The education method evolved during the last six decades basically helps the Vidya Bharati schools to excell. Organiser Senior Correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to Vidya Bharati national secretary Shri Shivkumar to that method. Excerpts:
What is the USP which helps the Vidya Bharati to achieve wonderful results?
Our class teaching mechanism is based on three-layer system. First is regular training of teachers, which helps them improve subject teaching. The use of modern technology and other teaching aid is freely used. Second, our teaching pedagogy focuses not only the fast learners in the classroom but also the medium and slow learners. This helps the slow learners too to improve. Third, we promote group discussions among the students, which help the fast learners to revise the chapters and the slow and medium learners to clear their doubts about the chapters.
Is your curriculum different from the other private or government schools?
No, we only follow the curriculum of the concerned Board to which our schools are affiliated. Apart from it, we have also prepared some special modules focusing on value education and personality development.
Is there any special criterion for admission also?
No, there is no special criterion. Normally, first come, first serve is the main basis. Mostly, we take the students from lower classes. Our fee structure also is very low. But the objective is to provide the best education on minimum expenses. The other so-called famous public schools mostly take the students getting above 70 per cent marks and also those who can afford the higher fees. Whereas, we take the ordinary students. We make all efforts to improve their performance. We believe that the result does not depend upon only the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), it also requires Emotional Quotient (EQ), Spiritual Quotient (SQ) and Humanity Quotient (HQ). All these efforts focus on the development of body (sharer), mind (man), intellect (buddhi) and soul (aatma). That is why the students coming from even the ordinary families show encouraging results.
There seems more focus on Hindu values of life in your schools…..
These are not merely the Hindu values, these are human values or Bharatiya values of life. When we use ‘Hindu’ word some people start thinking it as anti-Muslim or anti-Christian, however we never think so. These moral values depend upon the morality and these are purely human values aiming at betterment of all. Speaking truth, to be patriot, not indulging in corruption, respecting women, etc are equally important for all. Our modules based on four points—the development of body (sharer), mind (man), intellect (buddhi) and soul (aatma), are basically based on these human values.
OK, we call them Bharatiya values. Do the students from other ways of worship, like Muslims show hesitation, because there are reports of Muslims opposing the Saraswati Vandana in several parts of the country?
They do not oppose because we do not tell them to worship any Hindu God or goddess, visit the temple or follow any particular method or recite any particular shloka or mantra. When we talk about human values, these are equally important for all. When we talk about Yoga, it is beneficial for all. So, why should anybody oppose it?
Is there any special arrangement at the residential schools?
We try to generate the family atmosphere in hostels and residential schools so that the development of the students is done accordingly.
What challenge do you face in the schools run in terrorism affected areas?
The major focus in difficult areas, whether they are terrorism affected or affected by any other problem, is always positive development. The negative mindset among the people of those areas, may be due to any reason, has some or the other influence on the children psyche also. Therefore, we ensure that they start thinking positive and feel that we have to collectively work for building a healthy society. Healthy society from all angles—body, mind, intellect and soul! For it, we also have some psychological activities, which help those children build a mindset towards the society, state, nation and the humanity. We have schools in naxalite affected areas, but they also appreciate our work. Our work has received acceptability in those areas without any opposition.
How many schools or institutions does the Vidya Bharati today have all over the country?
There are 12,364 schools imparting formal education from KG to 12th standard. About 32 lakh students study in these schools. We have 1.40 lakh teachers. We have about 15 lakh alumni, who extend active support in development of the schools. Apart from it, about three lakh educationists are associated with us through the academic councils, training modules, management, etc. Through these students, we are in touch of about 25 lakh parents who are associated with us in regular day-to-day working. We also have about 40 B.Ed colleges. Apart from it, we also run about 12,000 single teacher schools in slum and remote areas. We are today the largest non-governmental education organisation in the world.
Is there any new scheme in the pipeline to further improve the Vidya Bharati schools?
New experiments are regularly conducted. All methods are adopted to enhance the speed of the brain of a child. Very big equations of mathematics are solved within seconds through the smart mathematics, which we call Vedic Maths.
Why do you not make efforts to ensure that the mechanism followed by Vidya Bharati is adopted by other schools too?
Very good question. We, since beginning, believe that Vidya Bharati alone cannot impart education to the entire population of the country. We are working since 1952, but in these years we could start only about 12,000 schools. How many more schools can we start in the coming 50 years? We never try to keep our methods undisclosed. If somebody wants to adopt it, we never say no. We want the good methods should be adopted not only in private but also in government schools. We organise one or two seminars in a year involving the teachers of all the schools (both private and government) of the region and freely share our model of education with all. And people adopt it. The speed may be slow. But we feel the good things experiments anywhere should be shared by all. Only then we can transform the education sector of the country as was desired by the great personalities of this land.
Have you given this information to the committee constituted to frame new Education Policy?
Yes. We have already submitted all the suggestions to the committee in a booklet form.