Harek Rakam Ba

Project Brief: An education mela in Kolkata for children, parents & teachers in govt. (aided) schools & NGOs
Project Type: Educational Experiments (description)
Primary Focus: creating resources (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Seattle
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward:
Project Partner(s): Sujit Sinha
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , ,,Kolkata,
Stewarding Chapter: Seattle
Dec 2006SeattleUSD 2345

Total = $2345

Harek Rokom Ba is a fun filled, activity based education fair for children, teachers and parents. Children will watch films and live performances of various kinds, participate in these performances if they wish to, try out their skills at various activities, listen to stories, create their own stories and take something home to ponder upon and share with other friends. Elders too will enter the world of children, share their experiences, learn and observe with them and remember their childhood days.

The fair will be open to all children, though the activities are being designed for children in the age group 11 to 15 years. Under priviledged children are being specially invited to attend the fair and participate in the activities.

Special workshops for teachers are being designed to help them teach difficult subjects in class, to orient them to the new subjects that have been introduced in the syllabus and also to expose them to alternate pedagogies and teaching methods.

More details and in particular Why we need this mela? + Proposal description

AID-Austin also supported this effort. More details on the AID project page.
Swanirvar, after running its 3 experimental primary schools and Kishor Kishori Bahinis (hands on village development based activity learning with 10-16 year olds) since 1997, has finally started intervening in the local govt school system in North 24 Parganas. Currently some inputs are going into ~100 govt primary schools and 9 govt secondary schools.

Shikshamitra was started in 2005 by Swanirvar with two aims

  1. Run an experimental school to develop an alternative (a 2nd mainstream) urban vocationally oriented secondary curriculum
  2. Run an Education Resource Center (ERC) for secondary education where teachers, headmasters, researchers, parents, educationists, policy makers, innovators, NGOs – all can come, learn, teach, act together. The ERC will act as a conduit to provide quality inputs to secondary education and also create pressures for bringing in several secondary curricula instead of just one now.

When Comet Media Foundation of Mumbai offered us the education mela “Bal Vividha” to organise it in Kolkata, we accepted the offer inspite of our very weak and nebulous urban presence. The reason is that this fits into the aims of Shikshamitra as follows

  • We shall target the Bengali medium govt schools of Kolkata which cater to predominantly the urban slum and lower middle class children. And today their learning achievements are terrible. The overall quality and methods used are so inappropriate. The teachers and students will participate in the mela, learn some new things. More importantly they will get a taste of how different things can be. Hopefully this will lead to a demand for quality inputs. And future “clients” for the ERC.
  • Through this mela, which we have re-christened “Harek Rakam Ba”, we hope to bring together a large number of innovative-resourceful teachers, trainers, other creative persons, institutions who can contribute fresh ideas and quality inputs to secondary education. This networking is one of the essential aims of Shikshamitra. The mela, in one shot, will enable us to do that and also see these persons and institutions in action.
  • For us the REAL work will start once the mela is over. We will utilize all the contacts developed and the demand created to start giving quality inputs to schools on a continuous basis.
Swanirvar started work in 5 villages in the North 24 Parganas district near Calcutta in December 1989. It has always been guided by the philosophy that while development is primarily concerned with people, it must involve the indigenous people of that region. Towards that goal, it started with developing the following broad areas:

  • Education and Health

  • Organization, Leadership, and Planning

  • Appropriate Rural Technology

  • Savings and Income Generation

  • Agriculture

Over the years, its work has spread to 58 villages in 4 blocks (Baduria, Deganga, Swarupnagar, and Basirhat 1) of North 24 Parganas distict, and in additional districts of West Bengal. It was recently nominated to be the District Technical Agency (DTA) to help the government deliver its large scale poverty alleviation program - SWARNAJAYANTI GRAM SWAROZGAR YOJANA (SGSY).