Education that is Multicultural: Primary Education, and more on Indian Culture

Blog # 12

January 12, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Jeniffer Morron who is studying for her master's degree in Early Childhood Education at the City College of New York. She has an associates degree in Liberal Arts, a bachelor's degree in Journalism and is currently a head universal prekindergarten teacher at Noahs Ark Preparatory School ll in Queens, NY.

A Primary School

"This is our last visit guys!" Professor Gupta announced. A bittersweet feeling rose up and was reflected in almost all of our faces. Our last class was a site visitation to Cambridge Primary School located in New Friends Colony. Once arrived, you can see tall dark green trees, colorful plants kissing around each corner of the beautifully structured campus. The Cambridge School is a private, co-educational, English-speaking school. Their youngest students start in the Nursery class and children stay till the fifth grade. A large rectangular room with green tables and blue chairs surrounded by cabinets filled with various books was known as the school's library. Within that large and clean library, there were over 20 different genres all separated neatly in cabinets. Some genres included: give one take one (that means keep it or bring it back and take another one) Fairy tales, Chapter books, Wit and Wisdom as well as books separated by difficulty among children.

A few minutes after our arrival, children neatly dressed in dark blue uniforms walked in a straight line. Seven rows of six children took off their shoes and placed them neatly next to them along with their lanyard which held their picture ID's on one side and the other side held three contacts that they may be released to. Row by row, children sat down in a squared off section of the library, behind one another, legs folded, hands tucked on lap. The English teacher began her storytelling class by first asking the children, "Are u comfortable?" "Yes ma'am", they all replied in sync. Then she started to ask the children questions prior about the context of China. It was incredible to see how the children finished her sentences. She used so many physical gestures and was so animated!

After the story telling the class, we were able to have our first class ticket to go inside various classrooms. The children of a second-grade class were the ones who impacted me the most. Once a few of us walked in, the students stood up and the teacher told them to greet us and to make space for us to sit down. A few students near the back of the social studies classroom said, "Sit here ma'am!" I quickly moved to sit near the group of students, two girls and two boys. One of the student's book bag was in the way and once she saw me move it the young girl said, "I will do it, ma'am". I found this gesture not only respectful but also a sign of hospitality.

After our amazing observation within the classroom, we were able to interact with the teachers as well as the students in the grass field outside. The teachers looked so happy to be there, that was one of the many things that I noticed. They were dedicated, happy and invested within their teaching despite having 40 children in each classroom.

In the reading on Sri Aurobindo, there are three principles he states that are "true education":
1 )Nothing can be taught.
2) The mind has to be consulted in its own growth.
3) If anything has to be brought in from outside, it must be offered, not forced on the mind.

The teachers in this school, as well as the other schools we have visited, were the true examples of these principles. The teachers gave room for suggestions to the children rather than imposing on their work. The teachers in various grades were showing children how to acquire knowledge for themselves. Second, the teachers weren't hammering the children into becoming advanced robots. The children were seen to be comfortable to learn at their pace. Thirdly, the children were thinking about ideas on their own. Nothing was forced, their ideas were naturally developed as were their everyday skills.

Diversity of deities in a Hindu Temple

We moved on later that night to visit a temple called Shiv Mandir. We took off our shoes and walked inside to view the various Gods and Goddesses. Although the temple was dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, there were many other Hindu gods and goddesses housed in the temple as well. Among these colorful and detailed statues were:
* Brahma, the Creator
* Vishnu, the Preserver
* Shiva, the Destroyer
* Ganapati, the Remover of Obstacles
* Avatars of Vishnu (Ram and Krishna)
* Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom and Learning
* Durga Devi, the Goddess of strength

Diversity of foods in an Indian Vegetarian Restaurant

After that memorable and spiritual experience, we went directly to Evergreen restaurant to have our last dinner as a whole class. Various foods were available to try from northern, southern and central Indian states such as Punjab, Haryana, UP, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh. Some of the foods we tried were:

*Idli Sambhar
*Masala dosa
*bhel poori (my favorite)
*sarson ka saag aur makki roti
DELICIOUS! Our tastes buds were in for a surprise!

This was our last class here in New Delhi, and we all realized that we had been inspired by so much that affected us each individually. Mahatma Gandhi says, “be the change you want to see in this world." India inspired all of us to be free, be comfortable and best of all be happy.

