What is the goal of education?

What is the goal of education? We have to create a self-reliant and self-confident citizen who is able to adapt to challenges of life. Crucially we will emphasize skills – skills needed for daily living, along with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.
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1/ A few months ago, I started to informally tutor some village children because all schools were closed. Within a few days, my social-distanced open air class swelled from 3 kids to 25 and kids got unruly and I was struggling ๐Ÿ˜‚ and realized how hard it is to be a teacher ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™
2/ I learned quickly that if there is just one kid who won’t co-operate, the whole class would descend into chaos ๐Ÿ˜‚

Fortunately one of my colleagues who is very interested in education and his wife, an experienced school teacher, came to my rescue and we got things organized.

3/ I was half fearing kids won’t show up after the initial burst but they kept showing up!

The students now started to show serious interest and commitment, even the ones initially unruly.

Students and their parents came and requested that we make this a proper “school”.

4/ Seeing their level of enthusiasm and commitment, I knew we had to act. We brainstormed on what must be our educational mission here in the village.

Our experienced teacher, well versed in the Montessori system, is guiding us and we are adapting that to rural needs.

5/ Here are the principles we came up with:

a) It has to be a free school with no fees at all and offer free food for all children. Farm workers cannot afford school fees and malnutrition is still all too common so food is essential.

6/ …

b) the students made it clear early on that the biggest thing they hate about schools are the endless exams and marks and grades.

This resonated because at Zoho University we don’t have exams and grades and it has worked very well for 15 years now.

So no exams!

7/ …

c) What is the goal of education? We have to create a self-reliant and self-confident citizen who is able to adapt to challenges of life.

Crucially we will emphasize skills – skills needed for daily living, along with the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.

8/ …

d) We adopted this goal: if at the end of our schooling, a student has to be afraid of the future and worried about a job, we have failed them.

That’s the meaning behind making self-reliant and self-confident citizens who can adapt to challenges of life.

9/ …

e/ We are coming up with a curriculum that combines class room instruction with learning by doing varied projects, with a clear goal of imparting skills.

This is actually how Zoho University (ZSL) has worked, only difference being the projects will be lower complexity.

10/ Finally accreditation. We want the freedom to experiment to find out what works – and it will vary from kid to kid – so we won’t seek “CBSE affiliation” stuff.

I am philosophically unsuited to such “standardized widget” approach to education.

We are looking at NIOS. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™

11/ That’s where things stand. We have hired some teaching assistants and are scrambling to create facilities (can’t be open air all the time, even in a nice farm setting!) and we are planning workshops, labs and a playground.

Will post details as plans evolve. Exciting!

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