Saturday, 16 October 2021

“My Ideal School! Is it possible, Sarvaa?” - INSIGHT #15



 “My Ideal School! Is it possible, Sarvaa?”


All through dinner, Prachana was deep in thought but gists of excitement made her jumpy. But unlike her usual self, she was too silent that day. Gowri and David kept looking at her and then at each other with some concern thinking what could have happened to her. 

Without any warning, she looked straight at David and Gowri with excitement and exclaimed, “I want to start a school!” 

That was quite an unexpected expression from a home-schooled girl. Her confused parents looked at each other and asked “What happened? What gives you such an idea? You don’t like home-schooling?” 

Prachana smiled at them with full-on excitement and said “That is the point. I want to start a school where even I would like to go and study!” Though not fully convinced, both her parents gave a forced smile. Prachana understood that they were not convinced. 

Prachana continued “Haven't you heard some filmmakers say, they want to make films they would themselves like to watch? Right?” David nodded slightly. Gowri was not sure. Both didn’t have a clue where she is getting to. 

Prachana concluded by saying “A school that provides the ideal way of learning.” 

Her parents were still unsure what she said. But they didn’t want to discourage her. They together said, “Okay, tell us more about it.” They both laughed at the timing. 

Prachana said, “Wait. Have some patience. I am still in the process of processing that in my mind. But I am sure there are ways to set some standards.” 

She suddenly stood up and ran to wash her hands shouting the famous Cartoon line, “That’s all, Folks… for today!” 

Both David and Gowri felt happy that their daughter had started thinking of making a difference for beyond herself.” 

The excited Prachana could not sleep for some time. She held the pillow tight and slept off. The grip on the pillow eventually loosened. 

The room brightened up and Sarvaa, bending down, slowly pulled out the pillow from her hands so that she could sleep comfortably.  Prachana woke up and tightened her grip on the pillow and smiled at Sarvaa saying “I was expecting you. I need your help.” 

Sarvaa stood straight and said ‘So you want to start a school where even you would like to enroll.” Then Sarvaa turned to sit on the chair. Then stopped. Prachana nodded still lying down hugging her pillow. He said “Sit straight if you want me to talk. Prachana was surprised how Sarvaa knew that she was still lying down. She sat up on the bed immediately with the pillow on her lap. 

Sarvaa said “Listen, Child. A school is all about the Teachers who teach there and Teachers need to be supported by a sensible curriculum.” Prachana agreed by nodding. 

Sarvaa continued “It all starts at the age above six and continues beyond age sixteen.” 

Prachana said “Yes, Sarvaa. Grade One to Grade Twelve. The formative years in learning. The so-called School Days.” 

Sarvaa smiled in appreciation and said, “And the School is supposed to help the children to progress from where the child enters the school to that desired state of mental and physical development.” 

Immediately Prachana responded “But then, what I have understood is that School can give only very little in the areas of learning of home language, social interactions, attitudes, community consciousness, and the physical development almost entirely! Schools cannot be credited with any of that, right?” 

Sarvaa said “You are right to a certain extend. What they teach in school cannot stand on its own without the natural process of maturation and social living.” 

Sarvaa continued “So, what the school curriculum should address is the development of capabilities life skills, knowledge, and information and dispositions like attitudes and values.” 

Prachana asked Sarvaa “But how can my school cater to all the skills and all the knowledge and all the information, all the positive attitudes and all the values? Is it not too preposterous to assume like that? Children come to the school with very different capabilities and attitudes.” 

Sarvaa said, “That is where the choice of your school comes.” 

Prachana countered “But then, I cannot discourage something and encourage something else. That is ridiculous.” 

Sarvaa said, “That's where your judgment comes in. You, as an educator, need to have a clear and visible aim so that you can choose intelligently. You need to foresee what the outcome should be for the children. And that functions in three ways.” 

Prachana’s eyes brightened. She knew something is going to come, Sarvaa's pearls of wisdom! She waited. 

Sarvaa continued “Firstly, observe the means available to achieve the objectives and forecast the hindrances on the way.” 

“Secondly, whatever you teach, it should have a proper order or sequence of what and when to teach.” 

“Thirdly, find out alternative paths and evaluate and compare their effectiveness to the desired objective.” 

Prachana, very happily raised her hand requesting Sarvaa to allow her to conclude what she understood. 