Education that is Multicultural: Inclusive Education 2

Blog # 11B

January 11, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Moraima Avalos who is studying for an undergraduate degree in Childhood Education at the City College of New York. For her masters degree, she plans to major in Early Childhood to broaden her understanding of young children as she wants to focus predominantly on kindergarten students who live in troubled homes.

Today's focus on Inclusive classrooms was a topic close to home for me. Both my parents are licensed special education teachers. My mother is an occupational therapist in early childhood agencies and I have become accustomed to being near children with special needs and have a soft spot in my heart for them.

We took a long drive to the school and finally reached it. The school, located near a couple of other government and private schools, had a beautiful campus. You could tell from the outside that this was a wealthier school. It was more of a college campus feel or even a boarding school feel which was interesting being that this school welcomes so many children with disabilities. This made me think that the administration really cared for the comfort of the students.

As the director of the special need department spoke to us, she informed us of the importance of making all students feel connected with the rest of society. The vision of the department is that all children should be given equal opportunity. Their school was committed to inclusion and felt that it is part of their DNA. Since the opening of this school, more schools have now made inclusion classes a part of  their curriculum. “All children can learn, every child has a right to learn” and if we accept that then we all believe in inclusion. Their ways of preventing this is through sensitization and awareness about people with different needs and also learning to accept. Here in India, some people haven't accepted the thought of special needs kids due to lack of exposure, lack of knowledge and lack of motivation which leads to negative feelings and false beliefs.

We then divided into two groups, one group visiting the higher grade classrooms and the other visiting the early childhood classrooms. As I am interested in kindergarten, I decided to visit the younger grade classrooms to know the different ways they instill independence and creativity. As we walked through the beautifully, colored halls; all the halls were filled with artwork from the students. Some of the classes were REM (remedial department) with 1-30 students following a mainstream curriculum. Other classes are NIOS (National institute of Open Schooling) and last, CSE (Center of Special Ed). NIOS focuses on students who are interested in sports or other hobbies and don't have much time to focus on education so this gives them a slower pace with 1-2 subjects in a year but the same work. CSE focuses on students with I.E.P and a ratio of 1:6. They differentiate planning for each student at different levels and incorporate ADA programs which enhance daily living skills.  As we walked around the classrooms I could see the creativity integrated into the curriculum. We even saw a classroom that helps the students learn independent living so they can leave school with these schools. It is important to make everyone aware of the ability of all children to learn . This school’s vision was very inspiring and I'm happy they feel it is important to give all students the same opportunity.

Education that is Multicultural: Inclusive Education 1

Blog #11

January 11, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Christina Singh who is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education at the City College of New York.

The Step by Step school is a private inclusive school welcoming to all children who need support. The school is made up about 50 professionals who are all committed to inclusion. One core belief of the Step by Step school is that "students learn best in a respectful, supportive community of trust where each student's learning needs and abilities are understood and accommodated as fully as possible." At the Step by Step school, inclusion is well executed - inclusion of children as well as inclusion of communities.

As we entered the gates of the Step by Step school, I could tell what we were about to see was going to be different than the Pratham community-based centers. The grounds of the school were well groomed and lined with pots of plants. Children's art work hung on the pillars leading the way into the school. Upon arrival, an image of Mother Saraswati greeted us at the door. Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, musi c, arts, wisdom and learning. As we walked through the school children's art work was displayed on the hallway walls. The hallways were long and extending into different directions. As we peeked into one classroom, we saw children engaged in story time. We passed by the computer room where children were playing mathematical games. In the art room, children were painting pottery they had made from clay. We entered a special education classroom specifically designed for autistic children. The classroom teacher told us that he set up his classroom in a way that would support the children and allow them to complete classwork without verbal instruction. He told us that the reward for the children was completing the actual task. This made me think about the extrinsic reward system in America where a child would get a sticker or star for completion of a task.

Tagore's Theory of Inclusive Education promotes the idea that "education is a relational process between the child, teacher peers and nature (environment)" (Mukherjee, 2013). At the Step by Step school, this is well represented as we saw the school and parents sensitize and raise awareness about children with special needs. Professionals at the Step by Step school help students to reach their full potential academically as well as holistically, along with the help of parents and communities near and far.

Education that is Multicultural - Economics and Education: India's changing socio-cultural and economic profile

Blog # 10

January 10, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Jasmine Kasheboon Khoury who is studying for an undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the City College of New York.

