From time to time, the nation – and the media – focus on school education, debating such issues as the size of school bags, the dearth of teachers, the lack of infrastructure, and the woeful limits of the reach of formal schools. There is a hue and cry about budgets and privatisation, about where commitment and fi nances should come from. And then, like a subsiding geyser, there is a long lull while our attention is diverted by more entertaining topics. But in those intervening spaces, and in fact along a sustained path, attention continues to be focused and efforts continue to be made to address those frustrating issues that have stymied school education in our country. This issue of Teacher Plus – all 64 pages of it – looks at the diversity of approaches and thinking behind some of these efforts to reform education and educational institutions in our country. We have divided the wide selection of articles into three broad categories. The first, “Re-considering Curriculum”, looks at some of the areas discussed in the National Curriculum Framework 2005, which initiated a major review of the academic and extra-academic inputs provided by school syllabi. The second, “Enabling Education” gathers ideas on how learning environments can be strengthened by making them more inclusive, caring and secure. The third, “Interventions” provides snapshots of some of the many groups around the country that are successfully building alternative spaces for education, and changing existing ones, so that schools become what they are supposed to be – environments that enable learning and empowerment for all.
There are many areas that we do not have the space to address in this collection, but that we recognize are crucial to a child’s development within a broad conception of education – arts and craft, theatre, music, for instance – as well as infrastructural issues such as buildings and technology that could extend the experience of education. But 64 pages can only hold so many ideas. And of course there are more pages to come, with more ideas, in the next issue, and the next! Do let us know what you think can be done to initiate, support and strengthen change in education, and what you think of the ideas and efforts described here.