Department of Science, Environment, Society; Faculty of Education, Malmö University

Postal address: Enheten för Natur, miljö och samhälle, Lärarutbildningen, Malmö högskola, SE-205 06 Malmö, Sweden
Visiting address: Nordenskiöldsgatan 10 (Orkanen-huset)
Web page: http://www.mah.se/

Contact person: Lecturer Inge-Marie Svensson, +46 (0)40 665 8010. Personal web page.

Current projects connected to South Asia:

The lecturer Margareta Ekborg defended a doctoral dissertation called ”Naturvetenskaplig utbildning för hållbar utveckling?” in 2003, and is now involved in a Sida funded research project on the interaction between knowledge and values in the opinion moulding on gene technology, in particular genetic manipulation of crops. In August 2005 she was given SEK 55 000 as a SASNET grant for an educational programme titled ”Development of Biotechnological Education Programs and Information Packages in Nepal.” This project is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Olof Olsson and Dr. Gokarna Gharti Chhetri at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Göteborg University. The partners in Nepal are:
• Dr. Binayak Rajbhandary, Executive Chairperson of the Himalayan College of Agricultural Sciences & Technology (HICAST).
Tilak Shrestha, Associate Professor, Khwopa College in Bhaktapur, affiliated to Tribhuvan University.
Bhola Man Singh Basnet, Head Communication, Publication & Documentation Division, National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Lalitpur.
Project abstract: During an ongoing SIDA supported project to develop more stress tolerant and nutritious rice cultivars for Nepal we have identified a need to develop education and information packages to train existing Nepalese collaborators in biotechnology, to recruit and educate new workers and to inform the public in Nepal about our activities. With this planning grant we will gain insight in the educational infrastructure in Nepal and establish collaboration with appropriate responsible Nepalese university teachers and their students. We will also build up a direct collaboration with the NARI press centre and make personal contacts with chosen representatives from the media.

Field studies in India

Since 1993 an optional 15 ECTS credits course, ”Möte med U-land” (Encounter a developing country), is offered the last term students becoming teachers in our compulsory schools. All students, the ones specialised in teaching younger pupils as well as the ones teaching older pupils and either specialised in Science, Social Science or Language, may participate. The course of ten weeks (10 credits) focuses on India, where the field studies of 5 weeks take part. The students choose their individual focuses of their field work, which takes place – with the help of interpreters – in Tamil Nadu in the South. Comparative studies are then made in Kerala. After the optional courses of the last semester the students write their examination paper. Often the participants of the ”Encounter a developing country”-courses choose to write about and analyse their experiences in Tamil Nadu.
More information on the course.

Previous South Asia oriented research at the department

Professor Emeritus Lars Henrik Ekstrand worked as a University Lecturer at the Malmö School of
Education 1966–1990 (at that time an administrative part of Lund University), and became full Professor in 1992, and acted as such until he retired in 1996 (two years before the School of Teacher Education became part of Malmö University, from 1 July 1998). He defended his PhD thesis in International Education at the University of Stockholm in 1978. A thesis on ”Bilingual and Bicultural Adaptation”.
Lars Henrik Ekstrand was introduced to India during the Cross-Cultural Psychology conference held in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, in January 1980 where he presented a couple of papers. After the conference, he and his then wife Gudrun Ekstrand were invited by the legendary Prof. Radanath Rath to stay on for some time. Having noted that children seem to be treated very differently in different cultures, a cooperative project was initiated. This lasted several years with repeated data collection in various parts of Sweden and Orissa, and also in New Delhi.
This project yielded a number of monographs and international journal articles, as well as a doctoral dissertation by Gudrun Ekstrand on differences between Sweden and Orissa on child rearing and attitudes. She defended the thesis, called ”Kulturens barn – kontrastiva analyser av kulturmönster avseende förhållandet till barn och ungdom i Sverige och Orissa, Indien”, in 1990. More information on the dissertation.

From 1989 onwards Lars Henrik Ekstrand has devoted more and more time to development projects. It started when Dr. Eugene Ries, Director of the Community Development Service at the Lutheran World Foundation in Geneva asked him to perform an informal evaluation of the organisation’s development projects in northern Orissa, the Burdwan area in West Bengal, and in Kolkata city. This made him admire participatory activities with villagers taking part in every step of the decision process.
Later on from 1990 to 1992 he worked full-time as Coordinator for the Sida-supported Social Forestry Project in Orissa, being stationed in Bhubaneswar. The project, led by Mr. M. F. Ahmed (later becoming Inspector General for Forests in India), conducted plantations in somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 villages all over Orissa. SIDA later on interrupted this project prematurely.

In 1989 Lars Henrik Ekstrand initiated the formation of an Educational Development Association, EDA (U-landspedagogiska Föreningen) at the Malmo School of Education. For several years, this association conducted a large number of activities, including information, research exchange and cooperation with a number of NGOs in Orissa. It also sponsored support to destitute children. Furthermore groups of teachers and students from the Malmo School of Education started to travel to India on a yearly basis. Many students went for field work in Orissa with Minor Field Studies programme grants. Indian groups of students and teachers visited Sweden in a reciprocal way.
Over the years, EDA had intimate connections with the NGO Bana Basi Seva Samiti (Forest Dwellers’ Organisation), in Phulbani district in the interior of Orissa. It is an NGO operating over a wide area in a tribal belt (more than 60 p.c. tribals), badly hit by severe malnourishment, high IMR and MMR, malaria and other epidemic diseases, alarming school drop-out, and high adult illiteracy. It was founded in 1972 by freedom fighter and Gandhian Biswanath Patnaik. The Lutheran World Service, India, provided with geological and water-drilling expertise for this cooperative water resource project between EDA and BBSS, that to a large extent was funded by Sida. The project was implemented between 1994 and 1998.

After his retirement in 1996 Lars Henrik Ekstrand now spends half the year in Orissa with his present wife Rita Ray, Professor of Sociology at Utkal University. Prof. Ray is doing socio-economic research on Resettlement and Rehabilitation for various development projects, to which L H Ekstrand also contributes. In 2001 they published a joint study on ”Chaos and Complexity Theory in Development” in the International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology. Presently he is finalising a major world-wide quantitative study on corruption. In September 2005 Lars Henrik Ekstrand presented a paper called ”Socio-cultural factors affecting corruption and what to do. A study of psychological and other non-economic macro-variables affecting corruption” at the 5th regional anti-corruption conference, held in Beijing, People’s Republic of China (a conference under the auspices of ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific). Read the full paper (as a pdf-file).
In December 2005 SASNET’s Lars Eklund visited Lars henrik Ekstrand and Rita Ray in Bhubaneshwar. Read his report.

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SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network/Lund University
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Phone: +46 46 222 73 40
Webmaster: Lars Eklund
Last updated 2011-06-09