Why the need for a new way of education?
As the name – NEEV (New Education and Environment Visions) – implies, NEEV Vidyalaya is about a new way of education. It is a radical departure from the present industrial model of education that belts out workers for the current technoeconomic society.
The true function of education is not the mere imparting of skills and knowledge that conditions and moulds children to fit into the present socio-economic structure. Such a lopsided pursuit of ends creates humans who are incapable of seeing the whole. When only the intellect is cultivated, while the heart and hands are neglected at best and discarded at worst, the result is a skewed society living in a technological bubble.
The results of this imbalance are being witnessed by the world at the global level. The single minded pursuit of technology has created grave environmental crisis. Depleting natural resources, global warming, climate change, species extinction and rise of toxic pollution are all pointing to a deep imbalance in our planet. Not only in the geosphere and biospehere but the insane use of technology has also catastrophic effects in the sociosphere. Global inequality, ethnic conflicts and terrorism are all results of humans who have not found a balance and harmonious way of living.
NEEV Vidyalaya – An effort to create a new way of education (Teachers, Children and Board)
Located in Hurlung Village, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand - NEEV Vidyalaya is an effort to find the balance between the head, the hands and the heart. A society that lauds the head, scoffs at the heart and debases the hand is a cruel society that roils with conflict born of competition and comparison. Instead of becoming guardians of the planet, humans are trained to become efficient, heartless machines, stripping the planet off it’s resources, consuming beyond sustainable limits. Happiness is equated with more consumption and instead of becoming creative humans, the present education only produces masses of robots stamped with a software to compete, consume and compare.
Like the technological society, the current education system which is nothing but the arm of the technological society, education is standardized through state created curriculums, grades, certificates and degrees. The system rather than the individual and his/her creativity is more important. A successful person is not the one who asks questions, thinks originally, loves the earth and creates stuff by his own hands. Rather a successful person is one who has mastered the diktats of the system – a technological slave who never questions the norms of society, who has been trained to compare and compete to reach the top of the heap and whose happiness is determined by the rate at which he consumes the goods produced by a technological society.
NEEV Vidyalaya is a radical departure from this current model of education. Based on 5000 sq ft of land in Village Hurlung, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, NEEV Vidyalaya aims at fostering and nurturing a complete and harmonious human being by attending equally to the development of head, hands and the heart. At NEEV, the individual rather than the system is more important. So we have restricted the number of children studying in the school to only 50. This is the number that can be managed by the founders of the school – Anurag Jain and Shikha Jain – who are also going to be it’s sole teachers ( with a few teacher helpers). Both Anurag and Shikha have been in the field of education for the last 20 years, having worked in different kinds of schools and colleges in different states of India. Rather than having thousands of children, all meant to ape the system through reward and punishment, NEEV Vidyalaya is about allowing the individuals to flower in freedom. They are not molded through a system, a curriculum or a syllabus. The three R’s of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic are definitely going to be taught but that is not the end. Equal or more energy is given to the cultivation of heart and skills of the hand.
Rather than following ICSE, CBSE or State Education Boards, NEEV Vidyalaya has opted to follow the NIOS – National Institute of Open Schooling, a Central Government Board which gives equivalent degrees offered by the other boards at the Class 10 and Class 12 levels but with an amazing degree of flexibility and economy. With only about Rs. 3000 to 4000 a child can register, get course material and a certificate through NIOS. There is no need for parents to dish out huge sums of money. As NEEV has consciously chosen to work in the Village, in accordance with it’s philosophy, NIOS comes as a boon. Not only does it cut across class, institutions and economics, it offers high quality education material.
The 5 S Philosophy of NEEV Vidyalaya
Academics however is not the pivot of NEEV Vidyalaya. The central pillars of NEEV Vidyalaya are called 5 S
- Sadachar – self discipline
- Swadhyaya – self study
- Svavlamban – self reliance
- Swarajya – self Governance
- Samrajya – Self Realization
The 5 S pillars of NEEV forms the complete matrix for the integral development of individuals, society and the world at the individual, social and global levels in the environmental, political, economic and spiritual spheres of life. Each pillar is a vast area of study and development which would lead to the creation of creative human beings, each distinct and following their own inner compass of development bestowed by nature.
Hand work and hand crafts in NEEV Vidyalaya
NEEV Vidyalaya would be dominated by hands work and hand crafts like gardening, wood work, spinning and weaving, metal work etc. as we believe these are the fields which offer the scope for an integral development of head, heart and hands. Sitting in classes, hunching over textbooks and staring at the black board is a most monotonous way of education that only snuffs out the joy of learning from children. Hand work and hand crafts offer the most complete form of education as they require the harmonious functioning of head, heart and the hands. They also create self reliant individuals who are not trained to be consumers but become fulfilled and creative producers. Such individuals do not equate happiness with consumption but find joy in the use of their own head, hearts and hands. Work for them is not a means towards and end, rather an end in itself. Work is not only a means to earn money which shall fetch entertainment and sensual gratification but work becomes the field of passion, learning and fulfilment.
Financial Management of the School
The fees charged by the school for its fifty children is a modest Rs. 200 per child, which shall take care of certain operating expenses. NEEV Trust, over the years, has also created a corpus fund of Rs. 50 lakhs to take care of contingency. The interest from this fund shall also help the school in meeting the rest of the operating expenses.
Since there are only two teachers – Shikha and Anurag, there are no significant salary expenses. Shikha work purely on voluntary basis and Anurag draws a monthly honorarium of Rs. 10,000/month.
Financial Help required by the school
Since NEEV Vidyalaya can take care of it’s salary and operating expenses, the financial help that the school requires is in terms of infrastructure and material. Following is a list of items that the school requires help for
- Land (about 30 lakhs) – for gardening as well as playground for school. Since the school is situated only on 5000 sq. ft of land, the entire area has been used for construction. There is another 5000 sq ft of land lying vacant behind the school. The school requires financial help to purchase this land. Since we would like to educate children through gardening and farming, this land would be useful for us both as a space for plantation and also a place for school children to play
- Tools and Equipments (about 5 to 10 Lakhs) – Since education at NEEV is based heavily on hand work and hand crafts we require to build workshops for various crafts like woodwork, metal work, spinning and weaving…etc. The school requires financial help to purchase the tools and equipments for these.
- Construction of Workshops (about 30 lakhs) – With the help received so far, NEEV has been able to buy land and construct the ground storey of the school. It would require financial help to build the first floor of the school which would house all the workshops.