Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Taking a different path

I have been reading up a bit on alternate educational methodologies and organisations that people have started in this domain. It is important to understand that these people are going down this road purely because they believe that the schooling system that is so ubiquitous today is in fact the root of the problem that education all over the world, and certainly India, suffers from.

According to some sources, the school system of education, where children are "taught" only began in the 17th century in parts of Prussia where a quick turnaround time was desired in training military-ready adolescents. It was, as you might have guessed, a pure assembly line operation, which has invaded almost every educational system today. Hence, these people's attempt to reboot the system, start again from the point where our ancient forefathers had left off at. I won't describe that here, for I myself am still struggling to understand it. But I will give a few pointers to people and organisations that are doing that.

1. Educate for Life - http://www.educateforlife.org.uk/
We built Hunar Ghar in one of the poorest and most isolated parts of India. We provide a high quality academic and skill-based education for free, support community development with reforestation work, women’s groups and more, and also promote wider changes in the Indian education system. What we do is crucial to enabling children and the community to live fulfilling lives in a way that they value, none of which would be possible without the great work of our team in India and the recognition and generous support of people like you!
And here is a short video on it.



2. Shikshantar - The People's Institute for rethinking education and development - http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/
Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalyzing radical systemic transformation of education in order to facilitate Swaraj - development throughout India.
Person to contact: Manish Jain - Call phone number given on the website. He does not keep a cell.

3. Imlee Mahuaa - http://imleemahuaa.org/

Imlee Mahuaa Naee Taaleem Centre For Learning (we have a rather long name, don't we ? ) is the name of the little primary school where we all belong. Our school is housed in the Ghotul among the fields and trees of Balenga Para village in Bastar's Kondagaon tehsil. We get our name from Imlee (tamarind) and Mahuaa (butter tree) the favorite trees in our region that fortunately no one seems to axe down! We love to collect the Mahuaa flowers for our mums and feast on the tamarind pods when they ripen twice a year. Our Didis and Bhaiyaas tell us that Naee Taaleem is a friendly way of learning that is especially useful for village children - and it was first thought of by Gandhiji. Anyway, we just call our school Imlee Mahuaa!!
Person to contact - Prayaag Joshi

4. Center for Learning - http://www.centreforlearning.org/index.php

CFL is an education centre with a passionate commitment to quality in education.We offer personally meaningful and socially responsible education as opposed to mere schooling. 
The face of CFL is the children's learning centre, an alternative education centre for children between 3 and 16 years. The heart of CFL is a serious conceptual and hands-on enquiry into quality education. We attempt to show how meaningful education can empower all individuals, including the disadvantaged groups, rather than make them unwitting collaborators in their own exploitation. 
We work with children, parents, interested individuals and groups and organizations from all backgrounds – regardless of their ability to pay.
Person to contact - Dr. Gurveen Kaur

5. Manzil - A youth empowerment and learning centre - http://manzil.in/

We are a non-profit organization providing a community and resources for local youth from low-income backgrounds to learn, teach, be creative, and see the world in new ways. Located in Khan Market, we serve those living in the servant quarters and one-room tenements that cohabitate this affluent area of New Delhi. 
While a website can do its best to inform, nothing can convey the distinctive atmosphere of Manzil like a visit. We invite you to take a look around our electronic space, but also to drop by 13 Khan Market to see what we do and what we’re all about.
Person to contact - Ravi Gulati

This a small list to start off with. But a good one all the same. And a very important fact. All these initiatives are keen on people coming to them and experiencing their way of life by staying with them for a few days, at the very least. And if someone's interest gets piqued, they can join for a longer stint!

Hoping that these initiatives continue and find all the support that they need.