Social changes usually start as an idea. The seed thought of an idea can be the result of deliberate intellectual activity. Howe-ver, most of the ideas that revolutionise society are spontaneously born. We see that a similar thought expresses itself across different societies within a short span as brief as a decade. If one can keenly observe and map such spontaneously germinating thought processes, it would be possible to predict the collective mind of humanity with relative accuracy. The prophecies of visionaries like Swami Vivekananda and even the 'prophets' are the result of such logical analysis, sometimes intentional, mostly intuitive.
If we observe the social trends of the last decade all over the world, we find that the most dominat current thought is that of 'Change'. All the nations are in search of an ideal and effective educational system. In Bharat also, this craving for total transformation of the education system is evolving in various forms at different levels.
On one hand, several small and medium scale experimentations of innovation in education are cropping up everywhere. There are some schools started by socially concerned activists, which follow an alternate model of education. Innovations in teaching methodology are being experimented by individual teachers, both in government and private educational institutions. On the other hand, government has also initiated a consultative process of formulating a new educational policy. Consultations at grass roots level in lakhs of villages have begun. The next step will be at the bloc level, then at the district level and finally at the State level; all of which will be completed within a year. The successful implementation of any policy depends upon the participation of people and when participation is at such a formative level of policy development, it involves the inclusion of all the aspirations of the majority of the citizens. This sensitivity of governance will inherently result in practical, friendly and effective policies.
Thus this is an opportune time to initiate and activate a thoughtful movement for the creation of an indigenous mode of education. The genuine patriots of Bharat have been constantly endeavouring to de-Macualise the educational system right from the time of Independence. Even during the Freedom Struggle, nationalist education was based on an effort to create an indigenous alternative to the colonial system of education. Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal was born out of this national urge of expressing its own core in the field of education. In 1984, a questionnaire was sent to more than 6,000 educationists, teachers, administrators of educational institutes and researchers of which feedback was received from 4,000 people. Based on this input, a comprehensive outline of education, Bharatiya Shiksha Rooprekha was prepared. It is a holistic and integrated treatise on the complete functioning of the educational system. It includes the aims of education, policy alternatives, and structural reforms. Recommendations on content and proposals for evaluation and examination are also presents in this document. The outline proposes a flexible pattern of education where entry and exit at any level is possible without loss of years. Common education till the 8th standard will be followed by a structure that allows multiple scenarios according to the needs of the society. Those who are forced to work for their family after this stage would be considered apprentices and allowed re-entry with a bridge course at a higher standard. Those who opt to continue higher schooling are given ample choice to study the topics nearer to their heart without compromising their carreer opportunities. This pattern of 8+4+3 or 8+2+2 or 8+2+2+2+3 allows vertical as well as horizontal flexibility to accommodate individual interests engaging the complex needs of Bharatiya society. The section of the outline on autonomous self-governance of education, enlists ways of creating a structure of independent educationists to manage all levels of education, without overt interference from the government. Another special feature of this outline is the emphasis on implementation. The last chapter which is incidentally the largest one, elaborates the steps to be taken for gradual transformation of the educational system. Teachers, as the pivot of the education system, must be thoroughly prepared before any policy change is affected. Other changes are also to be brought in one step at a time, so no drastic upheavals are experienced by the society.
Since August 2014, the outline has been republished in various languages. Discussions on this outline are being conducted at district levels. A detailed feedback form is part of this publication. Shikshan Mandal has ignited a thought movement to mobilise an all encompassing public opinion by targeting people from all walks of life. Soft copies of the outline and feedback form are available at 'www.bsmbharat.org' & google form http//goo.gl/forms/IYGvx76Ntx respectively.
-Mukul Kanitkar, (The writer is Joint Org. Sect. of Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal)
Where students are not merely schooled
Prabodhini Gurukula, Hariharapura, Shimoga, Karnataka
Established in 1995 by Prabodhini Trust with the vision to develop human resources with profound knowledge and ability to apply techniques derived from ancient Indian wisdom to address modern challenges, Prabodhini Gurukul situated at Hariharapura in Shimoga district of Karnataka is a unique educational experiment. Students here are not over burdened by textbooks and their parents don't have to worry about donation and high school fees. Education is not confined within four walls of a classroom. They study in a beautiful and serene campus where they are offered boarding, lodging and value-based education free of cost. A total of 90 students from 15 districts are studying in different batches. Every year, 15-20 boys of age group 9-10 years are admitted. The six years of education have been divided into six classes called ganas namely Shraddha, Medha, Prajna, Prathibha, Dhrithi and Dheehi. A perfect plan for six years of education has been chalked out. At the end of six years students take SSLC exam independently.
The Gurukula imparts Panchamukhi Shiksha—a five pronged system of education imparting knowledge in Veda, science, Yoga, agriculture and fine arts. Students of Pratibha Gana visit primary and higher primary schools in Addada and Hariharapura villages in the vicinity and conduct Balagokul. They tell stories of great Indian epics, famous characters and great events in the Indian history. Students of final and pre-final year (Dhrithi and Dheehi Ganas) go to selected villages in Chikmagalur District and stay there for 10-days. Selected students conduct summer camps at different places in which they teach Sanskrit, shlokas, bhajans, yogasanas, pooja vidhis, Bhagavad Gita, swadeshi games, moral stories and stories of great national heroes.
High seat of modern education
Established over a century back, Gurukul Kurukshetra needs no introduction in the field of quality and value based education. Managed by Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, the high seat of learning was established by Swami Shardha-nanda on April 13, 1912. Adopting the ideals of Swami Dayananda Saras-wati, assimilating the traditional and modern culture, the institution has enlightened the lives of lakhs of students. According to Principal Dr Ved Vrata Acharya, 1,400 students presently study from fifth to 12th standard.
The institution is affiliated to CBSE Board up to 10+2 level. Apart from the options of Arts, Commerce and Science, religious, moral and Sanskrit education is compulsory for each and every students. A separate branch has been established to churn out well-learned intellectuals in the Vedic arena. Practical knowledge of Ashtang Yoga as prescribed by ‘Yoga-Darshan’ has been made mandatory for every brahmachari keeping in mind his age and capability. There is also arrangement for both traditional and modern games like Malkhambh, sticks, swords, javelin, hockey, football, volleyball, athletics, gymnastics, martial arts, shooting, etc. All the games and players have patronage of Sports Authority of India (SAI). Horse-riding is also a unique specialty of the Gurukul.
Weekly Bal Sabhas are organised to enhance the cultural skills. Music competitions, science/GK quiz, poem recitation contests, declamation contests, shloka-competitions are arranged on Saturdays to ensure an all-round development. Arrangement of meals is unique in the hostels, where all the work is done using state-of-the-art techniques. The goushala provides 600 litres milk daily and which is solely for the consumption of the students.
The Gurukul also started another interesting experiment about eight years back. World-class Veda Pracharaks are developed through Arsh Mahavidyalya imparting knowhow of modern gadgets like Computer, LCD, Projector, T.V. etc. The aim is to prepare learned individuals proficient in all the Vedas, Vedangs, Upangs, Smriti, Brahamnas, Upanishads, multi-linguistics who can preach and spread Vedic way of life all over the globe while remaining bachelor throughout life. So far 12 such Pracharaks are working and 35 are undergoing training. n