Monday, April 3, 2023

JMI organises Interactive Session on Pandemic, Education of the Marginalised Children and the Role of Creativity

 The pandemic had left a devastating impact on the education of children from the margins. The interactive session organized by the Department of Social Work, Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) and Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education was an effort towards deliberating on this issue and to understand the role of creativity in building resilience among children in such challenging times. The session, coordinated by Dr. Rashmi Jain, Student Advisor was held on March 29, 2023 in the Seminar Room of the Department of Social Work, JMI.  The session stems from the efforts of the Department of Social Work, JMI,  to engage in collaborative learning with field practitioners.

Prof. Neelam Sukhramani, Head, Department of Social Work, while introducing the theme for the session called on the participants to ponder on the questions related to the meaning of education, the purpose of education and the acquisition of education. She urged the participants to delve on these questions beyond the conventionally defined perimeters. The thrust of the New Education Policy, 2020 on cultivating creativity, intellectual curiosity and spirit of service in young people, also stands in alignment with this thought.

The first part of the session saw two alumni of the Department of Social Work, JMI, Ms. Hadeeqat ul Yesrib and Mr. Vipul Kumar Jha sharing the findings from their master’s dissertation pertaining to the impact of the pandemic on education. Ms. Hadeeqat’s research focused on the social and educational life of children living in prolonged lockdown in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir and Mr. Vipul Kumar Jha had examined the access to online learning platforms and the opportunities that arose therefrom. Based on the findings, he also emphasized the need to make the online learning more experiential through the use of various apps.

The context having been set through the research presentations, Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education explained the philosophy that guides their work. The team from Ankur, Ms. Sharmila Bhagat, Mr. Yajuvendra Nagar and Ms. Rishika shared their work which revolved around making children think critically and making education a tool for empowering children. Education as a process for building confidence within children and enabling them to navigate their social reality, was emphasized.

Ankur works in socio-economically marginalized communities where they make children recognize their personhood beyond the problems. Children write stories about their community, narrate them through various mediums and experience a feeling of empowerment. They begin to look at the place where they live with respect and not with shame. The Ankur team also shared their experiences of writing catapulted children to think, contemplate and becoming a source of strength. When children are posed with open ended questions, they are stimulated to engage in divergent thinking. The perspective of the community towards children gets altered as a result of the stories written by children-the environment becomes more respectful to their endeavors.

The participants greatly appreciated the initiatives towards stimulating divergent thinking within children, the books that have been published containing the stories of children, the effort to use various art forms with children and the attempt to provide platforms for children to work collaboratively.

The session ended with Dr. Rashmi Jain expressing the department’s gratitude to JMI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Najma Akhtar (Padma shri)  for her support and keen interest in the theme of the session, to the alumni, students and faculty members who took keen interest through the entire course of the session and raised critical questions, to the Ankur team and to all others who had helped with the organization of the program.


Public Relations Office

Jamia Millia Islamia

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