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Prashika - Prathamik Shiksha Karyakram

The primary education project, known as the Prashika (Prathamik Shiksha Karyakram), was begun in 1983 and a curriculum for Class I to V was evolved from 1986 to 1992, after conducting a series of sociolinguistic and mathematical tests and surveys in the field area.

The curriculum took into account current thought and theories on various aspects of education: child development, language learning, mathematical abilities, etc and was phased in a sequential manner on a hierarchy derived from a Piagetian framework of development of logical and mathematical abilities.

It also took into account the socio-economic conditions and cultural traditions of the learners, the local environment and the physical and administrative conditions of schools.

The initial fieldwork was done in Shahpur block of Betul district and some schools in Harda and a pilot project was taken up in 1987 in seven schools – four in Shahpur and three in Harda. The number of schools was increased to 25 in 1989.

The programme was taken up for trialling in all the schools of Shahpur block under the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) of the Rajiv Gandhi Prathamik Shiksha Mission (RGPSM) of Madhya Pradesh in 1995.

From 1996 to 1999, the learnings from this trial, as well as a parallel trial conducted by the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT), were used to develop the RGPSM’s Seekhna Sikhana curricular package for primary education.

Subsequently, a single primary school curricular package for the entire state was evolved from the Seekhna Sikhana package and the curriculum developed for the ‘alternative’ primary schools opened by the Madhya Pradesh government under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS).
This closed the door on any further expansion of the Prashika and the programme was closed down in Shahpur in 2001, with the adoption of the Seekhna Sikhana package in the block. Thus, the Prashika was the first of Eklavya’s programmes to complete the cycle from a micro-level pilot project (1986-92) to a macro-level programme implemented at a block level (1995-2001) that was eventually merged into the government school system (2000-01) at the state level.
However, Eklavya felt that the innovative path opened up by the Prashika needed to be explored further and it took up two new initiatives to sustain this momentum of further developing and adapting the teaching-learning materials created till now and providing fresh innovative inputs into primary education. The first was the establishment of Shiksha Protsahan Kendras (SPKs) in Shahpur block in 1999 and the second was the setting up of the Bhopal Education Resource Centre (BERC) in 2000.

The community based SPKs are rooted in a rural tribal context and are usually run in the village school itself with a community appointed facilitator. They seek to help first generation learners who find it difficult to cope with the school curriculum.

The BERC is an urban-based educational resource centre for primary and pre-primary education, with a resource-cum-reference library for young readers. It has taken up the task of encouraging primary schools in Bhopal to introduce creative activities to catalyse the reading, writing and expression skills of the students, through the production of wall newspapers and by revitalising their libraries. In also runs libraries in communities.

Subsequently, a Basic Abilities Programme was also initiated in some middle schools of Babai block in Hoshangabad in 2003. This programme, which invites voluntary participation of teachers and schools, uses materials and methodologies similar to those developed by the Prashika to improve the reading, writing and mathematical abilities of students at the primary and middle school levels.

In 2004, a fresh thrust was also undertaken in Indore as part of the teacher development initiative of the Indore Teacher Resource Centre to improve the abilities of primary school teachers in language and mathematics.

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