Public Engagement

The Institute aims to make social problems (such as the lack of basic opportunities in health, and education, or gender disparities) and their possible solutions a part of public discussion. It subscribes to the idea that public dialogue forums can serve as a ‘school of democracy’ through which people’s agency, their assertive voice and even ‘constructive impatience’ about unfair social arrangements are shaped and find a means of expression. To construct such a space for public deliberation, the Pratichi (India) Trust has been organising for the past several years regular public meetings on a variety of themes including parent-teacher collaboration in child education, child nutrition, mid-day meal, Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS), curriculum reforms, and right to education, involving on an average 250 participants. These public meetings attempt to avoid the elitist model of public discussion in which experts speak and others listen. On the contrary these assemblies try to provide the general public a platform to speak. Inspiring moments of public participation, for example, include occasions in which a Sahayika of an ‘ordinary’ Shishu Shiksha Kendra voices her opinions in a free and confident manner sitting right next to distinguished professors, academics and education officials.