She said, “Acting with an aim is nothing but acting intelligently.” They both smiled at each other. 

Sarvaa said, “Prachana, you have a long way to go and this is a good start in your desire to make a school that even you would like to be a student.” 

Prachana stood up and hugged Sarvaa and said “Sarvaa, as long as you are with me, I will be successful in my mission.” 

When she woke up, she realised that she was hugging her fluffy second pillow. She smiled heartily and got up with a clear aim in her mind. 


End of Insight #15


Reference : Rohit Dhankar’s paper ‘from Class Room to Aims’ & John Dewey’s ‘Democracy and Education’





Saturday, 9 October 2021

“Culture and Curriculum” - INSIGHT #14



“Culture and Curriculum” 


Prachana was always excited to go her parents' library. It had two sections. But Mamma’s was bigger. She noticed that each had specific collections. 

Prachana often thought “What kind of library will I build?” Although she knew her answer would keep evolving. 

While browsing through Mamma’s books, One topic struck her and that was ‘Tribal Culture’ in the ‘Jungle, Rural & Urban Cultures’ Section. Whenever Prachana curiosity worm was unearthed, Gowri took enough time to explain things to her but now she seemed too busy writing with great concentration. 

She thought loud “How can there be a culture in jungles? I thought it is only the law of the jungle that works there! Survival of the fittest. What sort of a culture is that!? Anyway… Will ask Mamma when she is free.” 

She slowly pulled out the book without disturbing Mamma. The cover of the book had a beautiful photograph of a tribal couple laughing their heart out looking at the camera. They had very beautiful patterns on their faces and wore ornaments made of nails, teeth, and bones of animals. The picture was so lively that they almost jumped out of the book. 

A loud expression came out from Prachana unknowingly “Oh! My God!” 

That got Gowri’s attention and she asked “What happened, Prachana!” 

Gowri had figured out the reason for Prachana's expression when she saw the book in her hand and said, “Yes. They look very different and they have their own culture which might seem weird to us. But then, they also feel the same looking at us living like machines. 

Culture is indeed a common factor whether it is Jungle or Village or a City, though they mean very different for each of them.” Prachana looked at Gowri with her mouth and eyes wide open. 

"You can borrow this book for a week” Gowri told her. Prachana got excited and hugged her Mamma and ran off to bed saying thank you. 

Sitting on her bed, she thought “Why the library does not have any books other than environment and art? Are they not interested? Are they too busy for anything else in the world?” 

That night Prachana woke up hearing a shrill and loud music band close to her ear. It was Sarvaa singing and making sounds of many jungle instruments with his hands, feet, and mouth. Sort of a one-man-band. All simultaneously. He is in Tribal attire, feather cap, and a colorful flowing robe with a thousand multicolor patches. He looked almost like the man she saw on the cover of the book. He was gyrating at high speed and laughing in between the song. Seeing Sarvaa in this Avatar, Prachana was shocked and excited at the same time. 

Prachana shouted over the cacophony “What is all this, Sarvaa!? You scared me to death!” 

Sarvaa stopped spinning, singing, and said “But still you are alive and excited. That is the power of native art and culture.” 

Then he made a funny but wild gesture and he became his real self. He was panting. He asked, “Liked my performance?”. He looked at Prachana expectantly hoping that she would appreciate him. But Prachana faked dissatisfaction. Sarvaa knew she wanted him to change the subject. 

Sarvaa sat on the chair and contemplated for a few minutes with closed eyes like a stage actor prepares to go on the stage before performing a change of role. 

He picked up the Book on the Tribals from the table and said “This has filled your mind and that was exactly the reason I thought of entertaining you the same way. Obviously I failed thoroughly.” He sat with a long face but secretly looking at Prachana to see her reaction. Prachana got up from the bed and went near Sarvaa to pacify him. 

Prachana said ‘Sarvaa, you were great as the tribal. You could get an Oscar for Costume if there was a Tribal Oscar.” They both broke into loud laughter. 

Sarvaa held Prachana close to him and said “Look, Prachana. I understand your curiosity. Why your Mamma’s and Pappa’s libraries have only specific books dedicated to their specific interests only.” Prachana nodded. 

Sarvaa continued “Today I will talk about the connection between culture and curriculum.” 

Prachana jumped back onto the bed and sat cross-legged. She is all ears. 

