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Telecentre Academy
» Telecentre Academy

Informal like 'Nature': Academy Counsellors’ Workshop on the Telecentre Management Course

‘Open’, ‘Informal’, ‘Participatory’, ‘Impromptu’, ‘Extempore’ are some of the words that describe the Academy Counsellors’ Workshop on the Telecentre Management Course held on 29 – 30th November 2010 at the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, Wadala, Mumbai. The surroundings in which this two day residential workshop was held also echo the same sentiments. Cradled in the lap of nature, it was cool, pristine and simply beautiful that gave every opportunity to the participants and the facilitators to become informal and mix with each other. The workshop was jointly organized by the Academy, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).

The workshop was held to explore the following objectives:
1. To introduce the course to the telecentre practitioners and grassroots workers;
2. To motivate and encourage the participants to become Academy Counsellors;
3. To develop a TAC manual of operation in a participatory way with the help of the participants;
4. And to hold a consultation on the formation of an Indian Telecentre Network on the lines of other Telecentre Networks around the world.

These objectives were achieved in a participatory way with the active engagement of all the participants. The workshop was facilitated by Amparo Preethika M De Asis, Manager, Capacity Building, Foundation, Ashis Sanyal, Senior Director, Department of Information Technology (DIT), Government of India, Vignesh Sornamohan, Programme Officer, Academy Global Secretariat and Nancy Anabel from MSSRF. The workshop was conducted around a combination of conventional plenary sessions and open space methodologies, like group activities, such as poster making and brain storming, and speed geeking.

While the plenary sessions consisted of PowerPoint Presentations (PPTs) to introduce the Academy and the Telecentre Managers’ Training Curriculum developed by it in association with its partners; the rest of the sessions used speed geeking and group activities to introduce the courses to the participants and augment their understanding. The facilitators had a minimal role to play during these group activities that sought to elicit feedback on the course and the role of the TACs. In fact, they were astounded to see the level of their understanding of the courses in particular and Indian telecentres in general, whatever the model.

The most fascinating part of the whole exercise was the presentations made by the participants on the Training Curriculum. They were asked to select any media, like audio, video, or PPTs to reflect their understanding of the course. And what all the facilitators and participants witnessed on the last day of the workshop was amazing. They used a variety of media for their presentations on the courses. They presented it through small video clips, PPTs, dance, and skits.

Throughout the workshop, participants' energy levels were very high and they participated in every activity with enthusiasm. Irrespective of gender, region, language, age, they were successful in conveying their ideas, suggestions and advise. In short, it was a successful workshop.

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