Today was our 11th day in New Delhi, India. Our time here is coming to an end. Therefore, during today’s discussion we all took time to talk about our childhood experiences and our families. Through this conversation, we discussed how our identities have been formed and how we navigate between our own cultures and the assimilation into American culture. We evolve and form our own identity, making the decisions of what we want to hold onto within our culture and what we need to let go of on the basis of survival. With time everything changes. India is changing with time and this was shown to us through the presentations by faculty of The New Delhi Institute of Management.

The New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM) gave us a very warm welcome today with a beautiful and tasteful lunch, presentations, interactive exercises, and of course, tea! We started off our visit by sitting in a circle with students currently studying in NDIM. About six of them told us about what they are studying, plan to do with their majors, and even their views of America. One of the students said that he is very influenced by American culture and that Paris Hilton is his Goddess. Another student told us a phrase translated from Hindi stating: “Delhi is full of people with hearts.” After this beautiful interaction, we sat in on three faculty presentations on the topics of Digital Marketing, Demonetization, and History of India.

The first presentation discussed how digital marketing was a way for people to connect. Through digital marketing there is a difference between stories and narratives. Narratives are meaningless, but stories have meanings and one-way to give something a meaning through social media is: hashtags. We see the use of people connecting and showing support through social media by talking about their experiences through hashtags like, #BlackLivesMatter, #ImWithHer, #Aleppo etc. Digital marketing has also made it easier for people to connect globally through Facebook, LinkedIn, Snap Chat, and Twitter. With the recent ability to “See Translation” of posts put on Facebook people can read posts/news in different languages.

Our second presentation focused on Demonetization which is the stripping of currency making it no longer a legal tender. Recently in India, 500 and 1,000 rupee bills were no longer worth any money as of November 8, 2016. These made up 86% of the currency that was suddenly unavailable leaving only 14% of currency still available in other smaller bills. Fourteen lakh crore was invalidated out of the sixteen lakh crore leaving the country with only two lakh crore in useable currency. The government has since printed new bills of Rs 500 and 2000 which are now being available to people. In India, this has happened twice before in 1946 and 1978, and now in 2016. Demonetization is done to stop the Black Market and counterfeiting. This move was made to help the common man because now the richer people have had to declare all their money and pay taxes on it. However, at the same time, interest rates have fallen and tourism has been affected during this transition because tourists have had less cash available to purchase gifts. The government is benefiting from this because taxes are being recovered and more money is going towards the government due to the penalties towards people who are part of the Black Market.

Our third presentation showed us the underlying philosophy of India; Unity Within Diversity. India is made up of many diverse states that come under the umbrella of one country: India. India is experiencing more feministic viewpoints, success within the IT industry, increased focus on education, and structured chaos. Education has become even more important and families do whatever possible, some families even selling their land and possessions to ensure that their children receive quality education. Two million phones a month are being sold creating a larger social network. And the strong cultural mindset of “jugaad” – the ability to make bad situations workable situations - is an innovative attitude that is widely experienced in India. All of this success and change is allowing the middle class to explode and poverty lines to decrease. India is changing.

Education that is Multicultural: Vocational Education and Skills Development

Blog #9

January 9, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Claudia Lara who is studying for a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education at The City College of New York. She has an associates degree in Deaf Studies, a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and is currently teaching 3 year olds in a preschool in Queens, NY.

Throughout our first week in India, we visited institutions that have taught us how different communities in India are being encouraged to continue their education. We are starting this week by visiting Skill India which is a skills development corporation for marginalized communities. As we learned in previous visits, the key to helping students succeed is to keep them engaged throughout process from education to employment. Skill India intends to help those who have dropped out of school by providing vocational training through hands-on activities.

Hearing "hands-on" made me think of activities related to the topic being taught however, seeing the classrooms made me realize it is more than providing activities. All the classrooms were different;  those training for hospitality had a replica of a hotel room for practicing, those training for a position associated with retail were standing in their classroom. Every setting aimed to provide real life experience to prepare them for the job position they would like to get.

As the article “Origins of Alternative Education in India: A Continuing Journey” by Deepti Mehrotra mentions, several schools have introduced alternative teaching methods that are different from the mainstream method (Mehrotra, p. 25). Besides introducing different hands-on experiences, Skill India has also introduced new equipment in the classrooms. The Institute has created and patented a touch screen projector which facilitates teaching. The projector has different features like graphing, browsing, and writing tools. It also has the option to live stream and record which can be played in centers that do not have teachers. Every setting and materials in Skill India was customized to fit students' career interest. Walking around the vocational centers made me wonder why classrooms in New York are not adapting to more realistic situations.

