Innovation is important

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

We are an alternative school. This means we provide an alternative system of learning to the mainstream education system being followed countrywide. We want to wholeheartedly support the objective of RTE (which is to offer the opportunity of an education to one and all).

However, RTE does not support us! RTE prescribes a certain kind of education as suitable to all. RTE does not support an alternative pathway to learning.

Hence, any organization or groups of individuals who do not necessarily subscribe to what the government terms as education suffer.

Some of these groups are loosely called alternative education systems and individuals are called as home schoolers. The common thread that binds us is that we do not necessarily align ourselves either to the goals of education as proposed by the government, or the methods, or in some cases both.

About a couple of hundred years ago education was structured by western societies. Even our society adopted this structure. Now, however, questions are being raised about this very structure and its usefulness.

People are looking for alternative religions, lifestyles, vocations, and education. Open learning (specially bolstered by the internet) is the name of the game. People are being employed not because of their degrees but because of their abilities.

In such a scenario, it becomes imperative that the government give space to innovations in education. We need license and legitimacy to bring fresh thought outside the structure, to bring deeper meaning into education as postulated by great minds like Gandhiji, Aurobindo, and Krishnamurthy, to name a few.

To us at Aarohi, education is synonymous with living one’s life. And if a family is allowed to live its life in the way it pleases (within legal boundaries) – the same needs to be extended to education.

At Aarohi each child decides what to learn, how to learn, how much to learn, when to learn and how well one has learned. This means we may not adhere to the structure of conventional class (age) and curriculum based schooling. Rather ours is child- based learning.

While government fulfils its mass education objective, it could ensure that individuals or groups who are keen to bring fresh perspectives into education are given their space.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Let NIOS continue to offer a legitimate way to every child who wants to opt out of regular schooling, yet get the education he or she deserves.
  • Allow parents to opt out of regular schooling by registering their child with NIOS (or similar body). These parents can then either home school their child or the child can be part of alternate schooling.
  • Allow alternate schools to register with NIOS and register each child of their school to NIOS – so that all children do so.

on Behalf of Aarohi Life Education www.aarohilife.org.

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