Sensitising the Disadvantaged Groups through Participatory Approaches: IGNOU’s Experiences in Madhya Pradesh (India)
Madhya Pradesh is home to sizeable proportion of Socio Economically Disadvantaged population of India. Human Development Index of the state is 0.375 which depicts poor socioeconomic conditions. Infant Mortality Rates in some of the areas of the state have been compared to the Sub-Saharan countries as per the World Bank Report titled “India: Achievement and Challenges in Reducing Poverty” It depicts a challenging situation and calls for massive Educational Upliftment of the people working in rural and tribal areas. Government of India has sincerely prioritized these issues through successive five year plans, however the situation on the ground leaves a lot to be desired. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have placed renewed emphasis on the capacity building of these communities. India Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which is the biggest role player of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in India has a mandate to bring such disadvantaged groups in to fold of Higher Education. However it has been a challenging job from several points of views as most of the target groups requiring immediate attention are too vulnerable, poorly capacitated to adopt new practices and nearly cut off from the urban centred educational facilities. The areas inhabiting such communities have low penetration of Newspapers, TV or Radios and ODL systems with their paradigmatically different ways of teaching learning are yet to take roots in these areas. It has been a big challenge for IGNOU to reach out to such Disadvantaged Communities, sensitize them through suitable Confidence Building Measures and involve them in the ODL Programmes to strengthen their livelihoods. Despite various initiatives taken up by ministry and other institutions, there is a vacuum of information among the disadvantaged communities. It is now well realised and understood that capacity building systems for such target groups need to be radically different from “Business as Usual Approach”. Authors of this paper have the experience of working for the Promotion, Monitoring and Supervision of ODL programmes in these areas. During 2012-13 a series of “Out of Box Approaches” were initiated by the authors for sensitising these communities. Results have been overwhelming with sizeable participation of people from disadvantaged communities. This paper highlights such new participatory approaches to sensitise the communities and results of such interventions. The paper has been divided in to Four Parts. Part-I describes the socio economic conditions of these areas and the constraints by the people in accessing information. Part-II describes the Confidence Building Measures like “Khula Manch” [Open Interactive Sessions with Community] initiated by the IGNOU Regional Centre Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and the response of the communities for such interventions. Part-III describes the initiatives taken by the Regional Centre to sensitise Slum Dwellers in Bhopal. This section also highlights Academic Support Services extended to Slum Dwellers in Slum Areas and the results of such interventions. Part –IV describes the experiences of joint initiatives with “Village Panchayats” in rural areas of District –Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh and lastly Part-V describes overall Conclusions and Recommendations.
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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)
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