Education that is Multicultural: Tea and Family

Blog # 8

January 8, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Wendy Barrales who is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, and a founding teacher at Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy.

Icebergs are often underestimated in size. What is visible to the eye is only a small part of an immense structure. Culture is similarly misunderstood. We assume that our knowledge of tangible outputs--- food, clothes and music--- tell us enough about a particular culture. But just like icebergs, when we dig further and look beyond the surface, we begin to see the complexity and depth of its values and foundation. Prior to arriving in New Delhi, we discussed this idea of culture as a reminder to push our understanding beyond what meets the eye. At yesterday's afternoon tea with Professor Gupta's family, we got to see below the iceberg and soaked in the values embedded within family.

Unlike British afternoon tea, featuring scones with clotted cream and small cucumber sandwiches, Indian tea time is vibrant and flavorful. The color and smells wafting from the table were intoxicating as we impatiently waited to try some pohe (a flattened rice with turmeric green peas and fresh cilantro). We had an incredible selection of samosas and bread pakoras accompanied with spiral orange sweet jalebis and white squares of milk based burfi to settle our sweet tooth cravings. Not only were we expanding our understanding of Indian cuisine, but we were also part of a beautiful moment of family togetherness.

As we sipped tea, Professor Gupta's auntie shared a wealth of knowledge from her experience within the field of education. She has a sharp sense of humor and infectious energy causing all of us to gravitate towards her. Two of our classmates wore traditional Indian saris and she gave us a small description on the traditional clothing for various parts of India. Lastly, we shared a few laughs about the complicated relationships we have with our mothers, a topic of conversation that is relatable and universal to us all.

The warmth we felt yesterday provided us all with a comforting sense of familiarity despite being miles from home. Our understanding of the culture iceberg was broadened that day. Not only did we see how values play out within a family setting, we were also able to see how similar and alike our cultures can be. There are some things in the world that transcend countries and cultures, and the warmth we felt in that home was a universal feeling of love.

Education that is Multicultural - Visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra

Blog # 7

January 7, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Puiyee Cheung who is a graduate student at the City College of New York pursuing her Masters degree in the Bilingual Education and TESOL Program.

We went to the Taj Mahal today! It was interesting to see it in cloudy weather- the haze added an air of mystery and timelessness. The Taj, was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal between 1632 – 1648 AD. Along with the incredible design and symmetry, I was most fascinated by the materials they used; Makrana marble – which is translucent and nonporous – so that it looks differently depending upon the light, especially in the moonlight! There is incredible inlay work, which includes 4.3 million pieces of semi-precious stones such as: Turquoise, Lapis lazuli, and Malachite. It took over 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete; legend has it that the Shah cut the hands off the workers so that they wouldn’t be able to build another Taj.

In its presence, I found myself thinking about romantic gestures, and how different they can be: gifts, quality time, affirming words, acts of service, and physical touch. And depending upon the person some gestures are more appreciated and deeply felt, a notion that was popularized by Gary Chapman in his book The 5 languages of love.

In the spirit of this course – and how important relationships are in the classrooms we’ve visited, can we as educators be more effective in building relationships with our students? And consider that perhaps children like adults need and experience love differently as well? In The 5 Love Languages of Children, G. Chapman and R. Campbell, explains how different children can be, and that our language may be totally different from theirs. Thus by discovering their primary language, we can more effectively convey feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will hopefully resonate with their emotions, behavior, and ability to learn in the classroom.


Photo by: Jasmine Khoury

Education that is Multicultural - Gender, Sexuality and Education

Blog # 6

January 6, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Meghan Cuadro who is an undergraduate student at the City College of New York pursuing her bachelors degree in international studies. In the future she would like to work abroad in maybe helping or teaching children in developing countries. 

Waking up on our 7th day in New Delhi, I was faced with the task of writing the blog today.  As I got ready, I reflected on what we did yesterday, and how today's activities could be a continuation on the different ways the RTE legislation is being implemented to gradually get all children in India to go to school. Today's topic was the girl child, and how India is trying to make a big impact on the lives of young girls.

