As an academic investigator I had visited Shikshantar, an NGO in Udaipur, to see their work on alternative education. Shikshantar believes in zero-schooling, which means not admitting a child into a school at all, but letting him/her learn on his/her own if and when the child is interested.
Shikshantar is also associated with ‘Swaraj University’, a new concept in today’s world, though an old concept if you look into ancient history. Swaraj University does not give any degrees, believing that a degree is not necessary for one to become successful in life. One can successfully practice a trade/ profession/ occupation to meet one’s livelihood needs without a degree. Students who join Swaraj University come from backgrounds and may even be school dropouts. Called ‘Khojis’, or seekers, these students interact with various experts from varied fields, seek to find out what they are most suited for themselves, and then train as apprentices under an expert in the field to learn the skills of the trade, so that they can earn their livelihood.
Conferences make one wonder whether they are of any use at all. Whether the amount of money and time spent on them in terms of arrangements made and the fares for all the participants was worth the effort and money, considering that nothing concrete seems to come out of them as far as implementable recommendations, etc are concerned. Continue reading
Education brings an individual mind nearer its potential and collectively, it brings minds together. India has traditionally been considered a Guru, nations of the world have benefited from whose wisdom. Of the few ancient civilizations that retain continuity, India could succeed in fabricating a harmonious coexistence of man and nature through seamless integration of religious, political, economic and social systems. It achieved an invisibility of structure that modern cyber world aims at, but is still far from. Civilizations with more structured form of religion shared some of the Indian ideals. Faith, universal brotherhood, truth, duty and so on have been ideals of Christianity, Islam and many other religions. However natural curiosity and its intellectual equivalent, ‘Rationality’ began to paint the world in fresh colours during renaissance.
Rationality, by its very definition limits itself, accepting what can be determined through existing knowledge assets. Cyber world, contrary to expectation, has followed the physical principle of visuality rather than transcendence. Social networking has roots not in intangible essence but physical attributes and preferences. The recent ‘advancement’ of facial recognition was declared intrusive and a German regulator has asked Facebook to disable the social-networking service’s photo-tagging feature.
Superstitions were questioned as were sacred truth. Industrial and then technological revolution changed meanings and relationships. The philosophical leap from monarchy, plutocracy to democracy, empowered the ordinary man. Poets equated the ordinary with noble and sublime. It was no longer a shame to be plain. Plainness even became fashionable. After the second world war, more and more nations gained freedom and sovereignty. They came together to collaborate towards progress. And through peaceful means! It was a welcome change. Welcome in this instance, because change traditionally has held negative connotations. Continue reading
Dr. B.K.Passi and Dr. (Ms.) S.Passi
Dialogue is a community of researchers. It is an innovation of collective
learning. The dialogue approach is highly interactive. The authors of these lines have designed this approach for paper-presentation in the
conferences. Dialogue can encompass the processes of exploring, learning,
teaching, researching and collective paper-presentation. Dialogues have
been used for personal mastery, shared vision, team learning, team working
and team researching.
The Dialogue creates a spirit of Wholeness. Dialogue combats the current dominant approach of fragmentation and counter checks the ill effects of explaining what this means, why it matters, and how it relates to every aspect of our lives. Wholeness of Dialogue involves two sub-processes: (a) Progressive Differentiation and (b) Integrative Reconciliation. Many modes like cycled-mode and non-cycled-mode can be followed. The Dialogue mode is informal, open, and safe. The Delegates create a collective, meaningful environment of wholeness. It addresses the problem caused by isolated specialization. Dialogue implies an enhanced honor to the totality of existence.
Renu Nanda, B K Passi & S C Agarkar
Education as an activity is a social artifact modeled and remodeled from time to time to enable successive generations to realize their human potential as they grow from infancy to adulthood and beyond. The contours & characteristics of the strategies adopted for organizing the processes involved are themselves dependent on a number of factors that vary across time & space. A retrospective look at the history of mankind and the way the strategies of education have changed over the centuries reveal several interesting features.
The overall concern for illiterate, unorganized and suffering got a boost in the form of a manifesto prepared by Marx and Engles in the later half of the 19th century, becoming the first ideological base provided to voice the demands of this suffering class of humanity. Mass illiteracy, a worldwide phenomenon, is a sign of socio-economic and educational underdevelopment. Levels of literacy in a country indicate the minimum educational achievement that the population has accomplished. The rate of literacy has been used by educationists and economists, to show strong relationship between education and economic development.
Indian democracy has completed 63 years, its impact on various sectors of Indian life has been varied and in certain cases inadequate. The occasion has come for social scientists to take stock of situation and evaluate the extent to which social legislation and forces of modernization have been successful in eradicating causes of inequality and in evolving processes of healthy growth of Indian society through an appropriate educational system of the country. Continue reading
A. K. Awasthi,
It has been felt by most – differently, depending on their objectives – that modern pace of life has begin to value education. Apparently, a positive sign, this keenness has caused more grief than elevation. Suggested below is framework that strives to strike a balance between the current and ideal system. Economic models are replacing ones based on human values; it is both good and bad.
Need for a movement and policy
Human society and man’s attributes are all part of Nature. History tells us that his creation reflects his rationality, which may sustain onslaughts of time provided it is in agreement with the natural order, law or scheme of things. When otherwise, it goes into disarray either late or soon. It may be anything, a thought like communism or any technology. An idea, which is compatible with nature, alone possesses the quality to succeed – it has universal appeal, is practicable by all and therefore acceptable to all.
The natural scheme is relative, inter-linked; one cause leads to an effect that becomes a cause for another effect, which is sustained for yet another effect Thus there is a chain, unbroken and affecting the whole and leading to the supreme cause. In comprehension the whole phenomenon appears too complex and intriguing to conceive what exactly it is. Man may not think to create such complex phenomenon but he can follow the fundamentals of natural selection and compatibility. Accordingly, the worth, the subject or the process may be decided as being in conformity with Nature. Continue reading
A stock of adjectives used with education illustrates the variety of interests in what is perceived to be pillar-stone of any society. From the days of studying professions or pursuing vocations, adjectives have been added to this natural activity of a community. Study had been restricted to the domain of religion; renaissance brought it to secular domain. In a feudal structure, only the curious pursued it and found it strangely illuminating their minds and liberating their consciousness from immediate concerns of here and now. The enchanted mind could transcend the bounds of history and geography and soak his thirsty soul in perpetual fount of knowledge. It was with his blessed state as a model that education found its truest epithet. Liberal education existed till almost the final decades of last century, but paradoxically the political change it formulated and realized – burgeoning of democracy – could not support this ‘feudal’ ideal and it gave way to several of its avatar-s, each of which tried to replace it fully and failed. Well, failed to hold their own, but together they almost succeeded in flushing it out.