PARI: Students, Teachers, Researchers & Education
PARI aims to help create informative and lively educational resources for students, teachers, schools, colleges and universities. Teaching and learning materials including textbooks will increasingly move online in the next few years. That's a process already on in some parts of the world. Done right, it could mean 'textbooks' or teaching material that can be added to, amended, updated or widened. As broadband access grows, it should also mean lower costs for many students, as PARI is a free-access-to-Public site.
At PARI, we aim to add another element to that process: get students to participate in the creation of their own 'textbooks.' If a teacher or an institution wants to set up learning resources for a course or part of a course, we would work with them to create the course content. Say that's on rural labour or migrants or agriculture or artisans. We would try and involve the students of that teacher or institution in creating live material through field trips. So their videos, audio recordings, text articles could not only be fetching them marks or grades in the course, but also become part of a flexible and 'open textbook.'
Also a video on, say, agricultural labourers where the workers themselves are the narrators; where they'd be addressing audiences themselves, sharing and explaining their lives, work and world - that would make for far more compelling material. It would certainly hold the attention of students, teachers, researchers and general viewers alike, far better than printed material dated by some years. Especially since it would combine the power of text articles, research papers, video, audio and still photo materials. PARI has specific guidelines for videos generated for us, which ensure recognition of primary authorship of the narrators themselves. Meanwhile, just the interaction of students with the people whose lives they're trying to study, and their joint effort with the community to produce authentic material about itself, is also a powerful source of learning.
There's another thing: each year countless students at innumerable institutions produce valuable output on India. In the form of research papers, articles, videos, documentaries, magazines, photographs and more. Excellent though some of this material is, it mostly disappears into departmental libraries, exam paper cupboards or the uncharted cemeteries of cyberspace. But for institutions that link up with us, PARI offers a platform for that would preserve, even showcase, that output and make it accessible and easy to view from anywhere in the world. In turn, the knowledge that their work would be viewed by thousands across the globe, would be an incentive for students to raise the level and quality of their work.
Besides this, there are students in universities, colleges and high schools working on text articles, audio and video, independently of their course work, for PARI.
And there is also our "Resources" section where we aim to put up (in full text and not just via links), all official (and unofficial but credible) reports relating to Rural India. For instance, every one of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) reports; those of the Planning Commission and ministries, UN bodies and much more. Researchers will not have to surf multiple sites to access vital reports and studies from different sources.