The overall goal is to help girls and women get an education and to become more independent. Socially aware citizens want to get rid of the social stigma that has seemed to plague the life of young girls and women here, but this was not always the case. In ancient history, women were very much appreciated and involved in politics. They were warriors and scholars. With the development of patriarchal societies, women have fell back, and through feminist thinking women are now again fighting to regain equal positions to their male counterparts. This message resonates with me because in my own personal background. I have studied in  institutions that were only open to girls. Therefore, I know the significance of empowering girls and women first hand. As breakfast came to a close,  I thought I would bring my own personal experiences to our class discussion. We sat for a little over two hours, and had a wonderful conversational lecture. The lecture seemed to flow organically and each of us were very enthusiastic to ask questions and to give insight on the various topics of our discussion and chapter four assigned which was the assigned reading of the day. 

Once the lecture was over we were off to an NGO that specializes in working with girls. This NGO is called Nirantar which means "ongoing" in Hindi. Their work is continuous so the name has a proper fit. The men and women who work at this NGO are doing amazing work not only with young girls, but with older women as well. We all know the importance of educating a child, but we very often leave out adults. That struck me because throughout the seven days I've been learning about education in this course, I had never thought about education for adults. The speakers expressed their efforts to bring literacy to women who were not able to learn as children because of various circumstances. They wanted women to feel empowered in themselves even if they could not be helped out of certain situations such as arranged marriages and domestic abuse. Literacy is an important aspect of education. Nirantar has also expressed the right  to entertainment and abstract information. I loved that because many people and other organizations provide marginalized women with knowledge and skills to become a better woman, wife, and mother. This speaks volumes because women are human; not property or objects just to serve men.

Nirantar has reached out to 10-15,000 women and young girls when it comes to teaching literacy, but they do not pride themselves in quantitative statistics. They do not believe that they need to prove anything numerically because they know  their  work is good, and impacts made by them are little victories that accumulate. They started the only newspaper that is written and produced by women, which is printed in seven different languages.  It is called Khabar Lahariya. Nirantar is an NGO at the grassroots level, but they are creating sparks of change not only for girls and women, but also spreading awareness that is self-sustained to men of the areas they reach. Patriarchal ideals and stubborn mindsets are being changed and that is just a small percentage of the work Nirantar is involved in. Overall today was about empowerment and changing mindsets about gender and sexuality, and I am glad that work is being carried out by the young socially aware population of India. 

Education that is Multicultural: The Role of NGOs in Education in India

Blog #5

January 5, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Lauren Fleming who is a graduate student in Early Childhood Education at the City College of New York. She currently works as a paraprofessional at P.S. 95 in Queens, N.Y. and wants to become a certified NYC teacher.

Today we visited two non-profit organizations also known as NGOs - Pratham and Indusaction. We rose early and embarked on our journey. Traffic was moderate this morning so we were able to get to our destination in a timely manner. When we arrived we had no idea what we were about to experience, but with open minds we entered a community different from anything that we had already seen. 

Our first stop was Pratham.  The name Pratham in Sanskrit means first. We were told by the director of the NGO that the definition of the name Pratham gives light to its function and existence. It was the first NGO to begin bridging the gap between education, the family and the community in India specifically targeting the very economically disadvantaged communities. NGOs like Pratham, along with the government, provide schooling for as many poor children as they can between the ages 2-14. Pratham coordinates community-based childcare centers that are facilitated by community volunteers who conduct classes in small 6'x6' rooms in their own homes. In the preschool classroom, there was one teacher and 19 students. Classroom time runs for 3 hours each day. These classes are within the communities so parents feel comfortable in letting their children go to school because of its close proximity to their homes.

Pratham founders believed that children learn best when they are interested in the content that they are learning. Play-based child-centered learning was the main and new focus. They began to implement programs such as link library which was comprised with activities that would capture the students interests as they learned. Over time, officials noticed that as they were beginning to accomplish their goal of getting children into the schools, a new stumbling block surfaced - although children were in school they weren't learning. An assessment tool called ASER was launched by Pratham in 2005 to survey how much children had learned in each year of school. The tool could help teachers determine whether or not the student can read or do basic math by the end of the year.

We had the opportunity to enter a preschool and an after school program and witness what the Pratham organization had put into place. As we entered the preschool, our hearts began to melt as we watched the students feeling comfortable in their learning environment. We entered into the room to hear the chorus of children say, "Hello Ma'am". We took off our shoes and joined them in circle time as they were engaged in their sorting and counting lesson. They sang and danced as they learned the content in the context of their culture. It was interesting to see the resources they had. Teacher-made materials with vivid colors filled the classroom walls. It was a print-rich environment with many words in Hindi and some in English. There was student work on the walls as well. What warmed our hearts most was the smiles on the faces of the children as they were so happy to learn and welcome the American visitors.  

