IIT Madras conducts workshop for educators to implement Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS)

Director of IITM, Prof V Kamakoti gave an immensely inspiring address to all educators on the potential impact IKS
IIT Director Prof V Kamakoti addressing the gathering | (Pic: IIT Madras)
IIT Director Prof V Kamakoti addressing the gathering | (Pic: IIT Madras)

The Center for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS) at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras along with Anaadi Foundation organised a half-day workshop on October 18, Wednesday, at IIT Madras for educational leaders on the potential benefits and pathways of integrating Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) in school curriculum to add greater value to pedagogy of Math and Science. Close to 200 educational leaders and teachers from schools in and around Chennai participated with great enthusiasm. Participating educators were eager to know how as per the new National Education Policy, IKS can be a curricular and co-curricular value addition to the current pedagogical context. They also gained key information on how IKS Clubs and Camps can be organised.  

Prof Jyotirmaya Tripathy, HoD of HSS Department, extended his warm welcome to all. Director of IIT Madras, Prof V Kamakoti gave an immensely inspiring address to all educators on the potential impact IKS can have on children, as well as teachers. He said, “The traditional approach of teaching alphabets with statements of positive values such as Āthichūdi in Tamil are pedagogical strategies to be inspired from. By knowing the scientific contributions of Annambhatta, Bodhayana and such stalwarts, our children must take pride in these accomplishments, which will in turn give them the confidence to face the world.”

Following that, Prof S Ganti Murthy, the National Coordinator of the IKS Division under the Ministry of Education (MoE), along with the Director of IIT Madras launched an upcoming library of IKS videos for children produced by Anaadi Foundation and CIKS. Prof Murthy underlined the various measures being undertaken by the IKS division of MoE in creating opportunities in higher education as well as dedicated research centres for IKS. He encouraged school educators to look at IKS as an enabler for multidisciplinary integrated learning and to introduce relevant content appropriately. Prof Aditya Kolachana of CIKS at IIT Madras, shared his personal account of how he was inspired to take up IKS moving away from his earlier career trajectory after his graduation from IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad. He also invited teachers to participate in courses offered by CIKS at IIT Madras.

Adinarayanan, Founder, Anaadi Foundation and Adjunct Prof of Practice at NRCVEE, IIT Delhi, shared insights from his rich experience of teaching IKS for close to two decades. He brought out anecdotal examples to show how IKS profoundly impacts education and said “Today, the need to focus on questions of ecology, human society and fulfillment in life are crucial to living well. Appropriate introduction to IKS can help set the right foundation for these three, and empower youth to take on challenges for the future.,” he said.

V Gomathi, CEO of Anaadi Foundation moderated a discussion on “Why IKS”. The august panel included Prof MD Srinivas, Prof Aditya Kolachana, Dr DK Hari, Dr Hema Hari, Mali Nandakumar and Megh Kalyanasundaram. The panel brought out various merits of introducing IKS at school level, the ways to go about it, other civilisational parallels and how it naturally instills pride in knowing scientifically accurate accomplishments in our traditional knowledge systems.

Following the panel discussion, there was a session on pathways to implement IKS at Schools by Smrithi Adinarayanan, Co-Founder of Dharma Gurukulam and Gurupriya Chaitanya, Pradhana Acharya at Dharma Gurukulam and Research Scholar from IIT Bombay. They brought out examples of how geometry, quadratic identities, wellness and astronomy were taught in traditional texts and the merits of drawing from the rich pedagogical texts in ancient commentaries. They presented models for organising IKS Clubs, whole-school camps and teachers’ capacity-building programmes in IKS.

The Unboxing Tech Toolkit, by the Pranava Institute, is an interactive resource that helps students create a healthy relationship with technology, was also presented at the event. The toolkit, which has been presented at global conferences, can be used by teachers and schools to teach digital wellbeing and environmentally sustainable technology use to students.

The principal of a visiting school said, “For educators, as well as our teachers, this workshop has helped us with understanding how scientific thinking is integrated into our civilisational best practices and how Indian Math, Astronomy and medicinal texts provide us pedagogical approaches that help children move away from a euro-centric view of science and appreciate the scientific heritage of India and other civilisations.”

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