DIMENSIONS OF MANIFESTO OF GLOBAL EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATION (GERA)
While attempting to have a manifesto of Global Education Research Association (GERA) we have to look into its dimensions which we perceive as What, Why and How (W W H) of these eight aspects namely Identifying Collective Wisdom, Propagating F.I.N.E Model, Transcending Existing Boundaries, Integrating Educational Domains., Blending Preferred Methodology, Unifying Global Researchers, Disseminating Research Outcomes and Accommodating stake holders. These are well linked in the order mentioned.. Following is the discussion of these aspects which could be considered as dimensions of GERA
Identifying Collective Wisdom
Wisdom might involve knowledge but is beyond knowledge. It can be thought of as an ability to apply knowledge appropriately in a given situation (Dr. Sadashivrao Chaugule). It can be thought of as an ability to do systems thinking. It can be considered as a state of mind that results when a person is free from ego and prejudices so that the person can view things in a broader perspective for action or decision making. Philosophically speaking it is a blissful state of mind which involves equilibrium of mental processes celebrated as sthita pragnya as mentioned in Bhagavat Geeta . Collective Wisdom can be considered as the wisdom that is generated in a group as a result of interaction among members of the group. This interaction would involve sharing information, knowledge, views, ideas etc by group members during group activities such as dialogue. This collective wisdom is practical in nature in the sense it is capable of being actually applied in a given situation for action or decision making. The group is expected to arrive at consensus on a given issue.
In another sense collective wisdom can also be viewed as that which has impact on every member of the group may be differentially. Rigidity associated with formal education does not help in the process of building collective wisdom. Much more provision for interaction and sharing is needed. So we have to have a model suited for this- the F.I.N.E model.
Propagating F.I.N.E Model
We have Formal, Informal, Non-formal modes of providing Education. These modes can be thought of as differing in respect of constraints of time, place and content. Education can be said to be in the Formal mode when it is imparted in a specified place e.g. school, in a specified time schedule called the time table and covering a fixed content for achieving specified objectives set to achieve a pre decided goal –course content or syllabi.. This largely takes place in school and college education set up that is in vogue with certification at different stages on the basis of suitable evaluation process like examinations which involve assessments of the achievements. This mode is marked by the highest level of rigidity of the system Diametrically opposite to this is the Informal Mode in which Education takes place in the absence of the constraints mentioned above and in a natural environ. When the child learns from parents, other family members, peer group etc with no specification of place and time, with no pre set content- but may be with checks by parents or elders that the child is on the right path- it is informal learning resulting in informal education. Children and adults alike receive informal education inadvertently without any conscious efforts in a continuous way. Evaluation is implicit in the process which is largely self regulatory. Informal mode is marked by highest level of flexibility. Non Formal mode: is considered by many as the Education process with reduced level of rigidity than in the formal mode and with increased level of rigidity ( that is reduced level of flexibility) than in the informal mode. In other words if we consider a continuum from the Informal mode to the Formal mode in respect of levels rigidity or flexibility, the middle path would be the Non –Formal mode. One can also think of Non –Formal mode (as it is in vogue now) as that with relaxation of the restraints of place and time schedules but not with objectives, contents and Evaluation (involving examinations and assessments) leading to certification. F.I.N.E model involves an eclectic approach in use of all the three modes in an integrated way in learning situations and hence in the process of Holistic Education. Provision for Informal mode and Non- Formal mode can be made during Formal mode. Learning environment can be created for children outside teaching hours and outside class rooms so that learning takes place all the time sans any regimentation. We can have a proper blending of Formal, Informal and Non Formal modes. If teachers can work with vision and zeal it is possible to have no time table days in schools during which children learn all that and even much more than what they would learn with rigid time tables.
Transcending Existing Boundaries
It can be said that learning process is the best in localized set up, using local resources. However wisdom which is the outcome of learning is beyond the local set up and beyond the boundaries of country, regions, religions, nationality and is not limited by the planet earth that we live in and the universe in which that planet is situated. The concept of GER mentioned at the start is related to search for truth which is celebrated as Satyam,Shivam, Sundaram – the truth which has unlimited good and is beautiful. . It is beyond cognitive domain –that of mere knowledge, knowhow and skills. It involves spirituality and feelings. The conflicts, clashes ,destruction, genocides et al that disturb peace and cause serious damage to human life and nature are due to compartmentalization of knowledge and predominant emphasis on economic growth in a competitive environ in utter disregard of humanism. GERA seeks to overcome this.. Educationists and HR experts often point out that our education system does not provide enough scope for ‘Training to think’ as compared to acquisition of knowledge and information in various fields. Interactive sessions like dialogue would immensely help as they provide scope for training to listen to others and direct one’s thinking in the light of what is listened to and seek to modify one’s mental model. John Dewey, Peter Sange, J.Krishnamoorthy, David Bohm and all have been advocating this. ‘Think globally and act locally’ is a useful slogan. We can surely think about its truth value. Our learning systems ought to promote appreciation of good in everything. Advocating localization in providing learning experiences to children does not clash with the need of global awareness and that of gaining sense of universal good.
Integrating Educational Domains
Our Education system seemingly lays undue stress on cognitive domain. GER requires inclusiveness of all the domains- cognitive, affective, psychomotor and spiritual. The last one spiritual added here does not have anything to do with the concept or belief in soul but deals with the spirit of living- zeal for universal brotherhood, universal ethical principles, love for nature, humanism, green earth and all. One may consider this as included in affective domain.. These domains go hand in hand and are concurrent. GER aims at Truth, Good and Beauty acclaimed as satyam, shivam and sundaram. This is possible with all the domains properly catered to. As one gains knowledge and understanding of anything one should have the feel of the same, experience a thrill or bliss, have concern for humanity, environment and green earth in relation to the use of that knowledge or understanding. The play activities do promote positive approach to life in learners. Physical activities combined with dialogue sessions would do immense good.
