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Re: [alt-ed-india] Rural education

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  • aparna pallavi
    Hi Clive, I suppose in a world where well being is more and more defined in terms of how many glitzy gadgets you own and can handle and how you dress and so
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 1, 2007
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      Hi Clive,
       
      I suppose in a world where well being is more and more defined in terms of how many glitzy gadgets you own and can handle and how you dress and so on, it is easy to understand why farming is considered, not a 'low', but certainly a retarded kind of profession. As I see it today, the deepest effect this relentless technological advancement has on any individual -- farmer or not -- is that it endlessly taunts you with a sense of inadequacy, it forever creates in you a compulsion to keep running after a goal you can't even stop to think about, leave alone understand. For someone who has 'been there done that' for some time at least, it may be easier to see through the deception (in most cases even this is not true), but the pressure on the minds of those who perceive themselves as having been left out is tremendous. Especially painful is the realisation that the apparent (and in a sense real too) ease, opulence and confidence of this life is denied to them despite the fact that they are working much harder and producing things much more valuable than those techno-nerds in plush places. They just want to get into those advantaged circles, to have that kind of fun at any cost, and no amount of trying to make them see their own blessings can convince them.
       
      It is very painful, but at times I find it very difficult to strike a harmonious note between my calling as a development journalist who is supposed to look at things from political and economic points of view and render certain services to society that way, and the deep need of the other side of me that inclines more towards a spiritual or existential outlook on the same issues. Articles such as these are an attempt to get this other side into focus, even if in a mild and indirect way.....
       
      Aparna


      Clive Elwell <clive.elwell@...> wrote:
       
      Read your article, Aparna. Yes, well executed, and you did not stop at the surface; you exposed the 'more complex' realities. You ask for comments, but I do not rightly know what to say. Everyone is chasing dreams, illusions, in some way or other. In all cultures it seems that the image is so much more important than the actual. There is no happiness, no contentment to be found in this way, but it takes intelligence to see beyond the image one is chasing, and there is nothing in children's education that helps bring that intelligence about. Nothing to help establish true values.
      Your article raises the following question for me: Is it possible for children to learn never to compare themselves with others? Because comparison only brings mediocrity.
      Is there any intrinsic reason why farming is considered a "low" occupation? Along with many jobs that involve working with the hands, rather than the brain exclusively. In some other cultures farming is not considered a low status occupation. It can be a deeply satisfying occupation, keeping one it touch with the real world.
       
      Clive


      On Nov 23, 2007 1:30 PM, aparna pallavi <aparna_pallavi@ yahoo.co. in> wrote:
      Hi Clive and others,
       
      Some time ago I found a mail talking about whether rural children could have a level playing field with homeschooling. Clive had written a deeply considered answer to that. Recently, I was working on something else in rural Maharashtra when I stumbled upon a situation related to education, and wrote a story on it.
       
       
      Below is the link. I wonder if anyone would like to comment on it.
       
       
      During working on this story I had long talks about homeschooling (as my daughter is a homeschooler) with mothers mentioned in this story, and all of them seemed to feel that as a mother ' with an English education and access to all the good things' I was equipped to do something they could not even think about. This experience has left me thinking.
       
      Aparna
       
       

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    • aparna pallavi
      Hi Sanjay, I wish I could follow your suggestion. But media pieces have their limitations. Maybe I will write a different sort of piece on this whole
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 1, 2007
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        Hi Sanjay,
         
        I wish I could follow your suggestion. But media pieces have their limitations. Maybe I will write a different sort of piece on this whole experience, which will take in a lot more of the felt reality.
         
        Aparna

        Sanjay Maharishi <sanjay.maharishi@...> wrote:
        hi aparna,

        your article is really good and thought provoking. and i really liked the details that you go into. people do find formal education as a savior that will take everyone out of the drudgery. i was in a village near amravati recently and there i met a teacher with gandhian leanings who was complaining about his students. he said children who come to our school don't want to do farming anymore... they all want to become insurance agents.
        i told him its not their fault. they look at us, city-types, who do jobs that does not involve body labour, and want to become like us. get a new mobile phone, a motorcycle to zip on, thats life...

        i also liked kirsty's suggestion that we too are in the same the trap. the idea of spending time in the village and doing some labour there is exciting. i have done this in very short bouts and found it good for both mind and body. i now plan to take our son out and see how it goes. i am sure he will enjoy it.

        one suggestion:
        i thought it would be nice if you could include your own experience of home schooling... why you thought of taking your daughter out of school - is very much a part of this story... that can perhaps add contrast to the otherwise general notion people have about schools as a place for upward mobility.

        best wishes
        sanjay




         


        kirstymilward wrote:
        I loved this article, Aparna, thanks for posting it. It succeeds, I
        think,in giving a respectful voice to the logic and dilemmas for
        these people who go to great lengths and effort for the education of
        their children, and who also may recognise that they are in something
        of a trap.

        Some thoughts:
        Sadly, I think the parents you spoke to about homeschooling may be
        partly right that this is not a real option for them. It is much
        easier to take the risk of doing it if you are confident in your own
        resources - material and 'educational' , and importantly, if the rest
        of the world endorses the value of those resources (eg, English).
        Rural areas are in general low on literacy, very low on English, and
        low on status. They are not low on knowledge, but that kind of
        knowledge (of farming, of natural resources etc) is given little
        credit in the product/consumer framework that is being driven forward
        in India (and everywhere).

        There are examples, I think, of rural communities who have taken
        control of the education of the community children - in something of
        a 'community homeschool' type situation. Where we live, this partly
        goes on in the form of very localised 'tuition' arrangements - but
        this is within the framework of the general school curriculum, and
        focused on getting through exams. But the reality is that if you are
        only partly literate you can't teach your children full literacy and
        if you know no english you can't teach in English, and your
        interviewees fully realise this.

        And there is an enormous urban/rural divide. Villagers are literally
        considered backward. Though many of them know they are not, it is
        difficult for them to demonstrate this when what they have/know is
        little valued.

        One small thing that homeschoolers can do, perhaps, is to take a
        close, respectful look at rural skills and knowledge - to try to
        teach their children how to know when paddy is ripe or how to help a
        goat give birth. We are all partly in the same trap.
        Kirsty

        --- In alt-ed-india@ yahoogroups. com, aparna pallavi
        <aparna_pallavi@ ...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Clive and others,
        >
        > Some time ago I found a mail talking about whether rural children
        could have a level playing field with homeschooling. Clive had
        written a deeply considered answer to that. Recently, I was working
        on something else in rural Maharashtra when I stumbled upon a
        situation related to education, and wrote a story on it.
        >
        >
        > Below is the link. I wonder if anyone would like to comment on it.
        >
        > http://www.indiatog ether.org/ 2007/oct/ edu-townedu. htm
        >
        > During working on this story I had long talks about homeschooling
        (as my daughter is a homeschooler) with mothers mentioned in this
        story, and all of them seemed to feel that as a mother ' with an
        English education and access to all the good things' I was equipped
        to do something they could not even think about. This experience has
        left me thinking.
        >
        > Aparna
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------ --------- --------- ---
        > Why delete messages? Unlimited storage is just a click away.
        >


        --    
         Sanjay Maharishi  New Delhi India  


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