Sarvaa started “Actually your curiosity gave me the idea to share something very important with you. It is about how culture decided curriculum. But then that is too broad and wide, right?” Prachana nodded in agreement. 

Prachana said “Sarvaa, I am confused. What is culture when it comes to curriculum?” 

Sarvaa “Okay. Let me tell you a general definition. Culture is the beliefs and practices of a given group or society.” 

Prachana retorted “But, how can all the beliefs and practices of a group be included in a curriculum? For example, how can the pleasures of the family be taught in school? It could include those topics that are considered immoral or trivial or banal.” 

Sarvaa replied “You are right as always. That brings us to our narrower definition of culture. And that is…” Sarvaa stopped for a moment waiting to see whether Prachana was following him. 

Prachana shook Sarvaa’s knee and asked “That is...? What?” Sarvaa smiled acting as though just woke up from a slumber. 

Sarvaa continued “And that is… the intellectual and artistic beliefs of a given group or society.” 

Sarvaa turned to Prachana and asked, “Now it is better, right?” Prachana didn’t react. 

She said “I am not convinced, Sarvaa.” 

Sarvaa asked, “Why?” 

Prachana said “That is still too broad. How do you think it is possible to understand the entire intellectual and artistic beliefs in just those few hours we have at schools or colleges?” 

Sarvaa agreed “You have a point.” 

He thought for a moment looking straight to Prachana’s eyes. Then scratched his head and said, “How about choosing only the best intellectual and artistic beliefs and practices of a given group of people or society?” 

Prachana’s eyes brightened and she looked at Sarvaa thoughtfully for a moment. 

Then she said, “Yes. That makes sense. But then, how do we even choose that?”. Prachana and Sarvaa looked at each other and smiled. 

Sarvaa held Prachana’s shoulders and said slowly but decisively “The best that has been thought and known.” 

Prachana asked “But then, how do we choose the best?” 

Sarvaa said “The students should have enough depth of understanding to choose. For example, just by learning about a few battles by some Lords and Kings need not help them engage critically with history.” 

Prachana was concentrating and was trying to assimilate what Sarvaa just said. 

Sarvaa continued “The scope and complexity of culture demand proper understanding about the breadth of it to make a choice.” 

Prachana could relate these words ‘depth and breadth of understanding’ from what she learnt earlier. She could connect and felt happy. 

Before Prachana could react by saying that she has understood the whole thing, Sarvaa said “But then, the important point here is that everything need not be relevant to all. So, find out the connection. Is it relevant to each other? What is relevant to one need not be relevant to other.” 

It was evident from Prachana’s expression that her clarity got blurred. 

Sarvaa continued “Don’t you worry my child. It is simple. Just check whether what we learn within the school or University holds interest through the education and beyond or not.” 

Prachana seemed to get the point. She said “That means, Pappa and Mamma chose their curriculum based on how they wanted to live their life. Right?” 

Picking up the Tribal Culture Book, Sarvaa said “Yes. Probably this must be the book that triggered your Mamma to open up her entire new world where she is in right now.” 

Prachana said “Yes. Possible. She was holding this book close to her chest for a moment remembering smiling and asked me why I picked this book.” 

Sarvaa said “That means, getting initiated to one aspect in the process of education opens you up to understand the whole universe of that particular aspect.” 

Prachana smiled and agreed and took that book lovingly. 

“And finally, understand this. The best for you need not be the best for others. So choosing from the choices offered to you giving some reason or the other as seen by others may be a trap.” 

Prachana suddenly asked, ”But where is ‘curriculum’ coming in all this?” 

Sarvaa said, “That is the point. The choices you made by narrowing down the scope of culture make the ideal Curriculum with a focus on your aim and interests in life.” 

Prachana’s eyes widened. She seems to have got the idea. 

Sarvaa asked “My child, you are very ready to choose your dream and start working on it. It is your dream. Not mine or your Mamma’s or your Papa’s. Choose something you can carry blissfully all through your life. David and Gowri are great role models. But they are not you in the future. You can be only you in the future. So prepare for it.” Saying this, Sarvaa held his right hand on her head. The moment it touched her head, he vanished and the room went dark. And Prachana went back to sleep satisfied but she knew she has a huge responsibility for herself.


