First Memorial Lecture

The First Memorial Lecture of the series, was initiated on ‘Learning Crisis in India’s School Education’ by Vimala Ramchandran. The lecture took place on Monday, 10 March 2014 at Indira Gandhi Pratisthan.

Vimala Ramchandran, Professor, National University for Education Planning and Administration has been working on elementary education, girl’s education and women empowerment. Vimala Ramchandran has published extensively on education policy and practice, gender issues and Women empowerment. She chaired the Government of India Committee to develop Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishments in Schools.

A large number of educationists Principals, teachers and Researchers associated with school education in the city attended the Memorial Lecture. Dr. Rakesh Chandra, Professor of Philosophy, Lucknow University, and a well known public intellectual chaired the lecture.

Delivering the lecture, Prof. Vimala Ramchandran, drew attention to the need to focus on what happens inside the schools and the classrooms rather than just creating more schools. Creating new schools is just not sufficient, she said.

Based upon her observation, that primary education in India has reached a crisis point and the learning crisis is manifesting in children not able to read with comprehension, or children read but not able to understand what they read; children not able to comprehend what they read; they do not have an understanding of basic mathematical concepts and they are not able to understand and apply the basic concepts in science and social science.

Pointing to the solution, she identified, the need to bring about a change in the attitude and prejudices of teachers and not restricting teaching to just curriculum. She said, it was critical to move away from rote learning and memorisation and reproducing what is memorised. Reducing teacher absence and improving basic teaching-learning facilities and creating a conductive environment for learning were other significant challenges, that she identified.