Blending Preferred Methodology
We have usually controlled quantitative kind research. In the field of literature we have comparative or critical appraisal kind research seeking internal and external evidences for one’s contentions regarding a piece of literary work. With advancement in ICT information becomes readily available on the web sites at the click of the button. In social sciences we have the normative survey research involving statistical techniques simple as well as complex with ready packages available (though some researchers might use such packages without understanding the real significance of aspects involved). Recent trend is to promote qualitative, epistemological and case study kind researches. A paradigm shift is advocated for switching over to qualitative, micro level, localized and case study kind research..These become more meaningful to the researcher as they bear direct relation to the felt need and throw light on certain phenomenon that is readily seen to occur and readily sensed. Such research arouses curiosity in further search for truth with complete mind involvement of the researcher in that pursuit for truth. Sensing the presence of a phenomenon is important for mind involvement. This might appear to be contradictory to the term global used in GER. Outcomes of large scale quantitative research lack in applicability to local conditions. Generalization is least important and can wait. But this does not mean that one should remain forever ignorant of the phenomena occurring elsewhere. Grass root level research should be promoted and encouraged as they are the results of research situations that naturally arise in work/learning situations. Mega research can be on the phenomena that come to light as a result of micro level qualitative research. Who can be researchers? In GER concept all are-individuals, Associations, Organizations-Governmental as well as Non Governmental .
Unifying Global Researchers
All stake holders can be researchers-individuals, associations, governmental and non- governmental organizations each having their own purpose. But main purpose of research is search for truth which would promote collective wisdom- aim of GERA: The spectrum of phenomena that come to light by pursuing research situations that arise naturally in one’s own work at grass root level might be lost if research is done only by research professionals. Such spectrum might throw some light on the underlying truth and help in building up collective wisdom- the ultimate purpose of GERA. We should go in for collective research. : We should provide encouragement to pursuit of research situations that arise at grass root level. Opportunities should be provided for sharing of experiences of such pursuit of research situations..Outcomes of such pursuit of phenomenological research should reach others through sharing. This requires appropriate process of dissemination of research.
Disseminating Research Outcomes
As of now, the dissemination of research is sought to be achieved mainly through paper presentations in mono linear mode in seminars and conferences and through publication of research papers in journals. The alternative is sharing through ‘dialogue’- This is gaining momentum and in several seminars paper presentation is through the dialogue mode. Meaningful sharing can also be achieved through poster presentation. However the dialogue mode would provide for deeper mind involvement of the participants. The mono linear mode has lately become ritualistic with seemingly reduced mind involvement of the participants. Participants find it difficult to concentrate and absorb the contents of papers presented due to monotonous presentations. Publication of papers poses several difficulties due to imposed rules of format etc and all research papers do not get shared by publication. Also there is a recent practice of charging publication fee in contrast to the erstwhile practice of paying suitable remuneration to the author for their contributions. In depth sharing is observed to take place through dialogue mode where participants do collective thinking to arrive at ‘we finding’ and ‘our recommendation’.In the dialogue mode there is provision for immediate queries for immediate clarification and also for compare-contrast-create in the light of contents of the papers shared in cycles. Participants can be divided into groups and sessions of dialogue and re-dialogue can be carried out. Spoke persons of the groups can present the gist of group experience, we findings, and collective recommendations to the larger audience. Suitable provisions can be made for regrouping as many times possible and for dialogue in the new groups. Efforts can be made to create a holistic picture of the outcomes. Such picture would be of immense benefit to all.-children in their development, parents who will have continued existence in their children, teachers who facilitate such development, managers that provide the infrastructure and facilities, citizens who constitute the welfare society that functions in harmony with the nature. All these constitute the stake holders and partners in GER
Accommodating Stake Holders
Children, Parents, Teachers, Managers and Citizens are stake holders and beneficiaries of GER. They are partners as they participate in GER. Children become citizens of welfare society and citizens would have continued existence in children in a welfare society which is dynamic and is endowed with stability as well as progress passing through the phase of enculturation and acculturation with education performing its conservative and cultural role appropriately in a balanced way..Stake Holders function as Learning Community -a concept that was greatly expounded and used by Prof Manabu Sato of Japan as revealed in his paper published in the 2008 December issue of AIAER journal. Prof Sato has described how schools that were considered as backward excelled the top grade élite schools sans provision of funds from Government and other agencies merely by working with the spirit of Learning Community constituted of children, parents, teachers and citizens. Collective Wisdom in the stake holders provided the required strength obviously.
GERA aims at development of collective wisdom through meaningful sharing of qualitative spontaneous and continuous research which seeks Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram –truth that is conducive to global well being and hence beautiful and this for all round development of truly welfare society that would be in harmony with nature. Coexistence, Tolerance, Brotherhood and Creation would be the essential features of such society. Gandhian thoughts mainly involving the key concepts of truth and nonviolence acquire great relevance in this regard. The Dimensions as perceived by us and discussed above would greatly serve as manifesto for the concept of GERA
While attempting to have a manifesto of Global Education Research Association (GERA) we have to look into its dimensions which we perceive as What, Why and How (W W H) of these eight aspects namely Identifying Collective Wisdom, Propagating F.I.N.E Model, Transcending Existing Boundaries, Integrating Educational Domains., Blending Preferred Methodology, Unifying Global Researchers, Disseminating Research Outcomes and Accommodating stake holders.