End of Insight #14




Saturday, 25 September 2021

“Many Perspectives, One Aim - For Education” - INSIGHT #13



“Many Perspectives, One Aim - For Education” 


As any inquisitive person, Prachana is also amply confused and the most important realisation she had was that defining an aim for education was not easy. The main reason for that was the book “The Aims of Education” by Roger Marples which she had recently borrowed from the library. The various unrelated possibilities and clear aims given by different scholars from different backgrounds standing on their perspective made her more curious. 

When she laid down to sleep, she thought “Will there ever be an answer?” 

Soon the words in the book started playing tricks in her mind. 

Someone is walking over a vast expanse of green meadow, writing something in the air. Even before Prachana called him, he slowly turned to her and said poetically “The Aim of education is essential to lead the individual nature in each man and woman to its true fullness.” He just smiled and pointed to a group of musicians at a distance and then he vanished. 

The group was standing under a large tree with a huge canopy. Some wise-looking person was conducting a symphony and the leaves of the tree were swaying to that tune. As Prachana reached the group, everything stood still and the conductor walked towards her. He held Prachana’s chin up and said “My child, it is all about coming to an accord with the teaching of nature.” Then he touched Prachana’s forehead. 

She instantly got trans-migrated to an ancient chamber decorated with polished wooden walls, shelves filled with leather-bound books, and wooden floors. She noticed that there was no ceiling. It was twilight and there was a mesmerising combination of the light from many oil lamps mixed with the orange hue from the setting sun. He was a massive man sitting behind a massive rosewood table. He had very thick long golden hair, a beard and mustache. He looked at Prachana through his monocles, smiled, and said “Actually you know, it is very simple. “The aim of education is the cultivation of the intellect.” Suddenly a door opened behind Prachana and she robotically walked out. 

The door led to a city garden where a young teacher is talking to a group of 15-20 students. He has a cloth bag on his right shoulder and a book in his hand. Seeing Prachana he called her and asked the students to repeat what he just taught them. All of them as a chorus turned to Prachana and smiled. Then they said in unison “The aim of education should be to make people happier, more secure, less neurotic, less prejudiced.” He held them all together and ushered Prachana to join them in the classroom. 

But when she entered, what she saw was a very ancient room with many pots neatly arranged. Dry roots were hanging from the ceiling. A sage-like physician was feeling the forehead of a patient. His eyes were closed in deep thoughts concentrating on what he felt. There were a few of his disciples standing around him observing what he was doing. After some time, he opened his eyes and smiled at Prachana who was standing straight in front of him at the door. He said “I know you are looking for an answer. Here it is. Education must aim at virtue and teach a man to deny his desires, inclinations, and appetite and follow as reason directs.” Then he said, “I am not saying, mine is the last word in this. Keep looking.” Saying this, he gestured to a nearby door. 

Prachana walked as if in a trance and the door opened to a large balcony an elaborately costumed god-like person was addressing a huge crowd of his followers. There were two other people on either sides. Noticing Prachana, one of them murmured something to that god-like person. He slowly turned around and Prachana was amazed at the glow on his face. He slowly brought her to his front and told the crowd “The aim of education is indeed to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfectly religious person.” Then he looked at Prachana and smiled saying "Happy?" 

As soon as she looked back at the crowd, the entire crowd changed to a sea of red. Everyone was carrying a red flag. The leader, pounding his tight fist in the air said “Aim of education should be to inculcate the materialistic outlook and communist mentality.” Then he turned to Prachana and winked with a smile. 

Looking at her incessantly moving eye-balls, Sarvaa decided, it is time to wake her up and simplify her thoughts about the aims of education. He slowly touched he shoulder and shook. Though a little shocked, Prachana was expecting Sarvaa. 

Sarvaa asked “Liked my drama? You liked all of my roles, right?” 

A shocked Pracana asked “Sarvaa! It was youuuuu…?” He nodded vigorously. 

Sarvaa continued “Now let me simplify the whole thing. Now you know, you cannot formulate the aim of education from a single perspective. You will be able to realise that all you heard were various perspectives of this one thing.” Prachana got excited. 

Sarvaa stood straight and said, “The questions about nature and purpose of education are ultimately questions about what it is to be a human and how we understand that.” He assumed the pose of a seer with one hand up as though giving a blessing. Prachana had never seen him like this before. He could not hold that pose for long. He looked at her with one eye with a naughty smile. Then he broke into a burst of laughter and vanished, leaving the room dark again. A happy Prchana went back to sleep. 


