Teesta Setalvad

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2003


This profile was prepared when Teesta Setalvad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
Teesta is making Indian classrooms places where teaching finds a relevance in promoting values like democracy and social justice by introducing a curriculum that teaches children how to grow up to be tolerant, secular citizens of a multicultural, multiracial democracy. Employing interactive methods and a sound theoretical framework in the learning, teaching, and writing of history, the curriculum promotes understanding of contemporary human rights and social issues. By exposing students to the pluralism of India, it teaches them to celebrate diversity and revitalizes the content and teaching of history, a subject often seen by students as uninteresting.
To spread her curriculum across India–and eventually across South Asia–Teesta is training teachers to take up her approach to value education in their schools. She is also building a national advocacy campaign that both identifies caste, religion, and gender biases in textbooks approved by state education boards and draws attention to her new curriculum through advocacy with state education ministers.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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