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Schools with a Difference

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Schools with a Difference

Schools in Auroville – Here life itself is learning

Auroville is a place with a difference, a difference not seen anywhere else in the world. It is an experimental town in southern India where men and women from different nationalities, races, politics, and economies come together to stay with equality. In Auroville, realizations happen for humanity and human unity.

The Auroville township is expected to grow to a population of 50,000. It was a concept of the Mother, a visionary who wished to bring changes. A unanimous resolution was passed by the UNESCO in 1960, promoting Auroville as the future of humanity.

The township is based on ideologies such as sustainable living, cultural, environmental, social, and spiritual needs of human beings and was inaugurated on the 28th of February 1968. It has a self-supporting township divided into different zones including industrial zones, international zone, cultural zone, peace area, residential zone, and, green belt.

It consists of almost 13 schools out of which a few are out-reaching schools. The school names are all diverse and unique, same as the curriculum structure and the academic policies.

For the students of age from 2 to 6, there are almost 3 kindergartens. The kindergartens are named Aha! and Nandhanam. The name Aha symbolizes the excitement of the moment and that is the joy obtained after a student becomes a part of the Aha! Curriculum.

Insight based learning approaches are used to facilitate a better understanding of a subject by a student. Accomplishing learning milestones without a fixed timetable or schedule is the most joyous way of learning and this is way lessons are taught at Aha!.

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Another school, the Deepanam helps to make an impact on the lives of students by making them part of creating their learning schedules. As time passes, students entirely takes-up the responsibility to chart their studies. Four languages – English, French. Tamil and Sanskrit became the key for the Deepanam school.

In the Future School of Auroville, not just physical and mental growth is targeted but also emotional and spiritual growth. Students and teachers at the Future School are from different nationalities around the globe. This itself creates an emotion of global-wellbeing.

There is another kindergarten within the township that believes in alternating sessions between rigorous activity and quiet activity, directed activity, and free choice activity to help bring out the real mission of an individual. ‘The Last School’ ironically is the first school in Auroville established in 1985 for students of 14 years of age and above.

The Last School covers subjects including literature and poetry, pure sciences including physics and chemistry, life-sciences including biology, math, social sciences, cultural studies, and more. Even in the Last School, individual choices are given preference than the established curriculum of learning.

The new era secondary schools, transition school, Udavi school, Aikiyam School, Arulvazhi Schools, Tamil Ulakam evening school are a few other innovative ideologies that were implemented under the Auroville Education Program.

Not everyone can go to Auroville, however, for those who would want to continue their education can take up any innovative online program from any of the renowned universities. A number of online programs are listed on the platform called thecollegemonk.

Different types of schools

The Pallikkoodam School

Haven’t you ever dreamt if your school didn’t have any exam? Yes, such schools exist. The Pallikkoodam school in Kerala is another innovation in this regard. In Pallikkoodam School, are exams don’t exists till you reach a grade. Students sit on the ground, rather than on benches and call their teachers ‘chechi’ (the name by which the elder sisters are fondly called). The stress and strain of home-works are also avoided. In a way, learning is not a burden at the Pallikkodam.

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Shibir Shala

The Shibir Shala School in Patna identifies the illiterate students and drives them to the standard of 7th standard students in 3 years. There are no vacations in this institution. They only have one-week breaks. Though the stress is on mathematics and languages, vocational skills such as farming, music, arts, and craft is also taught. In Shibir Shala, more efforts are spent on imparting basic education, than trying to create an education revolution. After all, in a country where illiteracy is one of the major problems, basic education is itself a revolution.

Conclusion

At locations across the globe, education innovators are trying to make a difference. They truly believe that only education can bring the real difference. At one place we see the essential techniques to raise the children from the traditional principles of learning, at other places we see a reverse shift from the technical times to the age-old good times. However be the transition, if we are able to enlighten a few lives with knowledge, that would definitely be the greatest outcome of our education system.

Author – Theres Ann Matthew

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