End of Insight #13




Saturday, 18 September 2021

“Understand the Aims of Education” - INSIGHT #12


“Understand the Aims of Education”


Prachana was excited to see Akbar Uncle when she came home after trek. For her, he is an encyclopedia that gets updated every minute. He is a very powerful but unassuming businessman known for his honesty, helpfulness, and kindness. It is as though he had taken the responsibility of proving that business can be clean and win-win for all. He built an empire though he was not formally educated beyond 10th grade. Anybody who met him became his friend because he could talk about anything under the sun to anybody of any age. He has an aura of a respectable therapist. Her parents met Akbar much before she was born at the Library in the town where Prachana now goes regularly. His relationship with Prachana’s family was sustained all these years because they had common value systems.

Like every time, Prachana and Akbar got locked in a conversation and like every time, at the end of the conversation, he left enough food for thought in her mind. This time it was a question.

Akbar asked her casually “What are the aims of education?”. It sounded so simple and Prachana gave a silly expression and was about to reply. Then he stopped her and said, “Think before you reply. Take your time.”

Prachana realised that, both her parents were looking at them smiling with an expression “He caught you today, dear!” Prachana got a little perplexed and looked at them intently with an expression “What is there to think about it!?”

Suddenly Akbar stood up to join them for dinner. At the table, he told Prachana “I will give you a clue.” Pointing at each one, he said “You know, David, Gowri, and I are from very different backgrounds and traveling on very different paths. Yet, we are great friends for decades. Why? Think about it.”

The question kept haunting her during dinner and till she went to bed. She couldn’t sleep that night. She also hoped Sarvaa didn’t turn up so that she could find the answer herself. Soon she slipped into a deep sleep just before Sarvaa’s usual time.

She heard Sarvaa telling “My Child you are on your quest to find your own answers, I am very happy! ” Prachana thought he was talking in her dream. Didn’t realise that it was almost sunrise and yet Sarvaa was waiting for her to wake up.

Sarvaa smiled and continued “Wash your face and come. I will wait.”  When she returned, she saw three different Sarvaas. Though it looked creepy, it was funny too. All three had the head of Sarvaa and the bodies were of Gowri, David, and Akbar!!!

Akbar Sarvaa said smiling “There was the answer in my clue itself.” The other two looked at him and then looked at Prachana.

Akbar Sarvaa continued “I always had a knack for making relationships and making that beneficial to both. I always believed in helping others with whatever I have learned the hard way.”

David Sarvaa said “Prachana, I am an Artist today not by compulsion. It was my choice. Observation was my Guru.” Prachana nodded and said, “I understand!”

Gowri Sarvaa said “Oh! Dear! You know, I always loved nature and though I knew our Mother Nature could take care of herself, I felt it was my duty to ensure that we humans do not harm her. So, I did my research.”

All three of them merged with a bright cool light emanating from the fusion. There stood Prachana’s beloved Sarvaa in his full glory, smiling.

Sarvaa said, “I am sure you understood what all this drama meant for you.” Prachana agrees with a nod but with an expression to know more about it.

Sarvaa continued “Aim of education largely depends on the Value. And that value comes from their background and thought process.”

“Though the value systems of each individual will be different, we need to find out the common ones and use that to decide on the aim of education.”

“In a nutshell, we can say that one of the main aims of education should be autonomy. The ability to choose the direction of one’s life.”

Prachana jumped up and said. “So, All three of them, Mamma, Pappa and Uncle had full autonomy to choose what they want and run with it. That is why they are so successful in their own area of interest of…”

Sarvaa raised his hand and stopped her “But there is a catch. One’s choices should not be pre-determined with their religious or otherwise thoughts, at an age when one is not yet ready to make such choices.” Prachana’s face fell.

Sarvaa continued “For someone to become autonomous, they must be presented with a range of meaningful life-choices and must have the rational capacity to make a choice that suits their interests, values, and abilities.”

Prachana continued looking at Sarvaa wanting to hear more. He continued “Look closely at your parents and your Akbar Uncle. You will find the answer in them. They knew what they wanted, they did what had to be done, to become what they wanted. Simple. So…”

Prachana continued “So, one of the main aims of Education is autonomy.”

They both smiled at each other. Sarvaa snapped his fingers and vanished. But by that time, Sun had risen and Prachana was full of energy though didn’t get good sleep.


End of Insight #12






Reference : C Winch

Saturday, 11 September 2021

“Education is… preparing for Life!” - INSIGHT #11



 “Education is… preparing for Life!”


