“Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”
― William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
At this time I am looking forward to getting home. To see my family and to return to home comforts. By keeping busy whilst away I manage to fend off any semblance of home sickness, but I am never the less eager to journey west. But as ever, the leaving of India and the many friends who are here is tinged with sadness. This is a country and a people of whom I have grown increasingly fond.
For a brief time we came together here in Bangalore, tutors and students, teachers and learners working together on a common theme. And before too long we will join together again, united in an effort to understand what we can about teaching and learning and working for a more just and equitable education landscape. Our determination to challenge the exclusion and marginalisation of any child remains as strong as ever.
It is the privilege of my involvement in this work and knowing that I am in the company of such committed colleagues that always makes the journey worthwhile. Jayashree and Johnson, our two Indian tutors demonstrate the professionalism that enables our teaching here to succeed. At times there are anxieties and frustrations when progress appears too slow, but these are more than compensated by the determined focus of students and friends upon the eventual goal of an inclusive education system and a more accepting society. The steps we take in this direction are small, but the alternative is to remain motionless and inert.
During the past days we have discussed and debated, argued and disputed, puzzled over many challenging problems and sought together to find solutions and develop more inclusive approaches to learning. We have shared in laughter and thrived on friendship and above all we have respected and listened to the many different routes that each of has taken towards greater understanding.
So it is that we will return in ever greater anticipation of what might be accomplished . April and September will see a reunion of tutors and students tackling the issues of how we can better commit our schools to the inclusive agenda. India is a country of exciting opportunities and will undoubtedly become a leading example to many other nations as a democratic society committed to improvements in the lives of all its citizens. This will not happen overnight, but is certain to be the destiny of this diverse and complex nation.
But for now the sweet sorrow of parting must give way to a period of reflection. At the outset of this blog I suggested that “perhaps there will be new learning along the way and then maybe I will persist”. This was a new venture and one upon which I embarked with some apprehension and more than a little sceptisism. Having given it a try I am grateful for the observations posted in response to my comments and heartened that so many people around the world have shown interest in the issues discussed. So whilst I will probably not post every day on this site I will endeavour to maintain the conversation.
Thank you to everyone who has made the effort to read these daily reports, and particularly to those of you who have taken the time to post a comment. I hope that some day we may meet and continue our dialogue face to face. For those of you who have expressed an interest in the MA in Special and Inclusive Education programme taught in Bangalore, I would be delighted to hear from you directly, either on this blog or via email – Richard.Rose@northampton.ac.uk
We will be starting a new cohort of students in September 2014 and I would be delighted should you wish to join us on this journey. If you choose to do so, I know that at times the road will seem hard, but I am equally confident that the experience will be one that is enriching and worthwhile. Stay in touch with this page for more reflections on the exploration of teaching and learning to create an inclusive society in which we all live and learn together in mutual respect and with dignity.
Once again we will brave the road from Jayanagar to Bangalore airport!