Tag: India

Close to 28,000 Global Citizens support MGIEP’s campaign for inclusive education

Mumbai, India—-The much-awaited first edition of the Global Citizen India Festival held in Mumbai on November 19 saw 80,000 young people from across India join forces with political representatives and leaders to bring about real change to India and the world.

Leaders from the local, state, and federal government came together on stage at the festival as well as in video appearances and messages to the Global Citizens watching around the world to commit to help realise Quality Education (SDG 4), Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6)

Those physically present at the festival represented the voice of a much larger mass—In just two months, more than 500,000 youth in India took more than 200,000 lakh actions calling on political, faith and business leaders along with celebrities to be more accountable on education, gender equality, water and sanitation.

UNESCO MGIEP partnered with Global Citizen India to create a unique SDG 4 Inclusive Education Journey to advocate for difference learners – the one in six people worldwide who require their educational materials, teacher delivery, and learning assessment to be different from standard education models and practices. Difference learning includes the following diagnoses (or 4Ds): Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia. Learning difficulties, unlike physical disabilities, cannot be easily seen and detected hence, we call this The Seen Unseen!

A total of 27,800 young global citizens participated in the two-step, 10-day long inclusive education journey.

It required them to sign a petition to the ministers of education asking them to include the needs of different learners in the New Education Policy as well as tweet to them the following:

#EducationMinistersofIndia.Please recognize the need for universal screening tests and trained teachers for different learners

The Global Citizen India concert was headlined by music giants Coldplay and had international artists such as Jay-Z and Demi Lovato also performing alongside Bollywood bigwigs such as Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.

Related articles:


Contact Information:

–Ms Radhika BHATNAGAR r.bhatnagar@unesco.org, Communications Officer


The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), a category 1 UNESCO institute focusing on peace and sustainability education, and Penguin Random House India, the largest English-language trade publisher in the subcontinent, have come together for a new strategic content partnership.

The partnership will combine UNESCO MGIEP’s expertise on education for peace and sustainable development to foster global citizenship, with the level of proficiency that is synonymous with Penguin Random House India‘s work.

Together MGIEP and Penguin Random House India are aiming at encouraging a new generation of leaders by sharing content that will not only enhance their understanding of critical issues facing the world, but will also be easily accessible.

One of the first collaborations of the partnership will be at UNESCO MGIEP’s ‘Talking Across Generation on Education’ (TAGe) New Delhi, where 50 youth delegates from around the world will engage in a no-holds-barred discussion with experts and policy makers from across the globe on the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education.

Talking about the partnership, Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP said, “UNESCO MGIEP is delighted to partner with Penguin Random House India for our flagship Talking Across Generations through Education (TAGe) series. Books have always had the power to provide perspective and insights into some of the most challenging issues faced and we are positive that through this partnership we will be able to carry forward the global dialogue on critical matters in an open and transparent manner. We look forward to a fruitful association through our joint efforts.”

Adding about the partnership, Penguin Random House India’s Sr. VP Marketing & Children’s, Hemali Sodhi, said, ”We’re thrilled to be partnering with UNESCO MGEIP for their flagship town-hall series ‘Talking Across Generations through Education (TAGe)’. Our authors are the thought leaders of today and tomorrow and through their work, we aim to provide a platform that can engage the audience in a free-flowing dialogue on critical issues that affect the world. We hope that our endeavor is a success and that a global discussion will be generated from the digital display of the works of our authors.”

UNESCO MGIEP and Penguin Random House India aim to work closely together to ensure co-operation and co-innovation to equip future generations with the content to lead change for a more peaceful and sustainable world.


UNESCO MGIEP – Radhika Bhatnagar, Associate National Officer (Communications and Social Media)


Phone: 011 2338 6603


Penguin Random House India – Rukun Kaul, Digital Head at Penguin Random House India


Phone: 0124 478 5600

“I have been inspired by the resilience of students and adults with learning disabilities,” says special educator Mindy Eichhorn

Special educator Mindy Eichhorn of the Gordon College, Massachusetts, recently published a paper that critically examines educational policy and its impact on students’ transition to post-secondary education, in the context of students with learning disabilities in Mumbai.

