A brief report on developments in Pune (23-25 Auguste 2013) where TIIGS seeks to expand.
Friday, 23 August 2013
This evening, some students (recent geography interns with TIIGS) and faculty of the Geography Department, Sir Parashurambhau College (SPC), Pune headed by Professor Veena Vishvanath (Head of the Department) met with Ms Charu Doshi (geographer, Research Associate, TIIGS) and Dr Chandra Shekhar Balachandran (geographer, Founder and Director, TIIGS) in a meeting of minds.
- The student interns who worked TIIGS (Bangalore) and TIIGS + Shriram Foundation (Chennai), both online and in person during June and July 2013 were lauded for their work and enthusiasm. We agreed that this relationship must be sustained.
- The National Geography Youth Summit – 2014 (NGYS – 2014) to be held in Bangalore and the roles that the students and faculty of the Department could play in this. In principle, we agreed that there should be some form of collaboration in this. (Like the FaceBook page of NGYS-2014)
- Ms Charu Doshi spoke briefly about the research initiatives that she would be leading at TIIGS and outlined some of the ways in which the students could participate in this.
- It was mentioned that Sri Sunil Ganu (language expert, Communications Associate, TIIGS) would present a module to help geography students of SPC enhance their geography communication skills. We agreed that this would be a useful initiative.
- We also agreed that we should collaborate in any other ways we could to strive for our common goal of improving geography education.
- Dr Manojkumar Devne suggested that TIIGS present a written letter to the Principal of the College expressing interest in signing an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to formalize the relationship between SPC and TIIGS.
- Professor Veena Vishnvanath agreed with this. She also suggested adding a set of specific points on which SPC and TIIGS could collaborate.
Saturday, 24 August 2013
- Geo Bound, the geography students’ group of the Department organized a morning function to formally welcome incoming students to the Department. It was very nice to see the way it was all done – contrary to the ragging (hazing) that one hears about most of the time.
- The letter of intent was shown to the Principal, Dr. Sheth, who agreed to present it to the relevant committee for consideration. He was also optimistic that the committee would look upon it favorably.
- The senior students and the faculty of the Department presented various programs for the incoming students.
- In a later meeting, Dr Devne also suggested creating a portal for geography in India. This is indeed a dire need. This is another project on which we hope SPC and TIIGS will collaborate.
- TIIGS presentations:
- Dr Chandra Shekhar Balachandran – presented an overview of TIIGS and how students of the Department could participate in these.
- Sri Sunil Ganu – spoke briefly about the communications module he will offer. He also invited interested students to attend a strategy meeting the following evening.
Sunday, 25 August 2013
- Strategy meeting to discuss details of the content, pedagogy, and logistics of the communications module to be offered for geography students.
- Thirteen people, including men and women, attended – about 50:50 between Marathi-medium and English-medium students.
- A very lively and enjoyable discussion ensued in which Sri Ganu emphasized that their current facility with English was not to be an issue, but they would have to commit to hard work to derive the benefits of the module.
- Sri Rohan Pawar will be the Course Assistant for the module.
- Some details:
- The classes will commence on Sunday, 15 September 2013 and proceed for 15 consecutive Sundays.
- Each class will last 2 hours.
- Students will be emailed reading materials ahead of time with a time-table.
- For each class, they will come prepared, having read the material.
- In class they will work with the document they have read, go through various exercises, etc.
- They will also use the course to prepare academic papers for one or more forthcoming geography conferences.
- They will keep a journal for the duration of the course and submit a reflective essay at the end of the course to help us improve it.
- Participants who complete the module will receive a certificate from TIIGS. We are hoping that all the students complete the course.
- Students who show progress will be invited to participate in the research proposals and other work at TIIGS that will be led by Ms Charu Doshi.
- Based on the lessons learned in this iteration of the module, a more formal, module will be presented to geography students from all over India beginning 2014.
Monday, 26 August 2013
Meeting with Sri Burse, Principal of New English School (NES), Tilak Road, Pune.
- Sri Suraj Kankatav (alumnus of SPC, currently lecturer in geography at Ferguson College) and Sri Kaivalya Behre (alumnus of NES, current student of SPC) organized the meeting.
- The Principal showed much enthusiasm in setting up a GeoVidyaa Geography Centre at NES, in collaboration with TIIGS.
- TIIGS will provide expertise of various kinds and Sri Suraj and Sri Kaivalya (along with other peers) will provide English materials in Marathi.
- A letter of intent has been submitted to Sri Burse for him to get necessary approvals.
At TIIGS, we all hope that these initiatives will go forward and that in-depth collaborations will materialize. This would be a win-win for all stakeholders. It would also be a significant contribution to 21st century geography education in India.