Technology & Learning for Rural Panchayats

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The pictures above are from my work with Panchayats – rural local governments – in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, to technology enhance conventional classroom training programs.

The programme supported by the Local Governance Initiative South Asia (LoGIn) of the Swiss Cooperation Office India (SDC) was conducted in the Kutch region and Udaipur District (India).  It targeted Elected Representatives to Rural Local Government (Panchayats), grassroots level activists and NGO workers. The classroom training modules of the whole program were titled Prajatantra (Democracy), Adhikar (Rights), Bhavishya (The future).   It built an understanding of core concepts and practices in decentralization, through a novel technology enabled pedagogical approach. The pedagogy extended the benefits of the classroom training to further build an experiential peer learning community, outside the classroom, between modules and beyond.  It virtualised through social networking, remote conferencing and user created e-publishing. This revolutionised the training program as it turned collaborative, networked and experiential.  Importantly it  harnessed learner  generated content.

Fundamental to achieving this was the design of a mentored pedagogical approach through Technology Enhanced Learning Process Enabler (TELPE) modules.  These focused on creating a cadre of  NGO activists to scale up to rural government representatives.   It enabled the programme to reach out and vigorously engage with larger numbers than the classroom could accommodate.

Perhaps for the  first time in India, websites for knowledge sharing and advocacy were created by grassroots learners themselves, whose capacities to do so were built during the program.  These knowledge products from the learning program are listed below:

The experience of building a complex pedagogical integration of technology into learning process is described in the paper below.


The TELPE: Technology enabling rural governance training in India

Parimala Inamdar
Aquarians Management Consultancy (P) Ltd, Mumbai, India
This contribution describes the design of an innovation in pedagogical approach, enabled by technology, for a course targeted to elected representatives of rural government in India. The course titled ‘Decentralization to Local Governments’ was conducted in the rural Kutch District of Gujarat State in India through multiple modules. The content of the course focused on concepts and practices of decentralized governance. Learners in these areas face socio-economic and formal education deprivation but are rich in their experiential knowledge and indigenous cultures. An innovative multi-modal program design called ‘TELPE’ was deployed to enable local governance learning to extend beyond the classroom and capture experience, through technology. The use of technology with its associated pedagogical practices created networks of remote rural learner-practitioners. It built communities and enhanced collaboration, sharing and publishing of experiential knowledge, thereby creating a larger learning experience beyond
the classroom


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