Mukti Gupta

Mukti joined her family business on the completion of her education. Mukti Group is a renowned business conglomerate in the areas of Real Estate, Entertainment (Mukti World) and Hospitality (Five-star Hotel Park Plaza). She spearheads the Strategic Initiatives and Operations of the Group.
She is extremely passionate for social service and formed Help Us Help Them.

DISCOVERY OF VEDIC EDUCATION AND ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION SYSTEM

We take life for granted always, but this Covid time has given all of us a chance to introspect our lives. This pandemic has been a lesson for all the humans who are willing to open their minds and learn.

We are a country with immense calibre, ability, intelligence. We are well reputed to get the top jobs or do business not only all over the country, but around the world.

But What are we/our children learning in today’s times? Are we focussing on happiness, emotional quotient, and well being of a person? Do we only want machines and robots around us?

On this note, I started researching on the education system of various schools all over India. This brought me to a few Gurukul schools and alternative learning centres.

The word “Veda” means knowledge of various kinds. Vedas hold a vital place in Indian society. Rig Veda, Sam Veda, Yajur Veda, and Athar Veda are the four Vedas.
Vedic education is the education of Vedas

The Gurukula system of education was the chief feature of Vedic Education. Vedic Education aimed at proper and all-round development of humanity.

The aims of Vedic Education of ancient India were as follows
Self-realization, Development of Healthy Physique, Education for character building , All round development of personality, fulfilment of social responsibility, change the students thinking from material knowledge and make the students focus on the spiritual world.

We visited a few Gurkul schools-

1. Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar
2. Acharyakulum, Haridwar
3. Kangri Kanya Gurukul, Dehradun
4. Gurukul Kurukshetra, Haryana

An interesting part of the education system in these schools is that they have a beautiful blend of Modern education along with Vedic education. They emphasize on Naitik Shiksha (Moral Education), Dharma Shikhsha – Ved Shikhsha, Bhagwat Gita. They concentrate on the child’s physical as well as mental and spiritual growth.

Although the school is English medium in its curriculum, the students speak in Sanskrit every morning. Thereby, Sanskrit is not only just a mere subject but also a language they are proficient in. The question here is- why are we so fascinated with the language Sanskrit. In our understanding, Sanskrit plays a vital role in the neurological development of a child’s brain which in turn helps in mental development. It has been widely studied and proven that Sanskrit shlokas have a deep impact on human mind.

The importance of Yoga, Meditation, Pranayam in our lives is far greater than just mental, physical or spiritual health. It’s a lifestyle which is instilled in a child from early childhood. The most important learning was that if a student has a basic understanding of subjects like Yoga, Sanskrit, Vedic education, they will realize the importance of these subjects as a part of their life in terms of physical or mental growth. In due course, if they feel they have an aptitude for any of these subjects, they can always take it up later in life too as a career option. The idea is to create awareness and interest about these subjects which have essentially formed the basis of our education for years, which has been lost somewhere and is missing in our mainstream education.

The emphasis on most of these Gurukuls was also on Yagna/Havan at sunrise/sunset to purify the environment, improve air quality and destroy germs around us.
In few schools By the time the children are in class 8, they have an understanding of Bhagwat Gita. We are again trying to realize the importance of Bhagwat Gita because it teaches various principles relating to work, life goals, philosophy and spirituality, beautifully explained in a story form.

They have an interesting Ayurvedic Centre as well.

ALTERNATIVE LEARNING

Bhavya Learning, Bangalore
Founder – Seetha Nayyar – Started in 2005
Kaliyuva Mane, Divya Deepa Charitable Trust, Mysore
Founder – Anand Kumar – Started in 2005
Shibhumi, Bangalore
Founder Trustee – Kabir Jaithirtha – Started in 2009
Centre For Learning, Bangalore
Started in 1991
Alternative Learning was like an eye-opener. It widened our horizon and changed the meaning of learning for us. Originally, we could never think beyond the standard education system but the exploration of these learning centres changed our mindset. We learnt how we can make learning so natural and interesting through play. The child should be allowed to grow naturally in a conducive environment rather than pushed to strive for the best all the time. Creation of a stimulated environment can do wonders towards the development of our children.

• Day / Residential Alternative Learning Centre.
• Group wise education (no class system)
Group wise education encourages suitable learning appropriate to the child according to calibre, ability, capability, aptitude, age. Age wise grouping can be divided into –
1st group – 7 to 8yrs
2nd group – 9 to 10yrs
3rd group – 11 to 13yrs
4th group – 14 to 15yrs
5th group – 15 to 16yrs
• Concentration on Language and Maths – Their focus is primarily English as its the most widely spoken language, Hindi as its the most accepted language in India and the State Regional Language along with Maths. The understanding is that if a child knows a language, he can pick up any subject of his interest.
• Other subjects through practical learning, activities, and projects – Other subjects are taught through various techniques devised by these learning centres. They use Natural Farming – Permaculture as well as cooking to teach a part of science or maths or directions, observation based learning. They offer extra curricular activities to ignite the sensitivity of the children. They design projects and activities based on a particular subject relating to history or geography or any topic.

Design their own curriculum and teaching aids to facilitate learning.
Open Board – State Board, Central Board or Cambridge Board.
No Exams held and No competition.
Dialogue/Open Communication is an integral part of the learning process. The focal point is the child – Total respect for the child.
Freedom is essential for wholesome development of an individual.
Each child expresses thoughts & feelings freely, fully confident that he will be heard and understood.
Child is free to explore both physically & mentally, as his/her interests direct him/her. In this freedom he grows both in emotional strength & intelligence.

All this indicates, doesn’t it, that man, in spite of his vast knowledge and extraordinary capacities, his driving energy and aggressive action, is on the decline? This calculated self-centredness with its fears, pleasures and anxieties is evident throughout the world.

What, then, is the total responsibility of these schools? Surely they must be centres for learning a way of life that is not based on pleasure, on self-centred activities, but on the understanding of correct action, the depth and beauty of relationship, and the sacredness of life. When the life around us is so utterly destructive and without meaning, these schools, these centres, must become places of light and wisdom. It is responsibility of those who are in charge of these places to bring this about” said by the famous philosopher, speaker and writer, Jiddu Krishnamurthy.

The responsibility of the school is not only to create self reliant successful human beings, but good, happy, content, peace loving, mentally stable and spiritually evolved humans. The highest form of religion is humanity in itself, we are first humans and then belong to some religion or caste or community. If we all start believing in giving back to nature and society, the world may be a happier place.
As this is urgent, excuses have no meaning. It’s now or never!
After all this research and discovery, what kind of education system do we really want for our children and the future generation?

Both the public and private sectors provide education in West Bengal. Kolkata was the first to bring in western models of education in India. The British missionaries and the Indian social reformists developed the modern education system, established schools and colleges.

People like Ram Mohan Roy, David Hare, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Shashi Bhusan Chatterjee, and William Carey played a leading role in the setting up of modern schools and colleges in the city. The Fort William College was established in 1800. The Hindu College was established in 1817.

The oldest medical school in Asia, the Calcutta Medical College was set up in 1835. In 1857, the University of Calcutta was established as the first full-fledged multi-disciplinary university in south Asia.

West Bengal has a rich legacy of amazing literature with great authors like Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay contributing their fair share to the Bengali literature as well as to the world literature.

We understand from the above that West Bengal is rich in art, culture and literature and education. Hence we can start from West Bengal to bring in change in the education system.

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