storm at CIES/ Intl Edu./Banglas defeat Indians/Pied Piper of Malawi

From last Sunday:

 

Just after watching the Oscars and seeing Water, Pursuit of Happyness and Superman go down while the Queen (of England), The King (of Scotland) and etc etc reign supreme – I feel still thrilled by the days events which seem more dramatic than any of the movie-clippings shown at the Oscars.

 

In December I had planned to go to a conference of Comparative and International Education Society – to be held closeby (30 miles from my home in Baltimore) -it was held last time in Honolulu , Hawaii.

 

I had decided not to attend it after taking up a new job and having been scheduled to present a project proposal of an Assamese school at www.ashanet.org/dc meet today . But I still wnet to CIES meet since ASHA meet  got cancelled due to snow storm and then Manish Joshi – my ex-roomate and Hollywood host (of July 06) was leaving for LA via BWI airport, Baltimore so gave me a lift till there in Edison's car.

 

Ploughing thru snow in snow shoes (wearing black coat and dress pant still) I reached there (Sheraton hotel) in another 45 minutes just before it was closing for the day and just in time for the GBM meeting/reception .  http://www.cies.us/

 


 

There on being called upon to share views (anyone) I got sudden courage (not dutch) to speak up at the conference in front of 500 members including senior professors, World, UNESCO and other officials -to say something which I had been saying all along to friends on Assamnet and elsewhere: that Indian non-profits have come of age and should/can work side-by-side with US ones (like www.aed.org which was sponsoring the GBM meeting at Grand Ballroom of Sheraton Inner Harbor, Baltimore) .

 

My suggestion did not go well (predicatbly) with a World Bank official who commented (just after I left off) that she receives resumes every week and the International Education programs ofthe univs are not good enough. The graduates know nothing (specific). (I had already introduced myself of being a graduate of Harvard's Intl. Ed. program now volunteering for www.ashanet.org after various non-profits in DC told me they will not be able to sponsor my visa. And that currently I am exploring US curriculum and teaching.) The chairperson did not seem pleased with her remarks and asked what should be taught in the international and comparative education programs.

 

World Bank official remarked that quantitative analysis , should be taught and psychology is a must -the students should be sent to psychology department to study neuro-psychology, and two more kinds of psychology.

 

 I may not be Sigmund Freud but I do remember Harvard's School of Education's World famous Psychology expert Howard Gardner and his celebrated “multiple inteligences theory) and also reading and discussing in Prof. Schiefelbein's class how our brains are wired and how learning takes place and somewhat about how neurons are developed in the process. Two of my 8 courses at Harvard were in quantititive techniques in social research.

 

Suddenly (much later) I got a sneaking feeling this World Bank official had never attended an International Education program and had no idea about them. Intl Ed. programs are a new phenomena which might be disconcerting to old guard -just like MBAs seemed to threaten old guard in Indian private and govt banks in 1990s (who were just B. Commerce/ or Accountants)

 

Benjamin Piper a doctoral student at Harvard and recently profiled by Harvard News for his work in Malawi -greeted me just before I stood up to speak. Later he told me that Harvard Intl Ed professor Reimers is not coming to the conference and so I left to catch the last train to BWI airport (which incidently stopped midway since electric rails had got frozen -so got on a special bus sent for us by BAltimore MTA) and came back just in time to see the Oscars.


 

Though I am scheduled to present at CIES on coming Tuesday I won't be going ( I will use the $95 fee money to buy a TI-83 graphing calculator and use it to take next Sat. a high school teacher  Math exam for teacher license (useful not only for jobs but also for immigration officials on visa/immigration application) , Anyway I got to say my speech in front of 500 people -instead of 5 people (seeing my audience at CIES, Stanford univ in 2005). I did telll them how I was there without expecting to be there.

 

Any comments.

 

Umesh

 

PS: Just after the World Bank officials comments a South Asian stood up and said he was from BRAC, Bangladesh — a celebrated non profit much discussed in CIES circles. India has nothing like it. ofcourse Yunus and Grameen Bank won the Nobel.

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