Access and Quality in Self Organized Learning Environments
Learning Environments in remote areas: // Almost no one in the world will deny that children need to have access to meaningful learning experiences if they are to truly gain from these experiences and go beyond rote memorization for the sake of passing an examination without understanding the concepts involved. This concern becomes even more critical in disadvantaged and remote settings, where it is even harder to find ‘good’ teachers and schools. // Typically, remoteness is understood in geographical terms. The focus is often on distances from city and urban centres with the corollary assumption that these settings are far from the resources, services, facilities that one has come to associate with urban life. However, in the context of the current effort of Self Organized Learning Environments [SOLEs] and its basis, the Hole in the Wall [HiW] the concept of remoteness and thence access, goes way beyond simple geographical distance from an urban setting. Remoteness is understood to exist in resource poor, underprivileged, economically and socially deprived sections of society. Many of these exist within the heart of the city, in slums, or other areas where freedom of movement, of interaction, of choice, of thought, and therefore access, is often dictated by stringent social norms. All these aspects have implications for the quality of educational facilities available to children as well as the manner of participation in learning that is possible on part of the children. Even in these locations in the midst of the city, ‘good’, trained teachers are hard to come by, since neither the salary that can be given to them, nor the setting in which they would have to work, make this an appealing proposition. The quality of education naturally suffers. [Mitra, Dangwal, Thadani 2008] // Yet the need to provide children with quality education remains a prime concern.
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