The Berkeley India Reading Group is a common forum for people to come together and discuss topics relevant to the Indian subcontinent. The BIRG is closely modelled after the MIRG at MIT.

Follow BIRG on Facebook for updates on meetings.

The objective of the group (generously copied from the MIT group) would be:
  • To be aware about the functioning of various systems in India. The awareness is the stepping-stone to bring about a change. Group members shared perspective on action in the short-term (immediate action) and the long-term.
  • *Short-term action* would comprise of working with NGOs, help them network with philanthropists, investors; provide our expertise, etc.
  • *Long term Action*: The group agreed that the members at some point in their life will be in a position to make or influence policies and this awareness will help them then. Also people wish to work on education together with their day to day work and this awareness will help them.
  • The group shall also become a converging point for *networking*: to meet like-minded people,mobilise resources and form long-lasting teams.
  • The group concurred that the meetings should have a *tangible output*. This was defined in multiple ways, tangible output was *being informed*, create a report at the end, become an organisation in ourselves.
How does this group differ from ASHA? 
ASHA is an action group focusing on primary education. BIRG will be mainly a reading group focusing on all aspects of education, where we will increase our understanding of current state of education in India and various factors on which it depends. Once informed, the idea is to act to make a difference in Indian education at some level - be it rural or urban primary education, be it Universities, Govt. labs or private research labs, etc. 
In addition, BIRG will also be a good resource of data maintained on these various aspects of education as our sessions progress.
In fact, if certain good ideas come out during our brainstorming sessions, we might collaborate with or provide data to ASHA or other govt organizations or NGOs, thus making an actual difference.

MIRG already exists. Why BIRG at Berkeley? 
For all of us pursuing higher education at Berkeley, the importance of education in building a better, more conscientious country and world, cannot be over-emphasized. We would also agree that much can be done to improve the current state of education in India. For such a gargantuan effort, increasing awareness amongst ourselves is a critical first step. 
MIT has good amount of interested people. However, given the history of Berkeley and interests of the Indian community here, we may have many more people interested in such a cause here. After all, ASHA was started here! 

The idea is to start off with meeting regularly (say once in 2 weeks) for an hour and discuss papers relevant to a chosen topic with someone different leading the discussion every time. We can then move on to have some guest speakers give short talks on this experiences with social innovation in India.

Add any relevant resources to the resources page. Sign up for the mailing list at http://groups.google.com/group/ucbirg. (Looks like I need to add you as a collaborator for you to be able to edit the page. E-mail prmohan [at] eecs asking me to give you access)

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