Teach For North-East (TFNE) successfully had its first-ever annual retreat- Edu’treat 2021 in Ukhrul Pilgrims Prayer Mountain from 25th to 30th January. Edu’treat, a portmanteau of two important words- “Education” and “Retreat”, is a professional learning retreat for educators featuring key stakeholders and experts from the industry where they can come together to discuss challenges on school education in the northeast region and realistic solutions can be devised. The idea behind such retreat is to reflect upon the present work on education, learn from the good practices on education by other educators and create real-time solutions that can then be integrated to bring a systemic change.
“Edu’treat was born out of our vision to create quality education which can only be brought with collaborations and partnerships. This retreat was entirely powered by collaboration and its success depends on the commitment of the participants to create a meaningful experience for themselves and fellow participants that can help them become change-makers in the education ecosystem,” said Edu’treat organiser and Co-founder of TFNE, Mathanmi Hungyo.
With the pandemic shutting down schools all around the world and going online, less privileged students in many parts of the country and Northeast region are struggling to stay the course. In a country where the gaps in access to education and the Internet were already vast, the recent development because of the lockdown is not only increasing learning inequality among students but also pushing a large number of children out of school due to the digital divide. Lockdowns enforced to stop the spread of the virus have put 91% of learners out of school globally and out of these, the poorest and marginalized children are at highest risk of never returning to the classroom with no real solutions to resolve this issue.
Co-founder of TFNE, Rohit said, “Keeping in mind the current challenges we are facing, we are bringing together educators and those invested in education under one platform to discuss new pathways towards new age education. Through this Educational Retreat, TFNE wishes to devise a collective action plan for everyone who is part of the education system. This retreat was a platform that would open up opportunities for educators to collaborate, learn, inspire and establish a network for positive changes in the education ecosystem.”
Also, on the agenda were different workshops and sessions by experts from the education industry which allowed the participants to delve deeply into topics of interests. The sessions were divided into three broad themes- Self-reflection and Sharing, Listen and Learn, and Act Together.
Some key sessions included:
· Covid-19 and the future of education
· Experiencing and understanding education equity
· Inclusion, Mental Health & Well-being
. How visual arts can be an educational tool to propagate stories of change
· Entrepreneurship as a life skill
· Playful learning
· Ed-tech for last-mile communities
· Research & curriculum design
· Place-based teaching & sustainability
· Volunteering Dynamics
. Leadership Journey in the Education system
. My Experience as a teacher – Government Teacher
. Organisations working with the last mile communities
. How to start a movement and the problems we want to solve
The participants of Edu’treat were TFNE Fellows, SunBird Fellows, educators and resource persons of various organisations from different parts of the country including TFIx, Ummeed Child Development Center (Mumbai), Korou Foundation (Library For All), SELCO Foundation (Bangalore), Simple Education Foundation (Delhi), The Longdrum Network (Nagaland), Project N-Able, STEP Northeast (Manipur), MitSna (Manipur), Tweak Leaning- Beyond Grades, SunBird Trust, Unibrow Studio, Zingsho Katamnao Long – The eastern Tangkhul Student Union.
Sharing his experience of the retreat, Kevin Panicker, Communications & Development, TFIx said, “Edu’treat 2021 was a truly memorable experience. We know that children/students learn much better when they are taught by educators who are focused on improving their practice of teaching and learning, and Edu’treat is one place where we can all learn together while working on authentic issues around teaching, learning, equity and excellence.”
Tedawnshim Khaling, co-founder of Unibrow Studio which is also the media partner of Edu’treat 2021 said, “While understanding and examining practices as educators, it is important to examine the places that have shaped us and the places that have shaped our students. In this context, place means the unique geographical, political, social, and cultural characteristics of a community or region. It is very important that education is contextualised. Art and creativity is fundamental in giving quality education.” She further adds that “Teach For Northeast has thoughtfully integrated into Edu’treat themes that are relevant in the diverse region of Northeast India while also keeping in mind the issues faced by the students in the remote conflict ridden areas of the region.”
Edu’treat is an open platform for anyone who believes in making quality education accessible to all the children. It is a space where anyone can come to learn, listen, share, contribute, and establish networks to ensure educational rights for all children. The Edu’treat is part of the 2 years teaching fellowship program towards building the capacities of the teaching fellows, sports educators, local school teachers and educators working in the region. This is a platform where key stakeholders influencing the education system deliberate to come up with real time solutions on quality school education.
The 2 programs – ‘TFNE’ and ‘Sports For Development’ has been supported by the generous grant by the Anaha Trust through the Sattva Consultancy. The whole region is grateful to them for their support in building an educational movement in the Northeast.
About Teach For North-East (TFNE)
TFNE is an initiative of Recognize Rise And Empower Association, a Non-Profit organization based in Imphal, Manipur. The Teach For North East Fellowship is an opportunity for all who believe that every child deserves an education that helps them bring out their truest self to serve the world better. The North-east region of India has been marred with years of conflict and one of the results of that is a failing education system. The Teach For North East Fellowship is a call to all individuals who are ready to immerse in a two-year understanding of ground realities in the North East, while they try to bridge learning gaps and work towards excellent student outcomes and transforming schools.
Mathanmi Hungyo, Co-founder of TFNE.