Anita Borkar has worked as the Regional Coordinator of the Training for Transformation programme of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE) for over a decade.
Anita Borkar: During my professional training in social work, I was fascinated by the power of dialogue in the communities. Various community groups came together to discuss and deliberate on a host of issues confronting them. They constantly sought information and knowledge on topics relevant to their lives, and as a young professional I was enthused to provide it to them. My role gradually evolved to jointly gathering information and sharing knowledge, employing participatory methods to engage community groups for critical reflections on their lived realities. I worked mostly with women and girls from the marginalised communities in India and was, and continue to be, inspired by how they have been able to negotiate and transform their lives through seeking relevant education, at different stages in their lives. This proved to be a mutual learning experience for me which enriched my professional as well as personal growth. Over the years, I became deeply involved with networks on adult and community education in India, and was able to witness adult education as an enabling agent of transformation, for individual and collective living.
After more than twenty years of work in India, I accepted the opportunity to work with ASPBAE at the regional level in Asia and the South Pacific countries. My work here involves working with our member organisations – NGOs and CSOs active in youth and adult education, advancing education practice at the community level and education policy advocacy at the national and regional levels. We work in close partnership with our member organisations to strengthen their transformative education practice on various issues that confront communities of adults and young people. I am talking for example about low levels of literacy, climate change, disaster management, sustainable livelihoods, gender and education, life skills, inclusive education, among others. ASPBAE regularly organises capacity building events, including consultations, conferences, training, study exchanges, festivals of learning, etc., at the regional level, for different levels of functionaries from among our membership.
Among the most meaningful adult education methods for me are the ones that are based on transformative and participatory approaches. As compared to others, these lend themselves to mutual learning, and contribute to building ownership in the learning process, for all concerned.
I equate adult education with the “breath of life” – not only for an individual but for all the communities we belong to as well – in our collective journey striving towards coexistence in freedom and dignity for all on this planet.
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