In this interview with UNESCO MGIEP, she looks back at the process of the study and talks about why she was drawn to researching learning disabilities in India, what her biggest takeaway was and how she found inspiration in the subjects of her research.

Tell us a little bit about your educational and professional background.

I’ve known that I wanted to be a special education teacher since I was 14 years old. I took a mentorship class in high school, which enabled me to finish my courses early and spend the rest of the school day in our local middle school’s substantially separate special education classroom. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and my Master’s degree in Education (with an emphasis on inclusive education) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. I moved to Hartford, Connecticut after graduating – one of the poorest areas of the U.S., yet in the richest state in the nation. I was a special educator in a K-8 school, focusing on co-teaching in 2nd and 3rd grades.

I had the opportunity to go to India in 2004.  I was moved by the shortage of special educators in the country, so I pursued additional opportunities to join the inclusive education movement in India.  In 2009, I began my doctorate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in International Education Leadership and Policy. I completed my degree in 2014, and have since been an assistant professor of Education at Gordon College, near Boston.

Why did you choose to focus on learning disabilities in India?

When I began my career in Hartford, most of the students on my caseload had learning disabilities. LD was the area of special education in which I had the most experience. So, when I moved to India, I shared the strategies that I had used in my role as a special education co-teacher.

LD intrigued me in India.  Although India has made great gains in disability awareness and legislation over the past few decades, LD is still not a part of Persons with Disability (PWD) Act, or the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act. In the U.S., students with LD make up one-third of all students that receive special education services. By focusing on LD in India, I hope to create greater awareness among teachers and professors in India and advocate for these students, even when the law does not yet  acknowledge this area of special education.

What were the most challenging aspects of this study?

Probably the greatest challenge was working around the various school breaks/festivals and exam schedules to collect data. Also, as I acknowledge in the working paper, it was difficult to obtain information at times, being an outsider.  However, I did find my Hindi and Marathi language skills to be quite useful!

What has been the biggest takeaway for you from your research?

I have been inspired by the resilience, self-determination, and grit of the students and post-college adults with LD. I have also been encouraged by the advocates that support these students, such as “Mr. Kumar,” a lecturer at “Gandhi College” and the Maharashtra Dyslexia Association.  I remain hopeful that the Indian education system can provide greater access to ALL students.

Tell us a little bit more about your future publications/areas of focus.

In my research, Indian students with math learning disabilities at the secondary level revealed that they did not understand key math concepts and mentioned being scared of math. A post-secondary lecturer also mentioned that students have “a phobia, or a mental block about math.  They have a preconceived notion that math is difficult” (M. Sen[1], personal communication, February 6, 2013). These students may be exhibiting characteristics of mathematics anxiety. Therefore, my next study focused on exploring the teaching and learning of mathematics at the foundational level, in order to try to determine at what point students’ math skills begin to break down.  I have created universal math screening tools to be administered at the beginning of 2nd standard and 5th standard.  These screening tools were piloted in Kolkata in June – July 2015 by Breaking Through Dyslexia.  An article on the 2nd standard results will be published in the June 2016 edition of the Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences.  The results of the fifth standard screener are forthcoming.

This summer, I will be working with an undergraduate student to explore the predispositions of early childhood and elementary education majors towards math and overcoming these initial tendencies to expand novice teachers’ ideas of what it means to teach mathematics, and to engage in mathematical work. Perhaps this will lead to a comparative study with elementary teachers in India.

About the author:
Melinda (Mindy) Eichhorn, Ed.D, is currently an assistant professor of education at Gordon College. She holds a B.S. (Special Education) from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a M.S. (Education), University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Ed.D. (Educational Policy and Leadership) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Mindy has spent more than six years in India as a special education consultant and inclusion specialist. Prior to working in India, Mindy was a special education teacher in the Hartford Public Schools. Her research interests include math learning disabilities, transition, early intervention in mathematics, teachers’ perceptions of mathematics, and the use of professional development to improve math instruction.

Download your copy of ‘Policy and Practise in Post-Secondary Education: The transitional experience for students with learning disabilities in India’ here: http://bit.ly/1NWckrH

[1] pseudonym