Newsletter-cum-magazine of Oasis Movement   Year 10 /  Issue 09 /  March 23, 2017
Rethinking Education for Reimagining Life
A Talk with Manish Jain at Oasis Valleys
Manish Jain with Sanjiv Shah addressing participants

A talk on 'Rethinking Education' was organised at Oasis Valleys on 30 January, 2017. A group of around 40 people; comprising of principals of schools, Jyotirdhar teachers, friends and well-wishers along with core member of Oasis Movement; attended this interactive convention which was designed in the form of a talk with Manish Jain, Co-Founder of Shikshantar - The People's Institute for Rethinking Education and Development. The talk started with the journey of his life - from Wall Street to Shikshantar at Udaipur.
"Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalysing radical systemic transformation of education in order to facilitate Swaraj-development throughout India."
In initial stages of his life, Manish Jain spent two years as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley working in the telecom and high tech sectors. Later, he worked as a consultant in several countries in areas of educational planning, policy analysis, research, program design, and media/technology with UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank, USAID, the Academy for Educational Development, Education Development Center, and the Harvard Institute for International Development. Right before co-founding Shikshantar, he spent two years serving as a principal architect of the UNESCO Learning Without Frontiers transnational initiative.
He has spent several years trying to unlearn his Master's degree in Education from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Economics, International Relations and Political Philosophy from Brown University.

He also talked and discussed about the 'History of Education' where he shared the evolution of schooling system from Gurukuls to modern day Factory schooling. He shared how this evolution was a process of dehumanisation.
Current Scenario of Education Systems All Over the World
According to Survey,
When children were asked where milk came from,
they answered, "Supermarket!"

This reflects how modern schools are giving information but not educating. Children are made to like milk products but no efforts are made to establish bond with cows or animals or nature.
After fifty years of so-called development efforts, and despite great scientific advancements, India (and the rest of the world) finds itself mired in a paralysing socio-cultural, environmental and spiritual crisis - overwhelming in its scale, intensity and rate of growth.
While education has been framed as the cure to this crisis, in reality, the factory model of schooling is part of the problem. Around the world, education systems have become commercialised 'businesses' which serve to stratify society, glorify militarism, devalue local knowledge systems and languages, manufacture unsustainable wants, breed discontent and frustration, stifle creativity, motivation and expression, and dehumanise communities. The 19th-century model of factory-schooling today stands in the way of building organic learning societies for the 21st century.

Why we were switched over from Gurukul to Modern Factory Schooling System???

Lord Macaulay designed modern Education System of India in British rule, which is still being followed
Definition of Art and Creativity has captured 'Imagination' and 'Courage'
There is an urgent need to start thinking differently if we wish to do things differently. This starts with facing the reality that the problems that threaten to overwhelm and destroy India arise from the 'schooled', not from the so-called illiterates. Thus, expanding or reforming the existing system of factory-schooling (whether through schools, distance education, literacy classes or non-formal centers) will not solve the crisis.
3 Layered
Evaluation System
for Children

Where it is observed that Children who are considered dumb (who cannot perform academically)
are the ones who are most creative and more sensitive to human relationships and understand values of Friendship, Love and Humanity in much better way.
Moving from Classroom Mugging to Learning Networks

A Village
To Raise
A Child.

Communities must engage in new modes of lifelong societal learning which grow from a larger understanding of and respect for human potential and human dignity, dynamic learning processes and relationships, pluralistic identities and cultural contexts, the human spirit and its connection to the web of life. The challenge before us then is to engage in processes of trans-disciplinary reflection, dialogue, vision-building and experimentation in order to construct and connect new open learning communities.
Workshop participants listening to Manish Jain intently
The current Education System directs children to gather more degrees and certificates, which leads them to getting a high paying job. Students are oriented to a more material lifestyle over a meaningful life. Education system teaches how to earn more money but does not teach how to lead a good and productive life. Youths want more money but lack a passionate dream to live for, to die for. The youth is mislead and blinded by the gleaming glare of money. This is because students are shown only the shining pompous luxuries but never the hollow frame-work of global economy. They are never made aware of the dark side of the capital world.

The Faulty 6 Cs of Current Education System

"No matter how beautifully one decorates the cage, classrooms with A.C.s, Schools with Facilities, the cage will be a cage"
1. Competition: One has to compete with each other. The is comparison but no collaboration.

2. Commodification: Education is a commodity. Therefore children learn that life is commodity.

3. Compartmentalisation and fragmentation: It is needed to control people so that they cannot connect the dots, look at everything holistically. Be it subjects or class rooms..."Divide and Rule" rules.

4. Contextualisation: What one studies has nothing to do with the local things/culture.

5. (Mono)Culture: Standardise external authorities/ standards. The whole country studies the same syllabus, irrespective of which kind of ecology they belong to.

6. Compulsion: All the subjects are compulsory to study and completing the educational qualifications is compulsory to prove one's calibre.
Topics of Discussion in the Workshop

  • A short discussion on Informal vs Formal Sports reflected that the absence of referee was better as players play with self-discipline and honesty whereas the presence of referee made the players more rebellious.
  • A discussion was carried out on 'Gurukul' vs 'School'. The workshop participants engrossed in listing the qualities of Gurukuls and Schools. It was observed that in Gurukul, there was a mutual agreement between the Guru (Teacher) and the Shishya (Student). Both entered the learning process together and neither of them was forced to abide by his duty. It was also inferred that first Guru is Self and how Self-learning was one of the most effective ways of learning.
  • There was an explanation of how Global Economy and "Trickle Down Theory" worked. It was shown how education was linked with the give and take between developed and developing countries on international level.

After such points of discussion there were some conclusions...
Conclusions from the Workshop
Learning is a highly customised thing. One cannot guarantee the standardised learning methodology for everyone. Different people learn in different ways. Only reading, only mugging up, only listening, only activities cannot be applicable to the whole class or a group of children.

Also, current Education System is not serving the purpose of educating the children and there is a dire need of Alternatives in Education. Alternative ways may be trans-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary studies. New ways of learning can be found by the learners themselves. Irrespective of who teaches, learners must decide what and how they wish to learn. Only learners can decide how they understand concepts.

Based on this, everyone can create their own system of learning, known as their own Learning Theory, which may be comprised of experiences from:
1. Their own life
2. Their family
3. Those who are different from them
"You have not inspired, You have ignited!"
"The session was thought provoking and gave us a lot of insights on the history of our existing schooling system, how unknowingly we are putting future of our kids at stake through our existing competitive school system, it also gave us some insights on how as a responsible citizens we can create a learning culture within our society, to bring out kids natural inborn potential." - Viral Patel, Real Estate Developer, Vadodara

"It was a very dynamic workshop. It was observed how freedom plays a crucial role in development of children, how the most unique quality of the child flourishes in its best form. After listening to Mihir's story, we could see how unique his ideas were. We realised what we are giving in the name of education is actually suffocating the qualities of the children." - Keyur Naik, Principal, Shree Raman Brothers Vidyalaya, Navsari
Team Alive
• Alkesh Raval  • Avani Kulkarni  
• Hiral Patel  • Kshama Kataria   
• Mayuri Gohil  • Mehul Panchal  • Sanjiv Shah
 • Sheeba Nair  • Vatsala Shah
Alive Archive

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