From the editor’s desk

The Modern discourse of education emphasizes upon a fact oriented and superficial skill based learning. This has defined education as dissemination of skills and knowledge that is only possible through    formalized institutions such as schools and universities. We go to these institutions and acquire a great  knowledge and skills, pass examinations and become professionals. This kind of learning, puts a tag on our heads, and defines the level of our qualification for differential access to resources in a society. But in this discourse of knowledge as something that only institutionalized structures produce, we have forgotten that students indeed do most of their learning outside the regimentation and confinement of these formalized institutions. Everyone learns the greatest lessons of life outside the classroom. We learn to communicate, to think, to love,to feel, to work, cultivation and all the other important lessons of human life outside the defined syllabus or the designated space called the classroom or even the library. I strongly emphasize that the planed structure can create technical expertise but it does not necessarily create humans who can find the important bridge between theoretical ideas and the flow of life itself, who can integrate intellect with the heart.  Is this not the reason why even after having the highest of qualifications a  scientist finds himself  working to build nuclear bombs  despite  knowing the destructive implications of such an invention.  Moreover, our minds which have been for so long accustomed to the formalized and routinized definitions of education and qualification ;the trajectory of a man like Tagore,  the poet who with excellent poetic sensibilities nourishing the human civilization and helping us revisit the significance of human life seems like an extraordinary exception. But upon a careful reading we are destined to discover that there is creative potential inside each human being, and within the formalized/mechanical process of learning we are compelled to devalue and neglect it. It is this irony that we must have the strength to resist. The New Leam is by no means suggesting the debunking of the idea of institutionalized education; but all we are really against is the confinement of the human potential and creativity into this terribly complex structure that leaves no scope for free exploration.
We invoke this discussion at a particular ripe moment in time , as these happen to be the crucial days in the lives of many parents who are seeking admission for their little ones. The Nursery admission is open; we can see the long queues of parents outside the school gates. These parents want their children to go to schools, become professionals, and earn lots of money. It is sad that in the rat race to meet our external status symbols and win social prestige we tend to neglect important questions like what the child is going to learn, what kind of value systems he would internalize, will he learn to be loving and cooperative in a system that preaches competition and so on. These fundamental questions are the keys to an education that does not only train the intellect but an education that nourishes the soul too; we reiterate this concern yet again.  Yes, we do live in times where the common belief is that hospitals produce health and schools produce education, yet as practioners in the field we must not think of education as only something that can be transacted in special places, we must rescue education from the confined walls of the classroom and bring it out under the blue sky and the golden sunshine.
I believe that for all those of us who are working in the domain of education it is extremely important that we do not close ourselves to a lifelong process of exploration- a commitment to learning beyond mere prescribed texts. Only when we ourselves come to respect the many sources of learning can we understand and define education in its broadest sense. It is this sensitivity and active contemplation alone that can help us as teachers, educators and activists to rescue education from the monopoly of institutions. We have to raise a voice against the conventional, orthodox mindset that confines learning to the classroom and reinvent methods in education that celebrate life itself as the perpetual site of learning. Let me remind our readers at this juncture that The New Leam is an initiative in this direction- every month as it reaches out to you, it  brings with it a message that we cannot lose hope and that we must keep walking on this path. There are innumerable big and small efforts that are being made in different parts of the world, only to make learning a celebration, education and illumination. We too share this noble dream. The articles are born from the sacred soil of passion to education, now it’s your hand to read and cherish. We only remind you once again that although this may be the path less travelled, it is indeed a path worth travelling. With best wishes for the season of spring we thank you for coming with us so far…