 While Prachana was enjoying her dinner she heard a stern voice from her mother “David, how many times I have to tell you? No mobiles while eating.” She picked up the mobile and left it on the shelf. When she looked up, she was amused to see her father skulking, which happens only very rarely. He was busy watching some video.

David tried to give some excuse “Look, Gowri! Today is my masterclass and I need to prepare for that. This is going to change my profile big time internationally. And I can start working with Art Collectors across the world!” A nonchalant Gowri ignored that and continued eating with fake anger.

David continued “Gowri, please…”. She replied in a determined tone “No”.

Prachana finished and went up. She overheard her mother saying “David, please understand. We should be role models to our child. Apart from that, you know I am also pursuing my Ph.D. I am preparing a very important paper for World Environment Forum. But I always ensure a proper decorum at home.” David said, “I am sorry, Gowri”.

This rarely happened at home. Prachana thought ‘why should they still be studying at this age especially when her father was an accomplished and much-reputed artist and her mother was a much-respected professor in a nearby University. What was the need for them to study!’

This thought ate her up while she slowly slipped into a deep sleep.

As expected, Sarvaa promptly appeared. This time, he was wearing a multi-coloured graduation cap and a graduation ceremony coat. He was holding the coveted degree rolled in hand. Prachana was in deep sleep. A patient Sarvaa decided to wait. He also slowly slipped into sleep and the paper roll fell and made some sound enough to wake up Prachana.

She turned over and looked at Sarvaa in half-sleep. She got up smiling and rubbing her eyes.

Sarvaa came straight to the point as he felt he lost a lot of time, “I couldn’t wait to tell you the good news. I got a Ph.D. in parapsychology just now.”

A confused Prachana asked “You too Sarvaa! Why are you still studying? That is meant for us young kids, right?”

Smiling, Sarvaa took off the colourful cap and the overcoat. They both just vanished. But the Degree he was holding was still on the floor.

She took it up and as she was about to open, Sarvaa stopped “Let us talk. I didn’t expect that question or any such doubt at least from you. You are a smart child of very smart parents. I know you have many questions.”

Prachana, though a little embarrassed, asked in a funny way “Sarvaa, can’t I even get confused? What for are you, then? My all-knowing mentor?”

Sarvaa stood up and started walking up and down talking to Prachana.

“My Child, you need to understand that, education is not meant only for those in the so-called student age.” Prachana is all ears and excited to conceive what Sarvaa was saying.

“Education is a preparation for life.” Saying this, Sarvaa paused. As expected, Prachana’s face was full of questions that nothing was coming out.

Sarvaa continued “And for you to understand that, there are different aspects to life. And these are, liberal, civic, and vocational.”  Sarvaa was sure that those terms were too high for Prachana. So he continued without waiting for Prachana’s reaction.

Sarvaa said “The liberal aspect of education is nothing but empowering a person to appreciate their own potential in life and at the same time understanding the culture of the community that person belongs. That will help them to make informed choices and decisions about the direction their life should take that person.” Prachana, though not too clear seemed to get a hang of what Sarvaa was saying. So she just nodded.

Sarvaa continued “Civic aspect is all about that person’s role as a citizen who votes and takes part in politics, is active doing activities, voluntary or charitable.” Prachana is getting it now.

Before Sarvaa could continue, Prachana jumped in, “Being liberal in life means I should be educated enough to decide which direction my life should go.” Sarvaa felt very happy. He waited for her to continue.

Prachana continued “Civic aspect of life is essentially becoming useful to the society by being a part of the overall nation governing machine.” Sarvaa smiled and extended her hand to shake. A thrilled Prachana took his hand a shook wildly. Sarvaa acred as though his hand was paining. She suddenly stopped and took a deep breath and asked

‘And the third aspect? Vocational, right?”

Sarvaa smiled and cleared his throat. He said “Vocational aspect is all about contributing to the growth of the nation by way of being a paid employee or self-employed.”

Sarvaa continued “I know it is a little too much for you to digest now. But you are smart… When you wake up, everything will be clear to you. It is almost morning now.” 

Without waiting, Sarvaa vanished. In the starlight, she could see the rolled degree Certificate. She opened it and saw writing in bold calligraphic style got revealed.

“Education is... preparing for Life!”


