I have been writing about education in the public domain for years. With a genuine heart, with passion, with research to back me up – both mine and received. I had a few rules – I will not quote data that I do not trust in my public writing, I won’t waste precious words on derivative stuff – quoting other research and previously discovered good work, and I will present a constructive view and a partial solution to the deeper issues that are at the root of what ails education, especially in India. Seven years later, I was still full of fire. Still had much to write. And I stopped.
Suddenly. One day, it was pens down.
People asked me why?
I was not burnt out. I was not giving up in frustration. I was not upset, or unable. There was a wonderful, engaged and engaging audience. And influencers who listened. I had just done a review of my work over the past seven years. Eight in ten of them had suggestions, actionable items, and of them, seven out of ten had found themselves in either policy speak or documents. They were adopted in one way or another. That was success, a reason to keep driving forward. I had evidently found a way to be heard – not just because it made sense, but also because it was so eminently sensible in response to a current situation. This was good. My key goal, of ensuring that the education conversation does not flag was also met – there were now enough and more writers in education. When I started, there were almost none. To grow one’s own competition and do so invisibly was a key goal for me. Even if I disagreed with them, their views were valuable. They kept the debate alive. To see a surfeit of education commentators with deep knowledge is one of my joys today.
I still stopped. For a while.
For the sake of the conversation – I stopped. Each of us must have the humility to realise that they must grow, and for that to happen, the field has to be vacated for a while. It has to lie fallow, or one must allow other crops to grow. Each of us must step beyond one’s own knowledge and confidence to engage in doubt. In renewal.
I have continued to speak in this time, both globally and in India. It has been my privilege to be invited to the finest and most glamorous forums – where meaningful conversations actually bring about real change, if slowly. I am always ready and willing to share what I have learnt across classrooms, policy discussions and macro economic analysis of education – and in this I have been privileged to have learnt from the greats – and those who turned out to be not so great. Each of them is my guru, as are my students and co-learners in the journey to make education more meaningful to lives and livelihoods.
And so, now, I find myself ready for the next. Some of the old, and more of the new. I have never chosen the conventional path to learn about learning, or to share those learnings. (The conventional way has many people there already, doing an excellent job.) I have always explored and proved the new ways of teaching and learning, of writing formally and speaking, of building models and proving or disproving impact.
My key values for the conversation on education remain the same – inclusion, equity and value addition. To these ends, I have build an online conversation on education called #eduin that has been on since 2103, every month where we all grow our knowledge of different views and expert insights in education. I have sought these values in the projects that I pilot and then pass on to others to carry forward as businesses or not for profits – or as a part of what they will build. The lessons from these remain for me to share with you all.
And so, in the spirit of my personal motto – which is that ‘Learning is Sharing’, I return. To share as much as I can, for as long as I can. You will continue to be able to follow my writing that is backed up on http://www.eduvichar.wordpress.com, and keep up with my other work at http://www.meetawsengupta.com, while conversing with me on twitter @meetasengupta where I do track and share global conversations on education, and other matters that interest or excite me. (I will continue with my other interests in writing too, as you will discover there).
This next phase feels exciting and promising as I look at the pipeline of what can be achieved. I hope you look forward to being invited to the conversations that I intend to curate this year, both online and offline, both exploratory and targeted, both open access and expert driven and each time seeking to bring rigorous and specific answers to this question – how do we make it better.
Yes, I am back.