The innovative mind of certain titans is behind many a great institution. The Indian Institute of Education is such an institution.
J.P. Naik, founder of the institute, was a doyen of educational thinkers and organisers who had enjoyed international reputation. He had played a signal role in establishing organisations such as the National Council of Educational Research and Training, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA).
A reformer of distinction, scholar, unconventional administrator and passionate advocate of education, J.P. Naik established the institute in Mumbai in 1948 to help the development of education in free India, as an instrument of social justice and equality. Having deeply felt poverty as a rural child, he strived for the education of the poor all his life.
The institute was moved to Pune (J.P. Naik Road, Kothrud, Pune – 411 029, www.iiepune.org) in 1976. It is a non-governmental organisation, with a mandate that covers research and teaching in educational policy, planning, management and non-formal alternatives to the existing structures and processes at all stages of education. The institute receives financial support from the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the Government of Maharashtra.
The institute maintains a holistic view of education and development. It is engaged in research, training, extension and publication. In every activity the stress is on equality of opportunity and socioeconomic development through education. The study programmes investigate social, cultural, political, economic and psychological dimensions of education. The areas of focus include:
History of Indian education
Science and technology education
Non-formal basic and continuing education
Policy, planning, finance and management of education
Education of rural women
The institute has developed a number of centres of research and training.
Centre for Educational Studies: This is the coordinating centre for research and innovative projects. It stands recognised by Pune University for conducting postgraduate and doctoral programmes in education as an interdisciplinary zone.
Apart from basic research, the centre promotes action-research with emphasis on the educational problems of the disadvantaged sections of society. It works in collaboration with the Planning Commission, the NIEPA, the ICSSR, UNESCO and other governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The centre receives funds from the ICSSR and the Government of Maharashtra on an equal matching basis. The centre has two special cells that work on educational problems of minorities and education for all.
Vigyan Ashram (Science Hermitage) Centre: This was set up in 1983. Its thrust is the application of science and technology for rural development. This centre provides novel opportunities to rural youth, including school dropouts. The innovative approach enables the youth to learn scientific methods. They acquaint themselves with simple scientific instruments for use in their day-to-day occupations. A new work-culture of learning through integration of theory and practice has been evolved. The neglected segments of society such as school drop-outs develop self-confidence and self-respect. Their efforts enhance their family earnings. There are opportunities for research in new innovations.
J.P. Naik Centre for Education and Development of Rural Women: Women play a signal role in contributing to the quality of Indian rural life. Women's education is the right medium for the empowerment of rural women. Based on this premise, a special centre for the education and development of rural women (CEDRW) has been set up at Shivapur, near Pune. The centre focusses on areas such as health education, legal literacy, political education, trade-training, agriculture, cooperation, dairy development, goat-raising, food-processing and marketing, reading circles, cultural activities, use of science and neo-technology, investigation of indigenous knowledge systems, child development and nutrition, family life and personality consciousness.
Research studies are carried out for identifying new vistas and making the functioning of the centre more efficient and effective. The overall economic and cultural transformation of the rural population is the prime objective of studies. Strategies are evolved for the innovative application of the findings.
G.D. Parikh Centre for Educational Studies, Mumbai: This centre, named after an eminent thinker and social worker, is located on the Vidyanagari campus of Bombay University. The Parikh centre focusses on urban educational studies. It networks NGOs experimenting with alternative educational processes in basic education, adult literacy and non-formal education of various types. Its domain of operation is the Mumbai metropolitan area and the tribal pockets of nearby districts. Studies at this centre offer ideas for improving the lot of the disadvantaged sections through alternative educational strategies.
J.P. Naik Centre for Education and Development: Fruits of advances in science and technology often do not reach the rural community, because of the social divide. This centre has evolved a project called STRIDE, which aims at “Science and Technology for Rural Integrated Development and Education.” It contributes to the process of sustainable development by enabling the rural community to promote scientific transfer and use of technology for socioeconomic transformation. This helps in improving the quality of the rural population.
STRIDE carries out research and development work in different areas including the following.
Bioresources: Biodiversity programmes involving tissue culture for farm cultivation.
Solar and wind energy applications for farm produce.
Agro-technology for value addition to farm produce.
Water resources, water-conservation; potable water
Instruction in Science and Technology
Dr. B.D. Tilak Memorial Community Education Centre, Shivapur: This centre also has the objective of ensuring sustainable rural development by enabling the rural community to promote scientific transfer and use of technology for socioeconomic transformation.