An Interview with Mohit Puri : Book on Elementary Education in India

Apr 2, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) I understand that you have just completed a book on elementary education. What is the exact title and how did this come about?

The exact Title of the book is “Elementary Education”. I got the idea to edit this book because my Ph.D. research is going to be on Elementary Education

2) How many chapters are included?

There are twenty six research papers and articles which have been included in this book. These are listed below:

  1. A Passion For Teaching —- Dr. Michael F. Shaughnessy and Bill Gaedke
  2. Public Expenditure on Elementary Education in Punjab —- Dr. Angrej Singh Gill
  3. Right to Education Act: Hopes & Doubts —- Dr. Nandita & Esha Sekhri
  4. Temperament Level among VIII Standard Pupils in Nizamabad District —- Dr. Chavan Vijaya Kumar and Dr. G. Ranga Swamy
  1. The Case Study of Ankit, A Dyslexic Boy —- Dr. Khushvinder Kumar and Ms. Rekha
  2. Right to Education Act: Challenges and Prospects —- Dr. Poonam Singh Kharwar
  3. A Study of Teacher’s Commitment of Primary School Teachers —- Dr. T. I. Nagarjuna and Dr. B. Yella Reddy
  4. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan – Boon for Elementary Education —- Dr. TJMS. Raju, Dr. N.V.S.Suryanarayana and Mr.N.Srinivasa Mohan
  5. The Purposes of Education —- Dr. Michael F. Shaughnessy, USA
  6. Inculcation of Ethics and Morals in Students with Education —- Dr. Vikrant Mishra and Mohit Puri
  7. An Analytical Study of The Right to Education Act, 2009 —- Ranvinderjit Kaur
  8. Mid–Day Meal Scheme and Growth of Primary Education : A case Study of District Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir —- Yawar Hamid and Asmat Hamid
  9. Parents of disabled Elementary school children: Problems and Coping Strategies —- Mohit Puri
  10. A Study of Job Involvement of Primary School Teachers —- Dr. B. Yella Reddy and Dr. T. I. Nagarjuna
  11. Innovative Teaching of Special Children at Elementary Level —- Habibullah Shah and Vikram Puri
  12. Right to Education Act 2009: Policies, Problems and Priorities —- Pradeep Kumar Mishra and Sreyashree Acharya
  13. The Right to Education: Window to Success of Life —- Ms. Sangeeta Chauhan and Dr. (Mrs) Saroj Yadav
  14. Right to Education —- Savita Gupta
  15. Attitude Towards Primary School Teachers —- Shridevi. G. Patil and Lakkannavar.B.L.
  16. Elementary School Teachers : Roles and Responsibilities —- T. Manichander
  17. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education: a milestone in the expansion of education in India —- Binapani Saha and Zigisha Pujari
  18. Elementary Education and ICT(Information and Communication Technology) —- Inderpreet Kaur
  19. Universalisation of Elementary Education in India: Challenges & Suggestions

—- Vijay Jaiswal

  1. The Role of Elementary School Teachers in 21st Century —- Ani Vadakke Purayil
  2. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education —- Basant Singh
  3. Drop Out: A Curse —- Arundhati Bhattacharyya

3) Is there a main theme or thrust?

The main thrust was on issues and various concerns in elementary education.

4) I understand that this was a world wide endeavor- what are some of the countries that have contributed to the book?

The book contains papers from USA and India. Although I received 56 papers from many states of India, I selected only 26 papers for final publication in this book on the basis of quality research.

5) What were some of the main topics of concern?

The main topics of concern were:

1.         History, development and Purposes of Elementary Education

2.         Experiments and innovations in Elementary Education

3.         Mid-Day Meal Scheme in Elementary Schools

4.         Teacher’s Competency, Teaching Attitude and Passion for Teaching

5.         Innovations and Concerns in Elementary Education

6.         Roles and Responsibilities of Elementary School Teachers

7.         Universalization of Elementary Education

8.         Committees and Commissions on Elementary Education

9.         Elementary Education and Curriculum Development

10.     Elementary Education and Distance and Open Learning

11.     Development in Elementary Education

12.     Challenges Ahead in Elementary Education

13.     Right to Education

14.     Elementary Education and ICT(Information and Communication Technology)

15. Drop Outs in Elementary Education

6) Why did you focus on elementary education?

Education is important not only for the full development of one’s personality, but also for the sustained growth of the nation. Elementary education in India, therefore, is the foundation on which the development of every citizen and the nation as a whole hinges. But making primary education available for all in India has also been one of the major challenges for the government. Moreover, the quality of elementary education in India has also been a major cause of worry for the government. In fact, making elementary education in India accessible, universal and relevant has been a goal since the eighth five-year plan. Elementary education in India means eight years of schooling from the age of six. The government has made elementary education compulsory and free. But, the goal of universal elementary education in India has been very difficult to achieve till now.

Therefore, it has introduced innovative ways of universalizing elementary education in India. After the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) of 1994, the govt. has now launched the “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” or SSA. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2001 to universalize and improve the quality of elementary education in India through community ownership of elementary education. In order to effectively decentralize the management, it has involved Panchayati Raj institutions, School Management Committees, Village and Urban Slum Level Education Committees, Parents’ Teachers’ Associations, Mother Teacher Associations, Tribal Autonomous Councils and other grassroots level structures. SSA, apart from being a programme with clear time frame for Elementary Education, also offers opportunities to the states to develop their own vision of elementary education. It has set 2007 as the deadline for providing primary education in India and 2010 as the deadline for providing useful and relevant elementary education to all children in the 6 to 14 age group, but still now it has not been achieved.

Therefore, the Right to Education Act has been introduced. In order to improve the quality of elementary education in India, the SSA has emphasized on improving the student teacher ratio, teachers training, academic support, facilitating development of teaching learning material and providing textbooks to children from special focus groups etc. Despite all the efforts of the government of India, universalization of elementary education in India remains a distant dream. This is because of the persistent poverty and various prejudices prevailing in the Indian society. While the growth in female literacy is increasing at a faster rate than male literacy, the gap in the male female literacy has been a major hindrance in the universalization of elementary education in India.

7) How supportive was your university, and where exactly are you located ?

My University, Punjabi University, Patiala was very supportive especially my supervisor, Dr. Meenakshi, Professor and Head, Department of Education and Community Services, Punjabi University guided and motivated me properly in editing this book. I am very thankful to other teachers like Dr. Kulwinder Singh, Dr. Paramjit Kaur Sandhu, Dr. Kirandeep Kaur, Dr Jasraj Kaur, Dr. Jagpreet Kaur of my Department also who are helping me in my research work. I have given two annual seminars related to my Ph.D. I have collected all the data and I shall submit my thesis in March 2013.

8) What have I neglected to ask?

You have asked all the important questions related to this book.

9) Who publishes it and who would benefit from reading it?

The edited book titled Elementary Education has been published by APH Publishing Corporation, New Delhi. It has ISBN Number 9788131314173. All the researchers working in the field of Elementary Education, teachers, students, administrators and policy makers would benefit a lot from reading it.

10) Do you have a web site where our readers can get more information?

Yes, I have my own website having URL address www.mohitpuri.pbworks.com which I keep on updating regularly. This website contains relevant information related to Education, spirituality and other important aspects of life.

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