We exited the preschool and went to the after-school program. This program helped students attain literacy levels according to their academic level and not their age level. There is a morning session as well as an afternoon session. Each session is gender specific.  We were able to come in during the end of the boys' session into mixed-age classrooms. For example, the first and second graders were working in the same room focusing on a particular subject; the third and fourth grade were together and so on. Once again we were greeted with a hearty "Hello Ma'am" as we entered. The students were happily completing their science and mathematics class work. These students were between the ages 6-14. They were as happy to see us as were to see them. They asked us our names some even used the English language. What a wonderful experience!

Our afternoon stop was at the Indusaction headquarters. We met with the NGO's founder Tarun. After working in a large corporation he made a career change after being motivated to find something that was more socially meaningful where he could make a difference. Indusaction is a non profit organization that ensures the implementation of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE).  "This act ensures that every child has the right to full time quality education that satisfied basic norms and standards." Indusaction aims to implement RTE by helping  economically disadvantaged families in Delhi to place their children in quality private schools and get children off the streets. The flyers emphasize the targeted populations including orphans, transgender, boys, girls, physically challenged and the disabled.  Indusaction runs a busy backend tech center where several volunteers make calls to deepen awareness of the RTE policy.

Both organizations, Indusaction and Pratham, are very instrumental in promoting and enforcing the governments education policies to improve quality and access to education  throughout India. Both groups promote efforts to get children off of the streets and into centers where education is fostered. They want to ensure sure that all children exercise their right to education.

Education that is Multicultural: Judiciary history and Educational policy

Blog #4

January 4, 2017

This blog is authored by Study Abroad in India student Michael Daiowraj who is currently an undergraduate student at the City College of New York. He is studying for a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering.

The fourth day of our Study Abroad class in New Delhi, India was spent exploring the history of the Indian Judiciary, and receiving an insight into the construction and enactment of education legislation. Our day started off at 9:50 AM and we made our way through the dense New Delhi traffic, our destination being the pinnacle of the Indian Judiciary system, the Supreme Court. After several minutes of searching for the correct gate, we finally arrived at our destination. One could immediately notice the rifle carrying guards sitting directly behind the gate. We were ushered into a security checkpoint, with separate lines for men and women. Surprisingly, this is the second time we have encountered separation of genders in India. Unfortunately, we were not able to go into the main complex of the Supreme Court because the new Chief Justice of India was being sworn in that same morning. We were led into the Museum - a small circular room which presented the history of the Indian Judicial system in a consecutive order.

The Judiciary system in India can be traced back to more than 3,500 years. The administration of justice was first communicated by word of mouth and passed from one generation to the other, called Sruti. Recorded texts on policy, law and governance can be traced back to the Arthashastra, written by Kautilya in about 300 BC. After gaining Independence in 1947, the constitution of free India was drafted by Dr. Bhimrao Ramoji Ambedkar and later enacted in 1950. With the formation of the three branches of government, the Supreme Court became the cornerstone of the Judiciary branch. At the head of the Supreme Court lies the Chief Justice. We later found out that each justice in the Supreme Court hears over eighty cases a day and cases can be dismissed with just one word. Upon leaving the Supreme Court, I was interested in hearing the motto of the court, “Yato Dharma Tato Jaya,” which says that “where there is justice, there is victory.” These words truly describe the Supreme Court’s purpose in maintaining order through the enactment and enforcement of laws.

After leaving the Supreme Court, we found ourselves at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA). While there, we were treated to a magnificent lunch, followed by a lecture presented by several members of the administration. The lecturers emphasized that the beliefs and way of thinking of policy makers directly influences legislation construction. Such beliefs justify the low allocations to education, the provision of non - formal education to children, and the enactment of education policies that don’t interfere with child labor. Also discussed were the inequalities that plague the Indian Education system. While the differences in gender enrollment in schools are on a decline, social and regional inequalities continue to persist. This really made me think about how this affects autonomous schools. In the rush to preserve their reputation and social status, people make the rush to find the best private education for their child. As such, government schools would be considered as last resort, reducing the number of enrolled children in said schools. Among the topics discussed, I was surprised to learn that even though the Indian constitution and the RTE guarantees that the state shall provide free education, there are several children that appear to lack said education. The lecturers further explained the RTE act and the fact that it does not currently extend to children younger than 6 years, potentially causing those children to resort to begging on the streets. Leaving NUEPA, I can’t help but think about the current legislation in place for education, and what the future holds in order to improve said legislation.