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Re: [arkitectindia] invitation to participate in round 2 dialogue

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  • Sankrant Sanu
    Dear Manish, I agree completely on the NO! to certificates and degrees idea. The certificate is embedded in the notion of authority - -the authority of the
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 15, 2005
      Dear Manish,
      I agree completely on the NO! to certificates and degrees idea. The certificate is embedded in the notion of authority - -the authority of the institution and that of the state (that certifies the institution). This is not how traditional societies have operated, nor has India operated in this manner. The idea of centralizing and certifying knowledge and "academic" authority by a "seal of approval" itself emanates from models of hierarchical religious institutions, that were deeply embedded with higher education in Europe.
      In more recent times -- "non-certificate holding traditional healers and health practitioners were outlawed in different ways during colonial rule -- a trend that continues today in India. As the pharmaceutical companies gain greater leverage over the Indian medical establishment (already manyprominent doctors get lots of "freebees" from the pharma companies --include all expense-paid foreign trips) it would not be surprising if the laws start being enforced in a more draconian way preventing local rural healers from working, ostensibly in the name of "science", but ultimately to privilege institutional certification and corporate interests.
      I write all this simply to make you aware that there is a bigger dimension to the certification issue and I am glad that you are taking that up. Even today children are needlessly subjected to the flawed idea that 15 years of education (for a B.A.) actually prepares them for something. In reality it prepares them for very little other than obtaining a certificate that can then be used to get a "job." For rural children, the English Class System in India (http://www.sulekha.com/column.asp?cid=305803) still relegates them to urban chapprassi-hood despite getting the degree -- a class system woefully under-researched in Indian academics and its colonially mandated obsession with caste.
      Luckily, even in the corporate world, some parts are changing. When I hired people at Microsoft, I never ever looked at their certificates. This is the Microsoft culture -- Bill Gates himself never finished college. Employment is based on passing a full day interview -- though unfortunately degrees do get looked at in resume screening. Hopefully Indian software companies will follow suit, though prejudice based on English speaking (and even "accent") remains a huge barrier to entry (Even more surprising, since I used to hire programmers in the US after flying them for interviews from Russia -- when they barely spoke a work of English.) Best wishes on your campaign!
      Regards, Sankrant.
    • meher engineer
      i agree with the contention. But it has to be got into the thick head of the State before its stranglehold on our society can be released: that requires
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 18, 2005
        i agree with the contention. But it has to be got into the thick head of the State before its stranglehold on our society can be released: that requires changing the blind beliefs of the millons of Indian parents who believe that the degree makes the person and are blind to everything else about him, ot her. 
        Nothing in your writeup suggests, to me, that you are focussing on this as the best way forward. are you?
        meher engineer       

        Manish Jain <shikshantar@...> wrote:

                           September 13, 2005

        Dear friend,

        We are writing to you because we both believe that there can be a better world and that we have the responsibility and the ability to help co-create it. We have all dreamt of, and tried to experiment with more just and peaceful alternatives. Today we invite you to take yet another step on the journey towards a more honest and sane world by saying “NO!” to certification and degrees in your organizations.


        Saying NO! to certification and degrees means saying no to superficial ways of evaluating a person’s worth and to an unjust and inherently discriminatory system.  Saying NO! to certificates and degrees means saying YES!!! to promoting more dedicated and passionate people and to valuing and respecting peoples’ diverse skills, choices and life journeys. It also represents a direct step in reducing the power of institutions over our lives. We believe that social sector groups must take the lead in this initiative. Following corporate or bureaucratic management models and criteria can not and will not lead to real social change. We hope you will join us in saying NO! to certificates and degrees and saying YES!!! to diverse possibilities for creating healthy and more vibrant learning societies.


        At Shikshantar, for over seven years, we have worked with numerous volunteers and team members. At no point in the process have we ever asked anyone for their degree or formal qualifications. In fact, through our own experiences, we have learned that a degree never tells us anything about the wisdom a person possesses, the knowledge they have of local languages, the creativity they utilize when recycling waste materials, the love they have for children, the commitment they have to their own community, their interest in listening to and learning from new perspectives — in short, it does not tell us about any of the things that truly matter to us in our work.  We ask applicants to write or talk in detail about their areas of interest and burning questions, as well as to offer portfolios of their practical experiences. Our experience has also shown us that most of what we need to know we learn on the job, while responding to the ever-changing contexts of our work.


        We invite you to:

        1. Say “No!” to certificates and degrees!  Refuse to consider them in your hiring or promotion processes and instead value a wider range of criteria to identify people with multiple talents and a high level of personal commitment and self-initiative.
        2. In your hiring process, encourage applicants to submit portfolios which highlight their diverse skills and experiences as well as indicate their own personal learning plans.
        3. Share with us your own thoughts about the limitations of certificates and the alternatives you are creating in your own group. Join the growing list of social sector groups who do not require degrees.

        We have enclosed a brief background note along with some initial responses [in attachment]. We are planning to compile a booklet with your stories, comments, experiences and feedback in order to take this movement forward.  We hope to hear from you soon.