End of Insight #11






Reference : C Winch

Saturday, 4 September 2021

“Emotion in Education!” - INSIGHT #10


“Emotion in Education!”


For the last several days, though Prachana was focussed on assimilating the wisdom she is acquiring through the books Sarvaa suggested, she had a doubt in her mind. When we spoke about Values, Knowledge, and Procedure, why did we leave out the important aspect of ‘emotions’? She was in a dilemma whether to ask that to Sarvaa or not. Then she remembered a conversation she had with Sarvaa once. 

Sarvaa had told, “Like every problem has a solution, every question deserves an answer.” Only when she decided to ask that question to Sarvaa, she could sleep well. 

As usual, Prachana woke up exactly at 3 am hoping to see Sarvaa waiting. But Sarvaa was not there. She waited for some time but Sarvaa didn’t come. She felt very sad and went back to sleep sobbing. But she couldn’t sleep. She could hear her wall clock ticking away. Her eyes were getting moist.

Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder trying to turn her to the other side. There he was!

Sarvaa in all his glory. The happy Prachana jumped up and hugged Sarvaa. Sarvaa slowly sat beside her.

Sarvaa said with a smile “Your doubt is valid. I should have been clearer when I told you about the breadth of knowledge and understanding.” Prachana couldn’t understand. She looked at him quizzically but with a smile on her face feeling ashamed of herself for crying.

Sarvaa said “My Child, it is not wrong to feel ashamed for exhibiting your emotions. Let us come to the point. You thought the element of emotion is ignored when we spoke about the Values, Knowledge, and Procedure.”

Prachana sat comfortably on the bed and said “Yes, Sarvaa. Exactly! You got it right.” Then she giggled. Sarvaa also laughed.

“But you are wrong.” Said Sarvaa. Prachana, as expected, got confused.

“We spoke about the need for understanding the knowledge. And that is where you missed the point. But it is okay. Many children don’t get that unless explicitly told.” Sarvaa stood up and started walking up and down talking. Sarvaa was thinking about how to start. Prachana’s eyes followed him.

“Let’s say, you are reading a horror story, which I know you don’t like much because you feel scared.” He laughed teasing her. Seeing Prachana’s expression of made-up anger, Sarvaa got back to his talk as though he got terrified of her look. But he was laughing inside.

Sarvaa continued “Tell me, do you first read and understand the story and then take a lunch break and then feel afraid thinking what you read?” 

“Noooooo… how can that be? Of course, I feel scared when I read. Not later. That is ridiculous!” She said with an expression as though saying ‘that is common sense’.

Sarvaa now asked holding a book with a cover of a colourful picture of a Joker “Then what about the ‘Book of 1000 Jokes’? Do you read the jokes first and then laugh when you talk to Mamma?”

Prachana understood that Sarvaa is pulling her leg. She said “Sarvaa, enough! I understood what you are trying to tell. You are saying that emotion is a part and parcel of knowledge and understanding that.”

Sarvaa said “See! You know everything. But let me put it technically. There is always a cognitive aspect to emotions and an emotive aspect to cognitions.” Prachana found it hard to assimilate immediately but she knew she would get it technically also as she understood the idea behind it.

Sarvaa continued “Development of feeling is part and parcel of the development of knowledge and understanding.” Prachana felt a little more clear about the concept of emotion in education.

Prachana now nodded happily and felt relaxed. When the room went dark and Sarvaa vanished she could see the Joker’s picture on her table. At first, she thought she was imagining the book lying on her table. But it was there.

A happy Prachana peacefully slept the rest of the night.

End of Insight #10


Reference : R S Peter’s Analysis of ‘Education’




Saturday, 28 August 2021

“Injustice in Education!?” - INSIGHT #9


“Injustice in Education!?” 


Sun had almost set, and unlike on a normal day, it was late that day when Prachana returned from her regular trek through the jungle track. Today she had a companion too, a sixteen-year-old girl Elsa, who studied in a nearby Government School in the tenth grade.

After Sarvaa had advised Prachana to have some social acquaintances and friends, she ensured to consciously connect with those who shared her interests. With this new friend, it was trekking.

“Sis, thank you so much for inviting me to your house for a sleepover and convincing my Amma and Appa, despite my Raakshas brother’s efforts to thwart the idea!” Elsa said holding Prachana’s hand.

