Many of us might look back at the time we spent in school with nostalgia and fond memories. But most will also agree that it wasn’t the happiest of places with long and monitored study hours, heavy bags full of books, mass punishments, detention, etc. The system required students to multi-task and be a jack of all instead of being a master of one. I am also sure the words Pythagoras, RD Sharma, HC Verma, and Avogadro will adequately summarize our formative schooling days but the question is, do they have to?
Was it because of the rudimental teachers or did the vast portion force the students to adopt an incurious approach towards academics? The fact remains that the outmoded academic topics that did well for students in the past will fall short for the upcoming generations. In a nutshell, students’ interests and hobbies took a backseat or got no seat at all.
The present and future don’t belong only to doctors, engineers, or lawyers but also to vocational artisans, artists, and other novel professions. To provide the necessary skills to the coming generation, specialized and innovative schools with out-of-the-box learning techniques would be required. Gone are the days when rote learning from textbooks worked. Now students are learning not just for exams but also to combat modern-day challenges. Conventional education will remain a necessary evil, hence it must be paired smartly with the new in-demand skills while giving enough room to harbor hobbies and other interests.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this revolution has already begun and bloomed into several unconventional and empowering schools.
Modern schools and educators from humble backgrounds in remote areas run these schools through collaboration.
For the convenience of our readers, I have included the choicest recognition-worthy schools from my detailed research.
Chirag School in Uttarakhand is run by Kanai Lal, a passionate forestry and sustainably expert. He felt the need for a more holistic approach that would introduce the student to proficient and pragmatic sustainability techniques in all walks of life. This sustainable school allows the students to appreciate benevolent nature and take life lessons from it. They also learn about computer hardware, basic application coding, the internet, and cyber safety. With the likes of a curriculum that expands from sustainable forestry techniques to microchips, the overall development of a child is evident. Its aim of nurturing a generation that is sustainable and aware of environmental challenges lends a hand to a broader vision of becoming a climate warrior.
The Yellow Train School in Tamil Nadu sounds like a dream school that encourages field walks, learning about wildlife, playing instruments, and nurturing other hobbies. Rather than just gaining textual knowledge, children are encouraged to pick an instrument or art form. A child can explore all of the potential options and identify talent at a young age. Conventional education ensures, there is sufficient stimulus for the analytical part(left side of the brain), but the creative side(right side of the brain) continually remains underdeveloped or even untouched at times. A curriculum of this kind catalyzes and ensures growth in the left and right sections of the brain. Students patronizing art forms eventually develop an eye for them adding to the culture and tradition preservation effort. Amidst nature’s great simplicity and authenticity, we could find the next A.R Rahman or Balasubrahmanyam.
Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) is founded by Sonam Wangchuk, a staunch believer in the complete shift from the formal educational system to practical and eco-friendly living. The location and harsh climate pose great hardships but, they couldn’t stop the students from surpassing their limits to develop simplistic innovations. Learning by doing and experimenting is very beneficial and the pier which supports the bridge towards innovative learning. He and his students can be said to be true innovation-based learning pioneers. Over 400 patented innovations under his mentorship have helped the people of Ladakh and the Indian Army in adverse weather conditions.
Another Institute from Karnataka called Aurinko Academy has attracted a lot of talent in unique curriculums like design, architecture, carpentry, etc., at the initial stage. This junior college supports the students chasing specialized interests by providing a structured program that allows them to upgrade their skills and complete 12th grade. Having ordinary skills isn’t sufficient, developing employable skills is the current need. It is known to have the perfect amalgamation of craft infrastructure and industry exposure.
All of the above-stated measures will help a child to move away from rote learning and adopt a holistic approach towards education.
In conclusion, I believe that there is no such thing as a dream school, but a school does not deserve to be called one if it cannot empower you to dream big.
~ Inspired by the movie “3 Idiots”