Monday, August 19, 2013

School libraries empower future citizens: a model to impart civic literacy in Indian schools #wlic2013

Next talk I'm blogging at the IFLA World library and Information Conference in Singapore is School libraries empower future citizens: a model to impart civic literacy in Indian schools from Rashmi Kumbar (Adani Vidya Mandir, Sarkhej, Ahmedabad, India)
The speaker starting by identifying the meaning of civic literacy in India, quoting Gandhi in emphasising the value of mass education. She outlined the education structure and identified that there are different curricula in schools that might be followed. There are "6 fundamental rights" in Indian democracy and also fundamental citizen duties, but there is a feeling that people may have lost the understanding of civic rights and duties and the work of their forbears in achieving democracy.
In the speaker's school pupils come from less privileged backgrounds, education is free and there are good facilities. There is a junior and senior library and they have 2 library periods a week. They have interesting practices including use of bibliotherapy. There proposed model for civic literacy is called Squaring the circle: to understand value of democracy, be aware of rights and duties, and instill the right approach to citizenship. Collaboration with teachers is encouraged and they want some whole school activities. Activities should give clarity about citizenship and civic literacy, and the activities may also be taken up by subject teachers.
The model involves finding solutions to difficult problems. The guiding principles are Awareness, Alacrity "brisk and cheerful readiness", Action, and Achievement (documentation and recognition is seen as motivating here).

As an example of an activity, the campaign on civic literacies is introduced, pupils form groups and choose a news topic and two weeks later they have to present an analysis of their reading and thinking. Meanwhile resources are also displayed in the library, pupils are supported in developing their ability to write up and present their findings. Presentation sessions are done in regular school assemblies.
As with other presentations at IFLA in this civic literacies session, there was a lot more detail than I can capture. A few details are - seniors mentoring juniors - using national days and festivals - exercises to "adopt a civil right". I will add the link to the paper when it is available.

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