Fellow Since 2003
Science Communicator's Forum
This profile was prepared when Abhijit Bardhan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Beginning in rural West Bengal, Abhijit is launching a national teachers' movement that advocates large-scale reforms in curriculum and teaching methods in government schools. A teacher in a remote, rural government school, Abhijit has generated large-scale interest and enthusiasm among the teachers who now realize that teaching can be fun even in a resource-poor, large student population. He introduces teachers to scientific experiments, mathematical puzzles, and mapping of the local environment to understand social science concepts. These techniques are then used in the classroom to make the lessons interesting and interactive, thus improving student attendance and enthusiasm toward school work. Abhijit is making learning more relevant to the future lives of the students and is relating what is in the books to their "real" environment. He is engaging the students in a dialogue and discussion so that they remember what they learn. The aim is to adapt their cognitive abilities to the needs of a changing social system.