ShikshaLokam

Brewing Vidya Amrit Mahotsav - A Festival with Agency and Celebration as its Core Ingredients

The word ‘Festival’ or ‘Mahotsav’ evokes a sense of celebration, an extreme joy. Everyone, friends, family, comes together. The excitement is evident in wide smiles, hugs and heaps of sweets & delicacies lying around. One comes across all sorts of aromas and repeated bouts of laughter. One cannot help getting transported to sights and memories of Diwali, Eid, Durga Puja, Onam, Christmas, Guru Purab, Navaratri!

Apart from the cultural/ religious festivals, there are other causes which unifies people. Imagine large scale sports tournaments like the recently concluded Football World Cup, Cricket In India and Olympics globally. The same sense of excitement is palpable at Music and Film Festivals where people throng the venues, exulting, dancing. Another differentiator of a festival is the participant’s unique journey. Each family has their own rituals to perform. There are personalised music tastes people cater to, a curated list of films they watch.

Now imagine this for the education ecosystem in India. Along with NCERT, we have attempted to build this at the Vidya Amrit Mahotsav (VAM). It is an ongoing national education festival to recognise micro-improvements led pedagogical innovations by teachers and school leaders.
Micro-improvement is an approach toward change that helps a stakeholder to break down a big idea into clear, actionable tasks and modify it to suit their context.
Agency + Celebration as the Core Ingredients
The objective was twofold
  1. Encourage participation in the ongoing Shikshak Parv
  2. Encourage implementation and sharing of pedagogical innovations in the ecosystem
The Vidya Amrit Mahotsav Collective started with the intention to get the entire education ecosystem of the country to participate and  engage with purpose. The solution was found in designing and implementing an education ‘festival’.
The question for the team was how to get people to ‘do’ something and stay energised, and not just attend/ learn/ participate in a government initiative just because NCERT is rolling it out. The micro-improvements approach which empowers one to take action, improve their context, feel a sense of pride was adopted. Couple it with the idea of celebration of innovations in every school across the country.

VAM enables coming together, sharing with each other versus a focus on evaluation (of participant submissions of innovations they are undertaking in their schools) alone. Communication for the Mahotsav focuses on best practices, nudges, testimonials, pictures etc. versus only circulars and instructions from the top.

VAM also offered an opportunity to excite other players in the ecosystem. A festival by design fascinates people and holds many possibilities. Meghalaya looped in their artists to evangelise and evangelise the Mahotsav in the state. NCERT invited NGOs to support school/stakeholders/states in the implementation of the festival. 85+ NGOs are looped in for this.

Today, we are looking at 450000+ micro-improvement projects triggered across 22 states, to enhance the learning environment for students. Teachers, school leaders stand a chance to get recognised at both state and national level. They have enhanced their ability to break down complex challenges to micro-improvements. Imagine an ecosystem which is continuously improving, would it not build itself to offer an enabling, joyful learning environment for our students! Now imagine an education festival or two, every year and the outcomes it can achieve at scale, with speed and also sustainably.

This piece is first in the series about Vidya Amrit Mahotsav. Read the second piece about how different Sarkaar and Samaaj actors collectively brought this festival to realisation and the next one illustrating the steps we followed while designing the festival. 

Meet the Author

Neeraj Doddamane

Neeraj Doddamane

Neeraj Doddamane is the Chief Strategy Officer at ShikshaLokam. He is responsible for driving the organisation's growth. He also leads and orchestrates the organisation’s national programs and key strategic initiatives across teams such as ELEVATE, SolvED, EduMentumX to name a few.

Neeraj Doddamane

Neeraj Doddamane

Neeraj Doddamane is the Chief Strategy Officer at ShikshaLokam. He is responsible for driving the organisation's growth. He also leads and orchestrates the organisation’s national programs and key strategic initiatives across teams such as ELEVATE, SolvED, EduMentumX to name a few.