English for Rural Development: Providing Proficiency in English to Rural Youth
- Written by Sarika Khurana
India is one of the developing countries that has been contributing in large measure to migration of people to foreign countries, particularly the developed West, and Punjab is one of the States that stands ahead of others in this respect. It is estimated that there are about 1.5 million Punjabis in Europe and North America from Punjab’s Doaba region alone. Among these, many are now well-off in business and other professions and have earned a name for themselves in the host country. A large majority of these migrants is from the rural areas. In fact, migration from rural areas of Punjab to West goes on vigorously if the number of candidates from rural areas appearing in International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and in similar other tests of English, is any indication.1 Cambridge IELTS is conducted by the British Council and the IDP Australia for the benefit of those seeking to go abroad. As proficiency in English happens to be an essential requirement for issue of visa, even a student visa, a large number of candidates appear in these tests of English with a view of going abroad.
- Written by Kirti Kapur
Two decades ago, the UNESCO supported World Conference on Special Needs education led to the creation of the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education. The key premise of the action plan was to encourage schools to “accommodate all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions.” The statement further states that children who are “disabled… and…from other disadvantaged or marginalised areas or groups” need to be catered to by the school system (Salamanca Framework, 1994). Inclusive education is thus an umbrella term that encompasses educational practices across institutions that are sensitive and responsive to diverse populations of children.
In the Indian context, policies on Education (NPE 1968, NPE 1986, POA-1992 etc) have spoken about how ‘integration’ can be a means to ensure inclusiveness in the school system. The challenge however remains in shifting the onus from the parents and the child to make her/him fit in to making an unchanging school system more dynamic. Creating a community of acceptance is perhaps of foremost relevance then when we talk of inclusiveness in education. The following paper therefore will present analyses and approaches to inclusive education using the following working definition - “Inclusive education is the pairing of philosophy and pedagogical practices that allow each student to feel respected, confident and safe so he or she can learn and develop to his or her full potential.” (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development-Canada 2014) The paper will also examine how education can be made more effective for students with disabilities especially in an English language classroom.
Making Evaluation Authentic
- Written by Mukti Sanyal
* Article first published in Fortell, September 2011 issue.
Thirty-two years of teaching English tells me that one of the only ways of making testing interesting and relevant is by making it an authentic activity and an integral part of the students’ learning programme. This is especially important for teaching and testing at the under-graduate level. Students at this stage have already had twelve years taking formal testing and most have mastered the art of cracking and passing exams without necessarily learning anything valuable or significant. They are oriented to the system well enough to know that memorizing from guidebooks or kunjis is a sure route to success while for the reckless or the adventurous, cheating from slips of papers tucked away into shoes or blouses or attempting to send in proxy candidates are attemptable options. It is against this mindless taking of tests and examinations that I see value in what I wish to share.
The University of Delhi has thankfully made space for Internal Assessment from 2007 with 15 marks being allotted for Project/Seminar, etc. and 5 marks for Assignment (besides 10 marks for Home Exams and 5 marks for Attendance). It is in the space available for Projects and Assignments that I experiment with interactive, learning-oriented evaluation procedures.