Rural areas, where the largest proportion of the world population lives, have been receiving less priority in terms of resource allocation, service delivery and program interventions. Because of inequitable distribution of resources and investments, rural areas have always been left behind in developing the potentials that are available in the areas. As the home for a large majority of people, rural areas are closely linked not only with their livelihoods but also with their culture and pattern of life, knowledge and sharing, and self and identity. Likewise, rural areas contain resources that provide sustenance and means of development not only for rural people but also for people living in urban areas. At the same time rural areas are also the areas of poverty, exclusion and deprivation. While these areas have been suffering from the neglect of the system, the occurrence of discrimination, exclusion, and hierarchy are common in these areas.
One of the reasons rural areas are lagging behind is due to limited opportunities available for people to receive quality and adequate education that would help them enhance the quality of their life. Several reasons explain why rural areas are deprived in terms of education. One such reason is that the present education system has largely been ignoring the needs and aspirations of rural areas and people there. Moreover, the rigidity of the present education system does not fit well within the rural pattern of life that is much more flexible and rhythmic as per the pattern of the nature. Further, the present education system does not recognize the traditional mode of knowing and thus those modes which are developed through generations of efforts and as per the needs of the people are gradually disappearing. With these losses great human treasures are disappearing.
Several strategic interventions are needed to bring about a change in such situations and transform the rural areas. This includes a prioritized intervention at several fronts including education. It has been well established that education can contribute to transform rural areas but it is equally important to realize that education needs reengineering so that it could recognize the contextualized needs of people and it should be designed in a manner that would support people to build their lives in a sustainable manner. Obviously, such a system needs to be flexible to cater to the needs of all groups of people and communities and at the same time socially just. Such a system should also be trying to build a synergy between the local practices of knowing and the knowledge practice developed elsewhere in the world. It is also necessary to realize that rural areas are vibrant and changing and thus the emerging needs of the changing contexts are to be realized. With these contexts, the idea of education for rural transformation is being practiced and developed with the purpose of contributing to initiate a process of positive, equitable and sustainable development of rural areas in the context of emerging local, national and global challenges and opportunities and taking education as a key means for achieving this purpose.
The 5th ERT International Symposium in Kathmandu
The idea of Education for Rural Transformation (ERT) was first promoted by UNESCO International Research and Training Center for Rural Development (INRULED) in early 2000s. Following this same model, the Institute of International Education (IIE) in Stockholm University began an ERT movement with the main purpose of developing the theoretical base of ERT as a good practice and sharing research and practice-based knowledge, using cases around the world that would contribute to the movement of and research on ERT. Under this movement four international symposiums have already been held – first in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010; second in Chengdu, China in 2011; third in Baroda, India in 2012; and the fourth in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013. In the same line, the 5th ERT international symposium will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2014.
Objectives of the Kathmandu Symposium
The Kathmandu Symposium will be organized with the objective of contributing to build and share the knowledge base on education for rural transformation. Specifically, the symposium will have the following objectives:
- To share research-based practices of reengineered education along with flexibility and ensuring social justice
- To deliberate on the aspects like quality, equity, and relevance of education in rural areas
- To share experiences on building and sharing skills and knowledge base
- To highlight the socio-economic vibrancy of rural areas
- To discuss ways to link rural areas with emerging needs and advancements
- To provide a forum to actors of education and rural transformation to share their knowledge and experiences in ERT and particularly on reengineering of education
Staying under the overarching theme of Education for Rural Transformation, the main symposium theme will be Reengineering Education for flexible learning and social justice. Within this broader theme there will be different other sub-themes, such as:
- Alternative modes of knowing and sharing
- Identifying and incorporating emerging needs of rural areas in education
- Quality, equity, adequacy, and relevance of education
- Assessing knowing and learning
- Entrepreneurship, employability, and socio-economic vibrancy of rural areas
- Conceptual and theoretical bases of ERT
The most important outcome of the symposium will be to contribute to building knowledge on transformation of rural areas through the concept of ERT. One specific outcome of the symposium will be bringing together the practices and experiences as well as theoretically informed discussion on the need for reengineering education so that it could promote flexibility of learning and social justice. This will help to bring education or knowing more close to the needs and aspirations of rural areas and its people. Another outcome will be to build knowledge on the aspects like quality, equity and relevance of education. The symposium will also contribute to open-up dialogues on different possibilities to improve the livelihood of rural people and the economic potentials of rural areas through deliberations on entrepreneurship and employability as well as with the discussion on skills and training.
Besides these deliberations, strengthening the network of ERT practitioners as well as enlarging the network by bringing in other institutional and individual partners would also be an important aspect of the symposium. Through partnership on research, training, education, and in sharing experiences and knowledge, the network would eventually contribute to the ERT movement and practice. The papers that will be presented in the symposium and which will be later published in a journal and in the symposium proceedings are also specific outcomes of the symposium. There will also be a symposium website which will also contribute to dissemination and sharing deliberations made in the symposium. The symposium will also use social media sites to share the knowledge.
About 100 participants are expected to present papers on different themes identified for the symposium. Participants will join from many sectors, namely, researchers, practitioners, activists, students, and others representing universities, education and research institutions, government organizations, UN agencies, I/NGOs, and other agencies. Participants will be coming from all parts of the world, including Nepal, SAARC countries, China, Thailand, Australia, and Sweden. Some renowned Nepali and international scholars will be invited as keynote speakers. More particularly, the expected participants will be:
- Nepali academia, researchers and practitioners (20 persons)
- Government authorities, policy makers and development partners (20 persons)
- Research students and field level ERT practitioners/institutions (30 persons)
- International academia, researchers and practitioners (30 persons)
Individual and Panel Papers
Apart from keynote papers, mainly individual and panel papers will be presented and discussed in the symposium. For this purpose, abstracts for individual and panel papers are called as following:
Abstract 500-800 words
Full paper 5000-6000 words
Panel paper (a panel paper will include three to five individual papers)*
Panel abstract 1000-1500 words
Panel paper 12000-15000 words
*Irrespective of number of authors all papers that are not panel papers are individual papers
*Other submission details like formatting, etc. are provided in the website
Deadlines for submitting the abstracts and full papers for individual and panel papers are as following:
|30 April 2014||First abstract submission|
|21 May 2014||Review reports sent back to author/panel leader|
|15 June 2014||Final abstract submission|
|30 June 2014||Abstract acceptance information|
|30 August 2014||Final paper submission|
Registration Fees for the Symposium
|Early-bird Registration (by 31st June, 2014)||Late registration (by 7th September, 2014)|
|Nepali nationals : NRs. 10,000/Non-Nepali SAARC nationals NRs. USD 150Participants from outside SAARC USD 200Students (Nepali): NRs. 5,000||Nepali nationals : NRs. 12,000/Non-Nepali SAARC nationals NRs. USD 200Participants from outside SAARC USD 250Students (Nepali): NRs. 6,000|
Organizers and Partners
The symposium will be organized by Kathmandu University, School of Education (KUSOED), Nepal in collaboration with the Institute of International Education (IIE), Stockholm University, Sweden. The Comparative Education Society of Nepal (CESON) will also be a partnering agency. KUSOED would like to request other national and international agencies to extend their partnership and support the organization of this important sympoism
Available at http://www.nepalpolicynet.com/new/wp-admin/post-new.php