An aim implies an orderly and ordered activity, one in which the order consists in the progressive completing of a process.

~ Dewey, J. (2007). Aims in Education. Democracy and education (p. 79).

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Hechinger Report | Math education at home and abroad

An interesting article about teaching Maths around the world. The Indian example is missing (for obvious reasons), but it has a few interesting facts on how Maths is taught in the US.

“But if the key to high math achievement isn’t a particular pedagogical approach, what is the answer? William Schmidt, an expert on math education at Michigan State University, has identified three issues: the coherence and depth of the curriculum, the quality of assessments and the content knowledge of teachers.” (Via Hechinger Report | Math education at home and abroad)

It is interesting to note that many in India are advocating against the rigour of teaching that has pervaded the Indian education system for a while now. Perhaps it is worthwhile to see, if we are trying to fix something that has worked for us.

The First Day…

…so to speak, for my Masters course at IGNOU.

Before I talk about the experience at IGNOU’s Mumbai Regional Centre, I must say something. I have been generally tracking the stuff that IGNOU has been doing and I have an immense respect for the organisation. There will be many posts in this category that will be critical of the processes, experiences as a student, and of the organisation in general. This however, is not to negate or belittle the effort of all the folks at IGNOU.

It is hopefully a form of feedback to IGNOU, at worst, a pure statement of what I experienced.

Back to the first day, or rather Day -2. I call up the Regional Centre, for two days, before I do get through. I say that I was told that we would get the course material by July 15th, and it’s three weeks since, and we haven’t received any intimation regarding the I-card or the course material. I am told by the quite polite lady on the other side, that the material has arrived, and we could pick up the material if we want to. I ask her, if they will be posting it to me, as was planned and expected. She acknowledges, but isn’t willing to commit the time, when it would be dispatched.

I have no idea of the schedule of either the contact centres or the exam dates, so I decide to collect the material myself. I am warned, that I will have to come in person to collect the I-Card and the course material. If I’d like someone else to pick up the material for me, I’ll have to issue an authority letter; but for the I-Card, no go. I need to be present.

IGNOU Course Material

I went today, and collected my I-Card and the course material. The entire material for the year is handed to me, about 25 slim journal-like books. Exam schedule will be sent to me I am told. When I ask about the schedule of the contact classes, I am redirected to speak with the Study Centre, a couple of suburbs away. No contact number given there. I’ll have to search for it, it seems. I relate all this to a typical government office function. But I also see the level that overwhelms them. There are about six-seven staff members (it’s not crowded), dwarfed by the material that surrounds them.

Having been exposed to and implemented process improvements at my workplace, I wonder what stops such an organisation from implementing some basic improvements. I am nearing disgust at the lack of information and the vagueness of the replies.

I look back at the heap of manual labour that these folks have to implement. I ask my disgust to disappear. I cannot be an audience to this, I am now a part of the system, I tell myself, as a stamp smudges my photo on the I-Card, and is handed over to me.

I’ll have to look at all this in a different way.