A good school is not merely a passport to a good college and to a handsomely paid job. In the mindless pursuit of what is perceived as success, the education system often fails to adequately empower young citizens with life skills and the ability to make a difference to society.
Ms Madhavi Goradia Divan , practising lawyer and member of the Governing Board of The Indian School, took on an initiative to engender awareness about students’ rights and responsibilities as future citizens of India. The Citizenship Programme of The Indian School was thus born. We firmly believe that the aim of education is not only to prepare children for a career but to sensitise them to the society they live in.
The idea of this programme is to create better citizens by generating awareness about rights and responsibilities. It is also intended to address adolescent/pre adolescent challenges, foster life skills and engender sensitivity to social issues. A broad range of the subjects covered under the programme are outlined below.
I AM AN INDIAN: What does it mean to be a citizen of India ? What is so special about India? What defines Indians? How does our polity and society work? Students learn about how the Constitution works.
CARING FOR MYSELF: This broad area covers issues such as personal hygiene, fitness, wellness and nutrition. It also extends to challenges relating to adolescence and growing up, substance abuse, engagement with social media
CARING FOR OTHERS : Our sanskaar syllabus teaches us how important it is to care for fellow citizens, respect public property, and extend basic courtesies to others. Values are taught through methods ranging from mythological tales to contemporary films and guest speakers engaged in social work.
ENVIRONMENT: We learn the importance of improving our environment and our planet for ourselves and for posterity. Challenges such as air, water and other forms of pollution, and climate change and global warming are discussed through films, debates and guest speakers.
CONTEMPORARY EVENTS: Students are kept abreast of news and contemporary developments. Discussions and debates are encouraged on matters of contemporary significance.
GENDER SENSITISATION: This must begin very early in our education system if we want to see gender equality in society. Gender related issues are discussed through media such as films, debates, even nukkad nataks.
OUTREACH PROJECTS:- Students undertake projects outside of school for social or public causes. These projects engender a deep sense of social responsibility. With the help of projects such spot fixing or staging nukkad nataks on social issues in markets or public streets, children do their bit to make a difference in the society they live in.
Students support their Outreach Projects, not with the help of donations but through the dint of their own labour, their shramdaan. Students have started their own little social enterprise through the manufacture of soaps in the Chemistry laboratory. These soaps along with diyas and candles, also. Ade in the chemistry lab are beautifully packaged by students and displayed at school events. Parents have lent their support by purchasing the products lovingly crafted by their children and the proceeds ploughed back into outreach projects. These projects include supporting treatment for the disabled, sponsoring meals at orphanages and donating trash bins for local markets. Dedicating a little bit of one’s own time and effort for helping to alleviate the misery of another is the spirit of shramdaan.
Our Chairman, Mr Prafull Goradia initiated the swachhata mission by lending a hand to the cleaning of the School area. If every Indian is inspired to replicate this effort, the country will become among the cleanest in the world. Our aim is not just the physical cleaning of areas as many organisations were doing as a corollary of the Swachcha Bharat Abhiyan, but to educate the general public on the importance of cleanliness.
Some of our students get together over weekends to clean up/beautify/paint a public area where walls have been vandalised with posters or graffiti. They have received public acclaim and appreciation for their initiative. Our senior students undertake buddy learning sessions at nearby MCD schools, on a range of subjects including dental hygiene and value learning.
These little steps will lead us “to be the change that we want to see.” We hope to carry our children from thinking about “me” to “you” and finally “us”.