive atmosphere.
  • A creative and conducive atmosphere in every school to support every child for developing his/her creativity, involving them in all educational activities.

The program started by lighting the auspicious lamp by the Chief Guest of the conference, Mr. B K Basavaraj, Director for Primary Education, Public Instruction Department, Government of Karnataka accompanied by Mr. Manjunath, DDPI of Hassan, Professor G. Rajagopal, Retired Principal, ESL studies department, English and Foreign Language University, Hyderabad, Mysore, Mr. Basavaraju R, Executive Director, GRAAM and Ms. Usha C, Head of the Sugamya Shiksha program in Mysore. The final day concluded with a speech by Dr. R. Balasubramaniam, Founder and Chairman of GRAAM. The Chief Guest of the concluding ceremony was Mr. S J Nagesh, DDPI (Development), Hassan and Mr. Baburaj, Manager, Page Industries, Mysuru and other officials and dignitaries from the Department of Public Instruction as well as academicians from leading universities and educational institutions of Karnataka State.