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Young Scholars Enrichment Project- (Collaborative efforts with SCERT, Kerala to address educational issues of Malappuram district)

Goal: The primary objective of the Young Scholars Enrichment Project is to enhance the research skills of M.Ed students, fostering a culture of academic inquiry and critical thinking. The project is tailored to identify and address educational challenges in the Malappuram district, providing valuable insights and research-driven solutions to improve the overall educational environment. 

The context: Since its inception in 1995, Farook Training College's M.Ed department has stood as a stronghold of academic exploration, consistently yielding 25 theses annually that delve into the intricacies of education. The college's commitment to academic excellence was further solidified in 2012 when it evolved into a distinguished research center in education. In a collaborative effort with the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and the Government of Kerala in 2022, the college aimed to enhance the relevance and utility of its research initiatives. This effort led to the inception of the Young Scholars Enrichment Project, a collaborative venture aligned with the college's commitment to meaningful research. The project specifically focuses on unravelling educational challenges within Malappuram, Kerala's most densely populated district, which faces significant issues in educational facilities. By selecting Malappuram as the focal point, Farook Training College underscores its dedication to addressing real-world challenges in education. This deliberate choice highlights the college's commitment to making research not only academically rigorous but also socially impactful. The decision to concentrate efforts on Malappuram emphasizes a practical and community-oriented approach to research. The Young Scholars Enrichment Project, stemming from these considerations, serves as a best practice in research, exemplifying Farook Training College's proactive approach to adapting its research initiatives to the community's needs. Through active engagement with SCERT and the Government of Kerala, the college demonstrates a commitment to collaborative, relevant, and socially responsible research practices. The intentional selection of Malappuram district of Kerala as the project's focus adds a layer of significance, transforming the  research into a valuable resource for addressing real challenges in the educational landscape. Overall, this initiative contributes not only to academic exploration but also positions Farook Training College as a proactive institution dedicated to addressing the pressing issues faced by the communities it serves. Importantly, the results of these real problems will be submitted as policy documents before Malappuram District Panchayath, SSK and KITE, influencing crucial policies for educational empowerment in the district. 

The Process

Pre-Task Initiatives and Official Launch: The project's inception began with a collaborative session among college faculty, aiming to infuse vitality and relevance into the M.Ed dissertations. This process led to the realization that exploring real, tangible issues could make a significant contribution. This was followed by official discussions with the SCERT director and collaborative meetings with faculty from 17 BRCs and DIET in Malappuram district to strategize the project. The subsequent proposal preparation set the stage for the comprehensive project phases. 

Phase 1 - Problem Selection and Problem Finalization: (May 10&11, 2023): SCERT organized a two-day workshop, officially launching the project. The event was attended by prominent national and state-level educational experts like Dr Jayaprakash, Director, SCERT, Prof (Dr) M.A sudhir, UGC Professor of Emeritus,Dr C R Ramakrishna, Prof (Dr) T Mohammed Saleem, The college principal, SCERT faculty, school teachers representing each Block Resource Centre in Malappuram, district-level educational officers, and DIET faculty members. The workshop included dynamic brainstorming sessions, featuring presentations on diverse school-level problems by district teachers. M.Ed students actively engaged in the process, selecting areas of interest, participating in discussions with supervisors, and presenting their chosen topics for expert feedback and interaction. Group interactions played a pivotal role in assisting students as they presented their chosen topics and analyzed their feasibility. The outcome was the finalization of research topics and the subsequent preparation of proposals, adhering to curriculum guidelines. Internal committee evaluations and feedback sessions were integral components of this phase.

Phase 2 - Workshop on Research Proposal (November 2&3, 2023): Under the guidance of external experts, including Prof (Dr) M.A Sudhir and Dr K Biju from Tamilnadu Central University, this workshop brought together faculty members from SCERT, DIET, and the college. The focus of the session was on the finalization of the research proposal and the careful crafting of tools for efficient data collection. This gathering served as a valuable platform for scholars to  actively engage in discussions, analyze various research methodologies, and refine their approaches, ensuring the effectiveness of their research endeavors. 

Phase 3 : Tool construction: During the third phase, a workshop for tool preparation took place on November 2nd and 3rd at Farook Training College. The session was conducted in collaboration with faculty members from SCERT, DIET, and FTC. External experts, including Prof ( Dr )MA Sudhir, Prof (Dr) K Abdul Gafoor, Dean, University of Calicut Prof (Dr) Rajeswari from Tamil Nadu, Prof (Dr) Noushad PP,MG University, Dr Anju, and Dr Biju, led the workshop. The focus of this phase was on equipping participants with the necessary tools for effective data collection, ensuring a comprehensive and methodologically sound approach to their research. 

Phase 4 - Data Collection (November 27, 2023, to December 14, 2023):In the fourth phase, which spanned from November 27, 2023, to December 22, 2023, M.Ed students undertakes the crucial task of data collection from various schools in Malappuram district. This phase marked a significant step in translating theoretical frameworks and proposed methodologies into practical implementation, gathering valuable insights from the field to contribute to the comprehensive study of educational challenges within the district. 

Phase 5- Workshop on data analysis- In the upcoming fifth phase, a workshop on data analysis will be conducted once the M.Ed students complete their data collection. This session is designed to equip them with the necessary skills for effective analysis of the gathered data. The workshop will involve the guidance of highly efficient experts in the field, ensuring that the students are well prepared to derive meaningful insights and conclusions from their research findings 

Phase 6- Report writing- In the sixth phase, an expert orientation for report writing will be undertaken. This stage involves a detailed orientation to report writing, encompassing expert-led classes on various aspects of academic writing. The sessions will cover critical topics such as plagiarism, the APA style of referencing, and ethical considerations in research. This comprehensive training aims to enhance the students' skills in crafting a well-structured and academically rigorous final report for their research project. 

Phase 7: Publication- In the seventh phase, after fulfilling the curriculum requirements of M.Ed theses, such as submission to the university and viva voce attempts, efforts will be directed towards publication. The objective is to disseminate research results effectively, contributing valuable insights to the academic community and beyond. This phase underscores the commitment to sharing the findings, enriching the broader knowledge base in the field of education

Impact of the project: The project has made significant strides in addressing district-specific problems, paving the way for research-based solutions. This has resulted in a tangible influence on curricular practices, training processes, and the formulation and implementation of educational policies. In terms of capacity building, the initiative has successfully cultivated robust research skills among M.Ed students, preparing them for future teaching roles. It has also contributed to the creation of a skilled pool of educators who are well-equipped to tackle educational challenges through the application of rigorous research methodologies. The project has actively involved the community by bridging the gap between school, teacher education, and higher education departments. Through collaborative efforts, the project has reached out to the community, addressing and providing solutions to prevalent educational problems. This approach not only enriches the academic experience but also establishes a connection between educational institutions and the communities they serve, fostering a more comprehensive and impactful educational environment. Importantly, the outcomes of these real problems will be presented as policy documents before Malappuram District Panchayath, SSK, KITE, influencing crucial policies for the educational empowerment of the district.