Digantar has been organizing the Certificate Programme in Foundations of Education since August 2005. This is another attempt by Digantar to move towards realizing its aim of ensuring quality and access to education which it has been pursuing since its inception in 1978. The programme is an attempt to situate educational practice within the realms of theory, through an understanding of the larger sociological, philosophical and psychological perspectives which underlie the educational endeavour. Being deeply embedded in ideas which reflect the educational discourse, the course tries not only to reflect on the nature and pedagogy of different subject areas but also tries to deliberate, contest and understand the variegated space surrounding education. This is reflected in initiating discussions on issues like the idea of human being, idea of society and the context of learners, teaching learning process, curriculum and policy frameworks, assessment, teacher education, research in education and finally followed by a school visit. The main purpose and thrust of these workshops is to arrive at an overarching understanding of the broad conceptual framework of what ‘education’ is, and gradually come to a comprehension of the processes that may be involved in being able to operationalise the aims of education in schools – in other words, an understanding of what would constitute the foundations of education. All in all, the programme helps in situating elementary education praxis in theory rather than just limiting schooling as an endeavor to develop merely literacy and numeracy skills in children.
The programme consists of a series of four workshops, each workshop spread over a period of 12 working days, and covering three courses. The workshop is conducted in an interactive mode with the day divided into three sessions of around one and a half hour each in addition to a morning feedback session. There is a constant attempt to involve the participants in the deliberations. Courses link theory and practice in a manner that engenders reflection. This understanding is aimed to be reached through a process that involves reading, exchange of ideas, discussion and examination of issues in a holistic manner, reflecting on them individually and in the course of group-work: an exercise that leads to clarity - of concepts and potential practices.