The GINTL India coordination from University of Jyväskylä, together with University of Helsinki, completed a 5-day visit to India on 19-23 September 2022. Our 10-member delegation visited several key organisations in Delhi, Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Uttarakhand. The aims of the visit included raising awareness of the GINTL network and its activities, and furthering existing and new partnerships for co-created projects. Together with our hosts, we learned more about each other and our contexts.
In Delhi, meetings with the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT), teacher education colleges of Delhi university, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), and State Council for Education, Research and Training (SCERT) led to discussions on the ongoing educational planning for school curriculum and teacher training; integration of technology into classrooms and learning materials; pre-service teacher education practices; and areas of research on K-12 and higher education in India. Situated within educational discourses evolving in India, especially with respect to the National Education Policy, 2020, these discussions led to a more informed view on the need and ways to support and engage with teacher educators, teacher trainees, research scholars, educational and research institutions, and universities.
Together with Nordic Center in India, GINTL India coordination organised an Academic afternoon on theme ‘Intercultural Perspectives: Preparing Teachers for Future Generations’ with Finnish and Indian speakers. The event brought together over 40 participants from nearly 10 different organisations within Delhi. It provided a great opportunity to GINTL network to interact and engage with Indian academics.
At Azim Premji University, located at the outskirts of the city of Bengaluru in southern India, conversations revolved around the urgent need to invest in public education, including capacity building of pre- as well as in-service teachers. Azim Premji University, along with its supporting organization, Azim Premji Foundation, strives to improve the quality of education at all levels across India. A set of “demonstration schools” run by APF provide good quality education at costs and constraints like that of rural government schools. The setting up of these schools also contributes to a groundswell of demand for quality.
A few delegation members extended their stay to visit rural primary schools in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, further north from Delhi, as a part of an ongoing school development project in collaboration with Simple Education Foundation (SEF) in India. The development work extends to five villages, each of which has its own primary school. The delegation interacted with teachers, SEF members, children and their families to understand the current and most urgent needs of the school communities.
The delegation also witnessed an increased interest from the partners in learning about early childhood education, pre-service teacher education, in-service teacher training, conduct of assessments and classroom instruction K-12, as well as research methodologies. Having learned more about areas of interest, and strengths and needs of partners, the delegation has advanced its efforts to shape collaborative projects more meaningfully and identified pathways to form and drive partnerships with more rigour. Furthermore, deliberations and learnings emerging from the discussions have enabled GINTL team’s capacity as a partner to educational organisations in India.
Enabled by these experiences, in near term, GINTL coordination team is looking forward to hosting a group of educators and researchers from NCERT in collaboration with the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) to work towards research collaboration on early childhood education, vocational education, educational leadership, and inclusive education. Additionally, GINTL coordination at JYU will be holding a winter school for students from India and Finland on supporting teachers’ and students’ social and emotional skills, on which the applications will begin in November 2022. Furthermore, a webinar on Contemporary Research on Digital Education in Finland and India will be organised next month to promote knowledge exchange between educators and researchers in India and Finland.