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Educational Awakening

Tuesday August 31 2004 10:34 IST

By Karmayogi

The proliferation of nursery and primary schools began in the sixties and has almost saturated the nation. It was an initial symptom of educational awakening. We find parents are willing to pay high fees for quality education. The one aspiration of the lowest members of the society as domestic servants and rickshaw drivers today is to give good education to children. We hear of hundreds of pioneering efforts in founding schools that believe that they have come by the last word in education. These schools are popular and parents happily pay high fees. It is a happy augury that the field of education has thrown up so many pioneers who are motivated by patriotic service. Instead of being insular, they also exhibit a desire to emulate better schools.

A pioneering thinker over a long period experiments in teaching and evolves his own methods of teaching based on his own personal experience of what education is. Teaching is an external method. The inner experience is about the nature of education. His school will meet with total success only when all his teachers have undergone the same educational inspiration, not when they learn the methods. It is not yet a reality in practice. Teachers can be trained in the methods of the pioneer at the most. It is a welcome phenomenon that such pioneers are no longer insular or competitive, but are willing to follow other methods if found to be better. Outside such pioneers, the ordinary school is anxious to learn better methods from anywhere. At Primrose School, we receive such delegations often. The visitors wish to observe the classes, the teaching, the library and show an eagerness to learn. Such an attitude was not there three or four decades ago. We send such teachers to Aruna Raghavan, who is one such pioneer and who readily trains teachers for a few weeks.

The service of such pioneers in education is great, admirable. All over the country there are dozens of such schools. Many would like to follow in their footsteps. The pioneers will be doing a greater service than founding a school if they start a training division to help those who would like to follow them. Teachers are low paid. Teaching is the last resort in job seeking. Therefore, we do not get the cream of youth as teachers. Training alone will not make a good teacher. To be a good teacher, one must be a voracious reader and think for himself or herself. Teachers must be paid high salaries for us to attract the best candidates. All these are long term issues. There is NOW an awakening which is new. Pioneers can easily meet this requirement. Maybe when such pioneers meet in a convention and organise a journal and found training institutions, such a need will be met permanently. It is great to see the nation awakening in some field. Whatever the field, the awakening there is national awakening. Hence, the opportunity for patriotic service.
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