        Best wishes,

        Manish Jain <shikshantar@...>


        Why say NO to diplomas and certificates as the basis for hiring and promotion?                                - Shikshantar Andolan


        What matters to you when thinking about who to work with? What qualities, skills, and strengths do you value?   Certificates and degrees fail to reveal any information about a person’s passions, commitment, and values.  They even fail to demonstrate what creative expressions, practical skills and deep learnings people possess. By opening up our hiring processes to focus on the breadth and depth of peoples’ real experiences, we gain new ideas about the wide range of contributions that individuals can make to our organizations and to the communities we work with.  For our work, we need to look both at what people have done, as well as who they are.  Therefore, saying no to certificates and degrees is not a charity or a form of reservation; it is our way of ensuring that we find the right fit on all levels.  For example, many of us have been burned by elite institution graduates who just want to use our organizations as a stepping stone, in order to add a ‘grassroots experience’ to their resumes. When we are free from qualifications, we can connect with local people who not only have significant skills and talents, but who also care for the well-being of our local communities for the long-term.  


        What real learning do ‘qualifications’ actually measure?  Degrees only privilege learning that takes place in a classroom.  Yet, most learning — and all application — takes place beyond a classroom setting. Work, volunteering, travel, and self-directed projects are all part of each person’s larger web of learning.  These hands-on experiences contribute immeasurably to what skills and abilities we have, but are rarely identified or valued. Degrees and diplomas are in many ways discriminatory as they tend to bias a narrow range of human intelligences, capacities and cultures. They only reflect how well one is able to memorize facts or perform well on tests, criteria that really mean nothing when working with communities. As R. Dore warns in The Diploma Disease (1976), “More qualification-earning is mere qualification-earning – ritualistic, tedious, suffused with anxiety and boredom, destructive of curiosity and imagination – in short, anti-educational.”


        What kind of world are we trying to nurture?  By continuing to place value on degrees, we are, in short, reinforcing the violent global political economy.  We are validating the monoculture of the dominant system of education and the monopoly of institutionalized experts and professionals.  We all know that the vast majority of people who gain access to these institutions are also those who tend to come from segments of society which already possess cultural and economic capital. They are already very privileged by mainstream standards, and hide behind the myth of meritocracy. Affirmative action programs and reservations have done very little to change this situation. Demanding certificates and degrees serves to validate and expand the reach of this injustice.  If one of our shared objectives is to bring greater equality and justice to our world, then we have to start by questioning and challenging mainstream educational institutions which are one of the strongest pillars upholding elitism, social hierarchy, control and exploitation.  The time has come to seriously face the question:

        Whose agenda do certificates and diplomas really serve?


        Shikshantar: The Peoples' Institute for Rethinking Education and Development
        21 Fatehpura
        Udaipur, Rajasthan, INDIA

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      • NAPY coordinators
        Dear List, With great pleasure I would like to invite you all at the Youth FORCE at the 10th International Women s HEalth Meeting here in Hotel Ashok New
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 19, 2005

          Dear List,

          With great pleasure I would like to invite you all at the Youth FORCE at the 10th International Women's HEalth Meeting here in Hotel Ashok New Delhi.


          IWHM Youth Force

          The  International Women’s Health Meeting-IWHM Youth Force is an informal network of young people, youth activists, YOUTH Led Networks Organization from both developing and developed countries attending the 2005,10 International Women’s Health Meeting New Delhi. The force has been organized by Network of Asia Pacific Youth- NAPY. The other allies of the network are Youth Coalition (International), Youth Against AIDS (Global), Advocates for Youth (US), ASTRA Youth ( EU), CHOICE for youth and sexuality ( The Netherlands), Lentswe La Rona ( Africa) , REDLAC ( Latin America) , Global Youth AIDS Coalition, PLUS ( India), Joythi welfare Society ( India).


          The goals of the IWHM Youth Force are to:

          ·         Raise the visibility of youth participants, youth voices and youth issues at the conference;

          ·         Ensuring meaning full participation to provide Youth Perspective in the conference out come.

          ·         Work more closely with youth to ensure their partnership in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs and policies.







                          Regular Youth Meeting: Youth who are Present at the meeting will meet every day in the caucus twice (Morning and Evening) for orientation and report back and changes. This caucus will also prepare The Statement from Youth.  All young people are invited to be part of the Caucus. The caucus will also inform you about the Detail program and up date the Youth Activities.


          SPEAK YOUR MIND:    24th September 2005 ,NAPYwill  Organize International Youth CAUCUS “Speak Your Mind” .where we the young people will share the common space, concern, Struggle and Achievement. All the youth network will be present and we discussing the Future Strategy for Tomorrows.  We also review Youth Participation at the IWHM and strategies the future Participation and discuss the Final Statement from Youth.



          Youth Stall:  At the International Exhibition we have a free space to put our poster banner, Art work to showcasing our  Our voice,our rights . You are encouraged to bring you’re your material for distribution, show casing..if you forget to bring be use your creativity. We are always for your help .You can Reach to us


          Network of Asia Pacific Youth- NAPY

          Contact Person: Agniva, Sonali, RD, Thuy

          Phone: 9899553157

          Email: napy_coordinators@...   agniva@...



          Agniva Lahiri


          Netwrok of Asia Pacific Youth

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