It is well known that in many states, economic development does not always lead to educational development. Why should ranking on economic and social indicators vary so much? One reason, I have repeatedly mentioned over last two decades is that top level policy makers don’t spend enough time, not even one hour a week with outstanding achievers of their department. Not only that they don’t listen to them, they don’t even try to learn lessons from the efforts of self-inspired, self-motivated grassroots functionaries. I am optimistic though. I will tell you about a primary school teacher from Panchmahals who has made the school a joyful place where children hold teachers accountable for their conduct, not just the other way around.
If a teacher comes late to class, students are encouraged to ask an explanation and the teacher is obliged to explain. If students on ground, should teacher sit on chair? Not in this school, he sits on the ground too. Are subjects designed for students or students have to fit subjects? Disregarding highly competitive spirit, children are encouraged to study subjects they like more, though others subjects are also taught. This one action can reduce pressure and help children excel in chosen areas. All these and a lot many other ideas have been tried at Nava Nadisar Primary School, Panchmahals. If you think your children can better exposure to exploring nature by hiking in the jungle, sitting around a lake, and making useful things out of waste material only in a private school, then look up its website, www.nvndsr.blogspot.in and also a film at https://www.youtube.com/user/nvndsr1975/videos. Educational experiments which worked and which did not are given at this site.
Rakesh Patel, teacher at this school published an e-magazine bioscope which is circulated among at least 3000 readers. Many readers from around the world contribute their design and developmental skills and resources for the school. There is a science lab in the school. The children are taught through experimentation. Every place in the school is a part of learning environment. It is obvious not all the skills can be taught only by teachers. There are traditional as well as contemporary knowledge systems in which farmers, old dada and dadis are much more proficient. Rakesh and his colleagues, principal and other community members ensured that school children remain charged with hope and joyfulness.
Why cannot every school become ‘masti ki pathshala’, a school of joyfulness.’ what do we need to do bring back children from private schools to government school by making them a place of envy. One step in this direction has already been taken by many teachers in the school, Chetan Patel informs, They admit their children to the same school. Is not it ironic that children of the ministers, MPs, MLAs, secretaries, and other officials apart from educational department bureaucracy are not admitted to government school. This one act by itself will bring about the revolutionary transformation in state school system. We are going to have a children creativity workshop organised by Honey Bee Network as a part of Third Festival of Innovation, March 4-120, 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. We have invited bright children from government schools from different parts of the country to do research about the unmet social needs and devise solutions. Let us hope that creative teachers will spur creative children and vice versa to make education for the disadvantaged community members a liberating, empowering and democratic tool for seeking their share of the sky.