TIIGS partnerships develop GeoVidya Geography Centres (GVGCs): A growing movement for geography education for 21st century India
Geography education is getting more and more exciting!
Small steps have begun with the potential and vision to grow into a healthy movement that can benefit our students and teachers. This will help them become empowered, enlightened, and important participants in the world around them and beyond.
Since 2000, The Indian Institute of Geographical Studies (TIIGS) has been endeavoring to influence geography education at school level in both the state and central syllabi. This has been in the form of workshops and other activities for teachers and students, interventions at different systemic levels, and working with school managements to introduce small changes in long-term geography education.
These have borne promising results thus far.
GeoVidyaa Geography Centre of Excellence (GVGCE) – Bangalore:
In 2010, Mrs Manjula Raman, Principal, Army Public School (APS), Kamaraj Road, Bangalore took great interest in TIIGS’s geography education of a different kind – one that makes geography relevant, exciting, and enjoyable for students, connecting geography not only to their own lives but to other subjects they are learning in school. This led to the partnership between TIIGS and APS to establish the GVGCE at the APS campus in October 2010. Since then, we have had many workshops there for teachers and students from APS and many different places.
GeoVidya Geography Centre (GVGC) – Chamarajanagara:
In 2012, during a workshop for geography teachers at Deenabandhu Higher Primary School, Chamarajanagara, Karnataka (run by Deenabandhu Trust), teachers there expressed interest in having more systematized
geography education activities for teachers and students of that district. These discussions have led to the starting of a GeoVidya GVGC at their teachers’ resource centre on 19 February 2013 with a geography workshop for teachers from Chamarajanagara and Mysore.
On 20 February 2013, there was a 2-hour interaction with students of class 7 where they learned interesting things about what an atlas has and how to find information in an atlas. They also learned how geometry and geography are connected in maps and how places occur in a hierarchy. Those were 2 hours of utter joy, excitement, and learning for the students, their teachers, and the presenter!
The leading teacher in this effort is Mr B Raghu at the Deenabandhu Higher Primary School.
GVGC – Chamarajanagara has many materials related to geography education that teachers there have developed. It’s all very impressive. TIIGS is very keen to help develop this into a fully equipped and growing hub of geography education in the region.
GeoVidya Geography Centre (GVGC) – Thiruneermalai:
On 22 February 2013, TIIGS, Relief Foundation, and Shriram Matriculation School, Thiruneermalai, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu began work on establishing a GVGC at that school. This GVGC is starting from scratch in a hall with about 7 m x 10 m of floor space. Materials are now being designed and acquired for this GVGC that is expected to start its activities in the new academic year coming up.
The drive and enthusiasm that started, and continues, this effort comes from Ms Vidya Shankar (Founder, Relief Foundation), an ardent Montessorian and geography enthusiast.
Several student interns will be involved in the development of this GVGC. Students and teachers from schools in the region will get many opportunities to learn not only geography, but also get interdisciplinary education using geography as an integrating discipline.
Vision for the future of GVGCs:
Our hope is to evolve these GVGCs and to replicate them in many locations around the country, each locally run and serving its region.
TIIGS and partner organizations will soon begin efforts to raise funds for equipping these GVGCs and get them operational. Our hope is to empower each GVGC to become self-sufficient within about three years.
The result will be a network of GVGCs pooling talents and resources with TIIGS and partner organizations helping with larger tasks (e.g., large-size resource development).
How you can help:
No matter where you are in the world, you can join in this effort in many ways: donations in cash and kind, pro bono work through volunteering, and so on. To find out how you can be part of this exciting effort, please learn more about TIIGS’s work. Then, contact us from this site.