Gowramma Ittara Poovaiah
Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Academic & Professional Excellence Award (Research)
Project Title: Preparation of Culturally Responsive Curriculum Model for Early Childhood Education to Enhance Literacy Readiness Skills
Field of Study: Education Policy and Planning
Home Institution: Regional Institute of Education, NCERT, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Host Institution: Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL  
Grant Start Month: October, 2022
Duration of Grant: Nine months

Gowramma Ittara Poovaiah
Brief Bio:

Dr. Gowramma Poovaiah Ittira is a Professor at the Regional Institute of Education, Bhubaneswar, NCERT. She teaches right from the grass root level of Bachelors of Integrated Teacher Education Programme and extends her guidance to her doctoral candidates, thus covering a wide range of students from sectoral socio-lingual communities of varied age groups. She reaches up to approximately 900 to 1000 student teachers per year and mentors about a quarter of these students in their internships while they teach in varied, diverse locations among the four states in the eastern region of India. Her current role helps in facilitating and informing research, including culturally relevant practices from varied parts of India and disseminating the results to reach schools all around India.

Dr. Ittira’s Fulbright-Nehru project aims to examine how and in what ways early literacy is affected by socio cultural practices. This project will document sociocultural practices adopted in early childhood and study their influence on literacy readiness. Furthermore, it will help inform literacy initiatives in local language and English, in India, highlighting what practices in early childhood education are beneficial. The project initiated from her home institute, Regional Institute of Education (RIE) Bhubaneswar, where she was exposed to the diverse languages of eastern India and its cultural diversity. She found similarities in practices in these practices with Kodava, her homeland. Thus, the research will directly contribute to early literacy development while incorporating the rich sociocultural practices. It will have a wide application in multilingual communities around India to foster literacy and early language acquisition while celebrating the vast cultural and linguistic diversity. Her current role will facilitate research in culturally relevant curriculum construction and practices along with possible forms of alternative education from varied parts of India and disseminating the results to reach schools all around India.