Even as the construction of new NEEV Vidyalaya at village Hurlung continues, classes have begun at the NEEV Herbals unit with 25 children on board. Thus sails out the ship of NEEV to the scarcely chartered lands of true education. Not only that, NEEV Vidyalaya becomes a center of enrichment in an environment bereft of anything ennobling for the children of Village Hurlung. Given the class distinctions that prevail in our world, for the child are reserved only the material, moral or intellectual resources of the family into which he/she was born. And if in his family there are no such resources, the child has to develop in material, moral and intellectual misery. With NEEV Vidyalaya, a whole new vista opens out for the children of Hurlung.
The ship of NEEV Vidyalaya sails out – Shibu of LKG with his drawing
Education as it is today
Most of us think education to be a trivial affair – a routine affair of transferring skills like the 3 R’s, passing examinations, getting degrees and becoming subsumed in the vast socio-economic machine of society. Educational institutes are well oiled organizations clanking out mass stereotypes. Our economic system must create men who fit its needs; men who cooperate smoothly; men who want to consume more and more. Our system must create men whose tastes are standardized, men who can be easily influenced, men whose needs can be anticipated, men who will fit into the social machine without friction.
We are concerned to the degree of obsession with what we will make of our children and begin engineering them at an increasingly early age. Not content with school at six years of age, we have continued the logical regression into preschools, early learning, infant education, pre-natal music, ultra sound screening and what not. We are certain that we will create the perfect child through all of this, but would we recognize perfection if we came upon it through all our manipulation.
For those who see the child as born failed and broken, in need of repair and redirection, education will mean a revamping of the child that is, into the child that “should be”. We are all adults who “should be”, and we are never enough with “what is”. We can easily implant this essential dissatisfaction in our children and induct them into the cult of unhappiness that looks to materialism for its solace.
What concerns most parents is that their children should pass the examinations and learn their lessons as quickly as possible, so as to save time and money. It is not learning in itself, the attainment of a loftier culture that concerns the families, but the response to the summons of society, to the obligations imposed, an obligation which they find burdensome and which cost money nonetheless they consider it important that their children should acquire their passport into the life of the society in the shortest time possible.
Explaining to Parents the Vision of NEEV Vidyalaya
The Effects of Today’s Education on Individuals and Society – Repression
In all discussion about how best to teach children, we don’t often hear about the purpose of education from the children other than a social obligation and preparation of the child for the adult world of work. We don’t hear much about the child, and almost nothing from the child.
Perhaps all that education aspires to be is the preparation of the young person for their role in the larger society. This is certainly a good idea for society, but in the efficiency of producing citizen workers, are we missing the deeper meaning and higher purpose of learning? Have we forgotten about the spirit of the child, the unique and fragile expression of a passionate and integrated life?
Perhaps we are a little afraid of happiness. We were educated (away) from that state long ago, molded into a set of skills and a catalog of information. Our education was not to fulfil us but to fulfil the needs of productivity in the market place. But children are born knowing the creative life, and fortunately creativity is hereditary – we can easily inherit it from our children.
Psychoanalysis shows that memories evoked from the subconscious are sufferings that occurred in infancy and lie latent in the consciousness, shaping and guiding human behaviour outside of his volition. These sufferings were caused by repression of spontaneous activity of children by adults who wielded authority over them. And the surprise of surprises is that the person who does wiled the maximum authority in early infancy is none but – the mother. The next wielder of authority is of course the school.
So society as a whole is populated with repressed adults who are driven by extrinsic motivations like money and power, chasing a chimera rather than fulfilled individuals led by intrinsic motivators like love for work, nature and humans.
Story telling time – A very special activity for the growth of children. The stories told are not from textbooks or history. Rather they are spontaneously made up on the spur by observing intimately the behavior of each child during the day. The story every day centres around a particular child in the class and talks about how that particular child faces some challenging situation. It is an effective way, a psychological tool for catharsis of the child, relieving him of his/her repressions and boosting self- esteem.
The Only Way for the World to Change is through Education
We look forward to science, technology, politics or economics to change the world. However, it is education that may point the way to the normalization of the adult world. Such a social reform would not come about through theory or the energies of a few organizers, but through a slow constant emergence of a new world in the midst of the old – the world of the child and the adolescent.
From this world the revelations, the natural guidance necessary to the normal life of society, would gradually evolve. It is truly absurd to suppose that theoretical reforms or individual energies could remedy so colossal a void as that made in the world by the repression of the child. No one can remedy the ever growing evils of which the first roots lie in the fact that men are all abnormal because their infancy could not develop along the lines traced by nature, who therefore suffered irremediable deviation. Every good thing comes to a naught with deviated men who seek to possess it for themselves and seek to make of it a means of power. Then every good thing is destroyed before it can be of service, and thus becomes a danger to human life. That is why every good thing, all progress, all discoveries, can increase the evil afflicting the world as we have seen in the case of machines, which represent the most tangible form of social progress for us all. Every discovery that might mean elevation and progress can be used for destruction, for war, or for self enrichment. The progress of physics, chemistry and biology, the perfecting of means of transport , have only magnified the danger of destruction, wretchedness and the appearance of a cruel barbarity. We have therefore nothing to hope from the external world till the normalization of man is recognized as a basic achievement of social life. Only then will all external progress be able to lead to welfare and a higher civilization.
The unknown energy that can help humanity is that which lies in the child.
We need a reorientation of education, a radical and fundamental realignment of the purpose of education. Can education shift from it’s current model of shaping children into components of economic production, into an active experiment in optimizing the creativity of the whole child? We have been so busy educating our children that we have missed the heart of education, the creation of a happy child.
The Aim of Education – A Happy Child (A very difficult aim )
A happy person, fulfilled in their connection to their friends, family, and community and in the expression of their vocation, is likely to be useful and productive in their life and to help weave the collective fabric of a functional society. What else should a society need from education other than the happiness of its people?
According to the 5 S philosophy of NEEV – Education is no longer about people taking exams and proceeding on that verification from that secondary school to the university, but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher one by means of their own activity, through their own effort or will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual.
“Precious things are conveyed to the younger generation through personal contact with those who teach, not – or at least not in the main – through text-books. It is that which primarily constitutes and preserves culture” – Albert Einstein
Taking an Unknown Journey Along with the Child in Education
If we don’t see children as broken at birth, then what are they if not a mystery. Can we join them in exploring the unknown in their life and have strength to reveal that we live in the unknown too. In that, we are not trying to change them, or ourselves for that matter, but rather we are revealing in the amazing discoveries that life holds for all of us. We cannot teach our children to drink deeply of life because the knowledge of life is not transferred by will. But children can understand so easily if they are not stopped, more so if they see that the adults in their life are continuously learning.
We heartily thank all of you who have supported us so far to create this unique journey of NEEV possible, and who have joined hands to create a transformation in human consciousness through education. The journey is long, relentless, back-breaking but at the same time an adventure of a lifetime. We sincerely look forward to all your support for this journey which is always just beginning…………..
Jaya of Nur – Beginning her life’s journey with her new partner in NEEV Vidyalaya