Friday, September 28, 2001
Small steps to
Concept schools like the Poorna Prajna Shishu Vihar
at Alanahalli in Mysore have the advantage
of providing need-based
education, which is the future of quality education
in India, writes Suma
The Poorna Prajna Shishu Vihar at Alanahalli in Mysore is better
known as Tarakka's school. Not long ago, Tara Gopinath, her sister, Malathi and
a friend pooled in their resources and started a school to cater to the needs of
needy children in their neighbourhood. The school differed from other schools in
its wholly informal nature.
The stress is on grooming students from the
very roots. Students here, have no need to dread exams at the end of every
academic year nor are they under pressure to complete a task within a specified
period. In other words, every child here is given due importance and is
encouraged to learn things at his or her own pace. What is more, there is no
tuition fee and uniform too. Food and books are both provided at school.
Tarakka’s school follows its own syllabus. Its students range in age
group - four to fifteen and all study in groups. Each study group is comprised
of seven to eight students. English is used as the medium of instruction in
order to help students join the mainstream. Such students who fail to pick up
English by the seventh class are encouraged to continue studies in Kannada. The
regular government syllabus is introduced only when the student is mentally
prepared. Even then the subjects are treated as simple stories.
a typical student of Tarakka's school. Along with her friends Pramodini, Thelma,
Triveni, Shilpa and Sanjana, she begins her regular day at school with the music
class. It starts with "Om kar" and a few Sanskrit shlokas followed by classical,
folk and light music. The day is thus begun on a peaceful note. During the
course of the year, the school holds various cultural programmes. Pottery,
tailoring, gardening, puppetry and dance are taught. Students are taken on
excursions and even Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated.
School has 33 students and six teachers. With most of the parents-segment of the
school being illiterate, there was initial hesitation in enrolling their wards.
Things however seems to have changed. "Seeing her so active is such a relief.
She has become so bold that she speaks so well outside, all the doubts have
vanished", says one such parent of her daughter.
The school also aims at
grooming its students to act as change agents, such that, respective students
families too are motivated and educated. There are a number of government
schools nearby Tarakka’s school and one can see a definite difference in the
working of the two systems. The unique teacher - student relationship in
Tarakka's school enables them to bring about change. Tarakka herself opines that
families of her students have changed and the second generation is
Tara Gopinath was a teacher in a formal school for 13 years.
The concept of education advocated by David Horshborough, hailed as the Father
of Non-Formal Education held her interest. Her true motivator, however, was her
own sister, Malathi, who encouraged her to start on with what she believed in.
The inspiration took roots and the Poorna Prajna Shishu Vihar was born in 1984.
The school walls are decorated with clay tiles made by the students themselves.
The wall facing the road depicts the story of Pied Piper.
organisations like Action Aid, CRY and Ratan Tata Trust have all played a role
in the development of the Poorna Prajna Shishu Vihar, the latest contributor
being the Asha Trust. A library facility tops the immediate requirements of the
Concept schools like these have the advantage of providing
need-based education, which is the future of quality education in India. The
predominantly rural structure of our society calls for a decentralised
educational scenario. Tarakka’s school has definitely made a great start in this
direction. Which ever way one sees it - the original motto remains the same -
providing quality education with the limited resources available.
© Copyright, 1999 The Printers (Mysore)Ltd.
[E-mail to Editor]
[Main Page..Text Version] [Main Page..Graphic Version]