Educational Research, 2018–19
The Journey to Finding (Rediscover) the Meaning Of Education

What is education (to me)

Education is the essence of a human mind, spirit and body, essential to understanding oneself and the world. The meaning of education is not to find the means to sustain existence. At the heart of the work that we do in elementary education is joy. Joy of becoming curious about the ways knowledge unravels within us. It is the pathway of endless possible ways to seek understanding of self and the world around the self. Grant Allen wrote “No schooling was allowed to interfere with my education” at the end of 19th century. And with more than a century gone, here we are putting our children through a gruelling, treadmill setup of boring conundrums. Education comes to the seeker- for it is an experiential transference that transforms information into knowledge.

Current Scenario

Today, we are looking at mass schooling, than never before. With the success of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, more than 96% of children (age group of 6–14) are going to schools. However, how much education is being imparted to the children is a big question mark. Sweep aside education, the amount of literacy available is marginal. The numbers for the 3Rs (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) of elementary literacy has plummeted down over the years of stringent implementation of RTE act, 2009. The act itself is a very elaborate work of great possibility. However, the implementation relies on a lot of structure and very little focus is on the children and their joy of learning. If we focus on the idea of making a building but not the reason of why we are making one, we end up with a generic nice building, waiting to be again contextualized and reshaped to the need.

A quote given through Calligraphic writing, by a friend.

Questions Proposed

The questions that I propose to the world of education are -
What is work of education in a child’s life?
Who creates that vision?
The sufficiency of chalk and board setup or the exam mindset? Do we ever face a multiple choice or chalk and board setup in real life?
Even the sweetest theory is inconclusive without experiential practical, and the grittiest experience is unfulfilled without the theory of everything.
How do we balance that game of theory and practice?
The value education -
Can it be taught through the mock education of today?
If not, then How do we approach that?
The palpable, degrading state of non-delivering state of high-paced education is to be contained fast, for the young country of median age of 25 is rushing towards degraded consumerist capitalism.
What are we going to do about that?
How to stop migration to cities and creation of workshops filled with servants (naukars looking for naukri)?
Can village be the hubs of sustainable economy?
If yes, How can we create a sustainable economy in the village?
And how can our children use their knowledge to contribute into the betterment of the village?
And how can we create a replicable, scalable model of the same for the thousands of villages in India?

The vision and The Landscape

To create a space of learning, in a rural setup. It would be a free education space for elementary education, driven by the inquisitiveness and efforts of a few children. In the long term, it should be able to expand that learning system into everyday life of the child and encourage the same into the lives of the connected community.

Just like the Mr.Kobayashi’s school Tomeo in the book Toto Chan, at the first sight, the school should look like a place in chaos. Children’s working about in small bunches doing their duties and pursuing their learning interests. Many Indian teachers use the lines ‘do you think this is a bazaar?’ for asking children to have arranged setups in the classroom. I envision it to be exactly like a bazaar, Children going about their own ways, with little or no facilitation from the adult. Because life is a bazaar, it is not a church of sitting quietly and listening to something which one cannot comprehend. It’s the application of chaos theory at its prime.

Look at a joyful child. They skip. They jump. If my child grows up to be joyful human and still skips a step, education has happened.

The immediate goal of the research

The creation/adoption of a curriculum, a methodology, an education philosophy and different learning materials would be the end goal of this research. Also, I would personally equip myself with skills, such as pottery, carpentry, handicraft, weaving, puppetry etc. to create a sustainable, creative education model that I can teach to the children myself.

As stated above the idea of a safe, sustainable, joyful, curious, objective yet value-based driven and creative learning space is lingering in my soul.

Who is this fellow?

I am a small man. Believing in impact within one than scale, I am looking for finding the joy of learning in one child at a time. With the wonder of Arvind Gupta’s words ‘the gleam in the eye’, I am empowered by the simplicity of David Horsburgh, T.M.Narasimhan, and Usha Narasimhan. I have taught for 4 years — 2 in Urban and 2 in Rural. The idea of education- shiksha, bubbles in ideas of constructivism of Maria Montessori, John Holt or Gijubhai Badheka or deschooling of Ivan Illich. But given my limited experience in the field of education, I have set my sight upon exploring education in its simplest approaches on the simplest environment.

Dipon Deb — After working for almost four years in Infosys Limited, I left it in search of finding greater meaning of life in service. I had realized that change could be brought only through the young blood and through the open operation of their thought processes towards a free world. Gained initial understanding of the world of education through 2 years in ‘Teach For India’ fellowship in Ahmedabad.

It was the next year that opened my eyes to the real self of education. My time of one year in Sumavanam village school, actually made me fall in love with two things — village life and alternative education. Over time I found the answer to the sad state of education in both of them. The idea of sustainable, independent life style began to entice me into alternative education as the ideal education.

The idea of experimentation in Shiksha Niketan, Tiloniya was an idea in the next academic year. And it was quite a success, with lot of inhibitions because of clashes with the targets of goals of mainstream education. It also gave me a reality check of getting a deeper understanding of the processes of open, democratic, constructive education models.

And so this year I dedicate

- to finding and empowering oneself unfolding into an exquisite facilitator, of different learning processes for every individual child.

Contact Details

E-mail ID: deb.dipon@gmail.com
Phone No.: +91–9830421602, +91–9680089068

The support

A drop of help will go a long way

This is a personal endeavor to research into the possibilities into an out of the box yet pure and free education.

An educational research to find the connection between the possible ideological ideas and the practice of catering to the poor mass. I stipulate a time period of six to twelve months, wherein the entire cost burden of traveling all over India to these different places will be quite enormous. So, any support in any way will be very helpful.

As stated above, I have at least a total of 14 destinations and 6 personalities to visit.

The number should increase as more places and people will be added to it, as the journey proceeds through the year.

Also, the idea is to connect with people who are working\worked with the idea of free education. Thereby, the high end alternative school and people involved with such institutions are not enlisted in these lists.

Accountability

Throughout the next year, I plan to create regular reports.

The reports would include –

Ø Insights in the new processes learned

Ø The progress of

o the curriculum

o Skills learned

o Learning materials created/acquired

o The culmination of the future team and/or learning Centre

And everything that can revolve around the joy and growth of children.

We have been supported -

We crowd-funded over 1 lakh INR. We feel that so grateful for the great enthusiasm and support in the program.

We, also, have gathered a team of contributors and supporters on the field and for planning/strategizing. There are about 3–4 people who are teachers at present, — who are implementing certain ideas in their classroom. There are 2 people, who will be accompanying me in some of the visits. There is a planning and strategy mentor in the program, as well. Other than them, there are 2–3 people who are trying to create their own projects, drawing thoughts from this one. All these roles are voluntary and therefore, create a state of humility and gratitude in all of us.

Keep yourself updated with our program through -

articles on medium — https://medium.com/@dipondeb/
audio podcast on

soundcloud — https://soundcloud.com/altdeb/

And on Podomatic – https://deb-dipon.podomatic.com

and 
pictures on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/alternative_deb/

Connect with me through -
email — deb.dipon@gmail.com
twitter — https://twitter.com/dipondeb
facebook — https://www.facebook.com/dipondeb
LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/in/dipon-deb-b6366018/

Happy Learning!!! Education For all…