Fifty different schools’ joint efforts, thirteen separate Indian states represented and one hundred and twenty graphic novels being made - this is how our CBSE schools are adapting to the new education policy. Bringing textbook learning to the real world, these graphic novels are made with subjects and topics taken from the NCERT books. A single chapter is divided into topics throughout one comic book with worksheets to follow, supporting the earning of grade 3 through 12 in a more comprehensive and engaging way.
In 2019, while conducting the “History Festival,” Mr. Sandeep Sethi, the Director Education M.S.M.S II Museum Trust, Jaipur, first developed a graphic novel on the French Revolution. Ms. Anita Karwal, Secretary, Department of Education, acclaimed the efforts and wanted to see more such novels being made. Immediately after that, India witnessed the first evolution of national policy regarding education (in 2020), in over three decades. The NEP 2020 soon became the base for the new graphic novels that were developed this year and were released by Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ the Indian Education Minister, on 8 March 2021, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
These books with a unique mission support topics that usually don’t make it to our textbooks, such as inclusion, gender sensitivity, women empowerment and value of education among other life skills. A story line is created for each comic so the students can relate to the character, and have worksheets at the end of every topic to support the lessons learnt. The best part about these books is that they have been created by teachers and students of these fifty Indian schools. Right from the illustrations to the storyline, from script writing to technical details, everything is done in house by these institutes. While developing, suggestions for improvement were taken by the students of the targeted grades. The cherry on the top is that these graphic novels are being converted into audio-visual copies for a better impact in the lives of students with vision impairment. The comics are available in English and Hindi on the Indian Government’s DIKSHA platform for education, for free!
During an elongated conversation with ScooNews, Mr. Sethi, Director Education, spoke about the pedagogical training of teachers based on the graphic novels that is being held by the Museum Trust for over six months now. In order to bring learning to a new level where the education system is hoping that children would rather learn from these comic books, the teachers are needed to be trained in using application based teaching.
On being asked how these graphic books are gender-sensitive and support women empowerment, Mr. Sethi said, “We shouldn’t wait any longer to break those societal barriers that degrade one gender. We can't have the father working in an office and the mother cooking in the kitchen all the time. With these novels, we want to show the roles can be switched as the circumstances demand. We’ve shown mother as an engineer and father as a homemaker. Even in the aspects of casteism, we have made sure to teach children not to stereotype a particular sect through these comics.”
Interestingly, there are more such novels to come up in the future. “We are not stopping at just 120 graphic novels. We plan to go for another lot of 100 and so on. Moreover, these comics can further be translated into any language as per the students’ requirements,” Mr. Sethi enlightened as he shared more details on this brilliantly executed revolutionary project.
Talking about the outcome of this educational venture, Mr. Sethi shared about the possibilities of teaching-learning experience becoming more eventful and positive in the coming years. He said, “Who doesn't want to hear an interesting story instead of the same old textbook chapters? The graphic novels that we’re creating are a way of helping teachers teach better and more effectively, without getting the students bored. In fact, following this particular pedagogy, we’re hoping that the students’ understanding of basics will become easier and the retention power will get stronger.”
With this, Mr. Sethi also hopes that, in the coming month, while working on more such comics, other schools that could not participate this time will come forward to become a part of this project. He and the Museum Trust are welcoming one and all to join them in the venture of revolutionising the learning process.
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