Prachana replied “Look here Elsa, it is simple. First of all, your brother is not a monster. He is just concerned about your safety. Moreover, he doesn’t know me much. Don’t worry. Your parents are fine, right?”. Elsa nodded in agreement. Both continued walking.

Prachana asked, “Do you know why I invited you to sleep over tonight?” Elsa nodded sideways.

Prachana continued “I want you to meet someone and ask the question you asked me.”

Elsa asked “What question?”

Prachana replied “You said there is injustice in education, which I don’t believe. But I can’t explain. I have a secret mentor who answers all my doubts. I love him. He is like an ancient wise man we have heard about in legends and epics. He is so sweet. A lovable all-knowing great great great grand Pa! You will also love him! He comes exactly at 3 am in the night.” Elsa stopped and hesitated to go walk.

Prachana asked her “What happened?”.

A confused Elsa asked “Are you serious? That old man will answer my silly question?”

“No question is silly,” Prachana said imitating Sarvaa's style to Elsa.

A deep voice chuckled from behind. As the voice was familiar to Prachana she turned around and exclaimed "Woah, you are early!". Elsa screamed in fear hid behind Prachana.

Sarvaa continued. “Like every problem has a solution, every question that comes in your mind deserves an answer.” Prachana pulls her out from behind and made her stand in front of her holding her shoulders. She introduced both gesturing with her hands.

“Sarvaa, Elsa. Elsa, Sarvaa.” Elsa slowly became comfortable and loosened a bit but secretly wondered where he came from all of a sudden. They smiled at each other and greeted.

Sarvaa said “Listen, little one, those who don’t ask questions only end up silly in front of others all through their life. So, shoot.”

Sarvaa’s warmth on his countenance and body language made Elsa very relaxed. She asked “Sarvaa, can I also call you Sarvaa as Sis calls?’ Both Sarvaa and Prachana laughed out and Sarvaa nodded in agreement. Sarvaa's eyes disappeared as he fondly smiled.

“Sarvaa, why there is so much injustice in education? Especially at school? Leave alone at home compared to my brother? He always scored hundred in hundred in maths and teachers expect me to do the same though I get excellent marks in English and I get first prize in poetry writing every year. Moreover, my teachers and parents are asking me to attend more Maths extra classes instead of writing poems! WHY why does this happen!!” Elsa finished everything in one breath.

Her voice had a touch of anger and sadness as well. She paused for a moment and took a deep breath and looked at Prachana and Sarvaa one by one. They both were silent.

Elsa, embarrassed at the silence, asked hesitantly “Is it… Is it not injustice in education?”

Prachana and Sarvaa looked at each other and smiled and then both looked at Elsa with great empathy. Then Prachana looked at Sarvaa with expectations.

“Look here, Elsa! Your anger is justified to a certain level. But then, believe me, when I say, it is not anyone’s making. Each human is uniquely made. In your school system, it is just that some children perform better than others, in any given area of human endeavour. If this is the case in your own house where you both are born to the same parents, think of those who are born in different places to different parents with different backgrounds!”

Wonderstruck, Prachana and Elsa looked at each other. Prachana felt proud that Elsa has started getting an answer to her question. They both looked up at Sarvaa in awe, wanting to hear more.

Sarvaa continued “We also need to accept that some people have more innate capabilities to achieve more in education compared to others who do not have that many capabilities.  Condemning the large segment of our population to ignorance and cultural deprivation is indeed the unjustifiable inequality of educational opportunity in reality.”

Sarvaa drives the point more clearly. “Know this. Both of you. The concept of Education emphasises knowledge and understanding as intrinsically valuable for everybody. And Inequality is not inherent in that concept.”

Both Prachana and Elsa seem to have got a clear idea about Elsa’s question. And they are very happy.

Sarvaa continued “Let me expand it a bit. Though the central concern for the school be education as the same is of immense value for everybody, it does not mean that the schools should not be concerned about other matters. Role of education in a person’s life and the community is not the same as the role of a school in society.”

Holding Elsa tight, Prachana said “Sarvaa, we both will try to make others understand this and try to help them excel in what they are best at and not try to become like others. Thank you, Sarvaa.”

"It is late. Go home. And enjoy your sleepover. I will not come tonight.” Sarvaa vanished. Elsa couldn't believe what just happened and they just realised how dark it had become. Gripping Elsa's Palm securely Prachana ran home. 

End of Insight #9 

Reference : R S Peter’s Analysis of ‘Education’




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