In a fast disassembling rural world, how must rural youth be scaffolded?
How can individual capabilities and collective responsibilities be enhanced?
How can local livelihoods and opportunities for professional development be integrated?
The Integrated Learning Programme consists of a seven-month course (with contact periods of upto 10 days per month) and focuses on enabling youth to lead meaningful lives in rural areas. The four components of the course include:
(1) Agriculture and Ecology
(2) Social Issues
(3) Citizenship
(4) General Skills : English, Computers, Accounts, and Kannada.

The course draws on pedagogies of place-based education, critical and reflexive thinking, social transformative learning, and integrated knowledge.

Emphasis is placed on developing self-confidence, communication and leadership skills through performing arts. The pedagogical processes include an emphasis on experiential learning using the immediate social and physical world as texts. Reflexive exercises enable learners to question received ideas, overcome route learning habits, and to unlearn many ideas and perspectives.
With assurance that there are no exams and no ‘pass/fail’ markers, learners maintain individual portfolios to track their own learning. Monthly reviews enable them to rectify key mistakes and to consolidate their strengths. Mid-course home visits enable the faculty team to understand the home and social lives of the youth and to share ideas with their parents. An ‘open day’ programme invites all the parents and local community members to visit and review the learners work on the demonstration site. A final valedictory day sees the learners present their work and perform a cultural programme. Continuous follow-up and support are provided to learners who settle into agricultural and allied livelihoods in their villages.

The Sixth batch of youth learners joined the course in July and completed it in December 2018. This lovely and enthusiastic batch included youth from two other districts. Plans are to develop the ILP into a residential programme and to include more youth from other districts. Most of the alumni are involved in rural and agricultural activities.

A comprehensive learning programme for rural youth requires pedagogies that integrate issues of sustainability with the abilities to engage with multiple knowledge forms, technologies, capital , citizenship, society, and labour.

SIX batches of the course have been completed.

“At first, I had fear and was shy to come to PUNARCHITH. Now, I am afraid to leave PUNARCHITH”

“Hesitation and fear have gone. Self-confidence has grown. It has been possible to develop characteristics of friendliness and co-operation.”

“Intellectual abilities to question, think about new issues, and to understand have been developed.”

“In school, learning was for marks. Learning about our lives was not possible. I had no opportunity to share the hardships I had experienced during three years of working after college. At that time life was only for money. But here (samagraha kalike) I have learnt what I did not learn in school and college. It has taught me about life and its aims.”

“When I shared what I had learnt during the programme, with my family and friends, they were very surprised and happy.”

“Working with others to do weeding and cutting were good experiences for me and I started to think that I could do this in our field also”.

“Instead of going to unseen places and working there, it is better to work in one’s own village”

“I learnt that instead of text-book learning, we can learn more about changing our lives through non-book learning”

“I now realise all the hardwork that women in the family do. I have learnt to bring water and I now help in the house”

“I eagerly await going to the ILP classes…just like waiting for the television serial”

Several parents expressed views about the impact of the ILP on their children:

“I was concerned about him wandering around…now I see that he is focussing on land and showing some interest in cultivation work”

“ She was a shy and introverted girl and is now talking to people including strangers”


“ They look forward to going to PUNARCHITH….this is not like other programmes…we also get to see what they are doing there”

“She went to the ration shop and asked why we were not getting rations. They had to give us our books and now we get coupon (ration) rice. This was possible only because she has gone to the course in Nagavalli.”

Three batches of the integrated learning programme (2014-2017) were supported by WIPRO applying thought in school (WATIS), Bengaluru. Punarchith gratefully acknowledges this support.