Technology & Learning for Rural Panchayats

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These pictures are from my work with Panchayats in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Panchayats are elected rural governments. They undergo capacity building programmes to be able to carry out their duties. My goal was to transform such classroom based training programmes to be more inclusive and expansive through a technology enabled pedagogical approach.

I devised a methodology and modules* that would foster a peer learning community enabled by technology.  It was achieved through a mentored pedagogical approach and modules titled – ‘The TELPE’ (Technology Enhanced Learning Process Enabler). While inculcating technological and pedagogical skills, the programme simultaneously used the newly acquired competencies to expand collaboration and co-creation. This was a significant achievement for a community that is rich in experience but severely disadvantaged, both materially and educationally.

The TELPE programme created a community of continuous learner-practitioners through planned interventions. This revolutionised the training program into being collaborative, networked and experiential, rather than faculty dependent, top-down and didactic.  Most importantly, the storehouse of experiential knowledge of Panchayat Representatives was made explicit. Perhaps for the  first time in India, websites for panchayat knowledge sharing and advocacy were user-created by rural grassroots learners themselves.  These knowledge products are the websites listed below, created by Panchayat members themselves, mentored by TELPE:

*This capacity building programme was supported by the Local Governance Initiative South Asia (LoGIn) of the Swiss Cooperation Office India (SDC). It was conducted in the Kutch region and Udaipur District of India. The modules titled Prajatantra (Democracy), Adhikar (Rights), Bhavishya (The Future) built an understanding of core concepts and practices in decentralized governance.

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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