As a generation we have been constantly exploring the purpose that fuels our thoughts, our beliefs and as a consequence – our actions. The Japanese often refer to this true purpose of living as “Ikigai”.
There are hundreds of stories of ikigai that rule out the idea of retirement or a natural end of your role at work.
One such story emerged during the Training Institution Strengthening Workshop conducted by Mantra4Change in association with Directorate of Training and Research, Bihar. The key objective of this workshop was to ideate a vision for innovative and effective DIET (District Institute of Educational Training) and come up with an implementable action plan.
Over 40 officials from 33 DIETs of the state were invited to co-create this brainstorming space along with a number of Non-Governmental Organisations in the education sector.
What does this have to do with Ikigai?
The co-creative space consisted not only of the current experts of DIET from the field but former officials as well, who continue to dream and aspire for an excellent education system, spined by strong support structures.
Over the last few years, the state has been re-imagining the utilization of DIET as a primary strength resource.
Dr. Binodanand Jha, who is currently the director of Research and Training Institute, Bihar has taken upon himself to identify organisations and individuals to strengthen DIET’s overall functioning in the state. The two-day workshop was a foundation to build this dream.
This is also the first time in 15 years that a DIET meeting was held at a State level.
This factoid is a conclusive proof that it just takes a few passionate individuals to ignite the fire of revolution and innovation. Ikigai is contagious. It just takes one person, like Dr. Binodanand Jha to create a ripple effect.
This space turned out to be lucid beyond anyone’s expectations or imagination. For a team with a wide range of age-groups and on ground experience, there was not only an unusual sense of collaboration but also a deep rooted commonality of intent. All their actions and thoughts were hanging from the same thread of purpose, which was to revolutionize the way DIETs have been functioning for the past few years.
The space envisioned how a strong on ground support would look like for both pre-service and in-service teachers and hence causing extra-ordinary classroom experience for the students.
Key focus areas were identified and elaborated through brain-storming sessions in smaller focus groups.
These focus-group discussions turned out to be rigorous and insightful, given the variety in age and expertise of the team members. A balance of out of the box thinking and pragmatism could be observed.
“The way different ideas from the experts came together on one table during the brainstorming session had a huge impact on me and I truly believe that these ideas have the potential to reshape the educational ecosystem if put into practice” says – Dr Suresh Kumar (Lecturer,DIET-Vaishali).
This element of the discussion also led to co-creation of a balanced 100-day action plan which addresses the current challenges in the system and simultaneously paves way for innovation. A catalogue of all macro and micro projects mapped to the key focus areas is also in the process of creation.
“The most outstanding part of this experience is the fact that we created a space where each of our voices could be heard. We could raise our concerns and co-create solutions that would impact the overall quality of our training colleges” says – Dr Shazia Fatma (Lecturer, DIET)
More often than not we as a system have the tendency to ignore the voices that matter. This may not be intentional but there is an increasing need to intentionally create spaces for an inclusive voice and representation of reality. Forums like these are of paramount importance to cultivate a sense of transparency and accountability.
Identification, Collaboration and Nurturing of relevant leaders and leadership structures are crucial precursors to transformation of any ecosystem.
The two day Institutional strengthening workshop held at Bihar with the education department is a testimonial to this belief.