Fellow Since 2000
"Kathalaya Academy of Storytelling"
This profile was prepared when Geeta Ramanujam was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
What Geeta sees in Indian schools troubles her: teachers teach straight from textbooks, and students pass their exams relying on the age-old art of rote memorization. Geeta wants schools to foster in India's children the creativity, independence, and participation that will make them successful adults and citizens. To replace monotony with variety, apathy with enthusiasm, Geeta has begun a project to use storytelling as a teaching tool. Although some Indian teachers have told stories to children, this is usually a departure from the curriculum; Geeta links stories to the textbooks and curriculum in use, complementing and reinforcing them. Her program encourages children to doubt, examine, and question the society they live in.