The Indian education system is largely centred on academics, often burdening the children. Instead of focusing on the overall development of a child, mainstream schools pay attention to marks. However, an increasing tribe of alternative schools cropping up in the country follow a child-centric approach.
These schools make sure the child grows, in the true sense of the word, instead of being compared to his peers. The idea is for children to learn in a space of integrity, justice, dignity, inclusivity, and freedom.
Take a look at some of the most well-known alternative schools in India:
Kanavu School, Wayanad (Kerala)
Exclusively meant for educating Adivasi children, Kanavu (which means dream) follows unconventional teaching methods include training in traditional performances and music, as well as martial arts training. Established by activist and filmmaker K. J. Baby, the school does not follow conventional practices like classroom and syllabus. Tribal folksongs and rituals are incorporated in the training sessions, thereby reinforcing a sense of identity in the community. The children are also encouraged and trained to attend competitive exams.
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Isha Home School, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)
Established by self-styled godman Sadhguru in 2005, this school is based on the philosophy that education should not just be about enhancing the capability of a child’s mind, but also help him understand the depth of human experiences. The school doesn’t follow the mainstream style of education, and have no examinations. The Isha Home School has a faculty well-trained in harnessing a child’s potential, without pressurizing him/her.
Chirag School, Simyal Gaon (Uttarakhand)
This school was started by Kanai Lal, an expert in livelihood, forestry and sustainability. Chirag School is situated in the hilly vales of Simyal Gaon in Uttarakhand, and propagates holistic education to help children imbibe life skills. One stroll around the school and you’ll see kids making everything from mud houses to microchips!
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Platform School, Barauni (Bihar)
The Platform School was founded by Inderjit Khurana, to provide education to poor orphaned kids, who would serve tea on railway platforms. When 100 children joined the school right after it was established, Inderjit realised that they needed to be taught life skills more than anything else. Hence their lessons included teachings on medical aid and other areas that were of utmost importance to them.
Rishi Valley School, Madanapalle (Andhra Pradesh)
This school believes in inculcating an appreciation for the environment, art and music, apart from paying attention to other academic subjects. The alternative school was founded by philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, in his hometown Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh. The school also focuses on community service and extracurricular activities that are in line with the philosopher’s vision.
Yellow Train School, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu)
At the Yellow Train School, you’ll find kids walking in fields, learning all about wildlife, or cheering each other to participate in music sessions. The faculty here believes in being friends with their students, and teaches lessons that help you evolve as a person , rather than just going for a textbook approach.
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(Edited by Athira Nair)
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