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  • arkitect95
    Ark s Philosophy Spoon feeding creates dependency. It is always better to give, says a Chinese saying, a fishing technique to a hungry man than a fish. And
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 17, 2004
      Ark's Philosophy

      Spoon feeding creates dependency. It is always better to give, says a
      Chinese saying, a fishing technique to a hungry man than a fish. And
      above all, right to live in dignity is a basic human right. The best
      way to help those who are disenfranchised live a dignified life is
      through creation of Social Capital. It includes formation of self
      help groups, vocational training and local resource management
      education, all of which form the backbone of Ark's programmes.

      Education at Doorstep

      Ark understands the difficulty many children have in travelling from
      one village to another to attain school lessons and is aware that for
      many children education is secondary to contributing to economic
      activities at home. It is with this in mind that Ark began its
      Education Centres with the idea that if children can't go to school,
      we'll bring school to them.

      Children's Need

      • One of the basic guiding principles is to find out
      children's need and what they should be taught?
      • We know that:
      * Children need love more than anything else. For this,
      parents, guardians and employers of children need to be
      educated about the importance of love for children. This is a
      big challenge before the Foundation. Ark still does not have
      any concrete programme for this.
      * Children work hard, all by themselves, to be more grown up
      and responsible.
      * Many of them who get into the most trouble are suffering from a
      lack of affection rather than any form of punishment.
      * Children are eager to learn if they are instructed in ways that
      are right for their age and if they are taught by understanding
      teachers. That is why we are equally focusing on providing
      training to teachers from Ark's perspective of education.
      * Children have a natural curiosity and capability of learning
      which needs to be preserved and promoted.

      Significance Of Education

      The significance of education in modern society cannot be over
      estimated. Literate and educated people are a prerequisite both for
      maintaining and furthering developing societies. The crucial need of
      education for the people in various spheres of modern social life-
      economic, political, social, ethical, health and others- has been
      unanimously recognised.

      Understanding Issue

      More than fifty years into Independence, Indian children have little
      to celebrate: 6.3 crore of them are still out of school. This despite
      the constitutional directive (now a fundamental right) urging all
      states to provide "free and compulsory education for all children
      until they complete the age of 14 years". The Constitution envisaged
      fulfilling this promise by 1960. Yet, if present trends continue,
      India is still 50 years away from reaching the goal.
      There are two myths that are often invoked to explain the slow
      progress of elementary education: one, a supposed lack of parental
      motivation; two, that work keeps children away from school.
      Work does not keep children away from school: a myth is that children
      are unable to go to school because they have to work. It is true that
      some children -- for example, eldest daughters in poor families, work
      long hours, which makes it difficult for them to go to school. But
      the general pattern is surprisingly different: a majority of out-of-
      school children in rural India have plenty of time on their hands.
      Among out-of-school children, about half work less than three hours a
      day. Only 18 per cent work more than eight hours. One-third do not do
      any work at all during school hours. Girls tend to work more than
      boys (mainly at home), but even they usually have enough spare time
      to attend school. Indeed, school hours in rural India are effectively
      quite short -- say four to five hours a day for 120 days in the year.
      Only a small minority of children is so busy that they cannot make
      themselves available for such a limited period of time.
      Moreover, when children work rather than going to school, it does not
      necessarily mean that work requirements are to blame for their
      failure to attend school. In many cases, it is the other way round:
      children work because they are unable to go to school. The right to
      education in India is one that is violated to such an extent that it
      often assumes the nature of common occurrences in everyday life. At
      an early stage, violations take the form of bare walls and classrooms
      without teachers. At later stages, the lack of adequate education
      often pushes the already impoverished into informal sectors of labour.

      Poor Are Too Backward To Invest In Education

      Why is education special? Why should Ark Foundation and other social
      action groups work on providing quality education? A common reason
      that is supplied is that poor people are too backward to invest in
      education by themselves; hence the only way to ensure that their
      children grow up educated is through government and social action
      groups' interventions. Indeed, the withdrawal of the State from other
      areas should help free up resources for education and health. Both
      the state and social action groups should work together to strengthen
      existing educational infrastructure by making them accountable to the
      village communities and creating new infrastructure in the area where
      there is no access to school within a walking distance of one
      kilometer in case of a primary school and three kilometers in case
      of a high school.

      Great Equalizer

      Purpose of education should be to work in the direction of equalizer.
      Each child is an individual and should be allowed to be so. Reason,
      science and respect for humanity will form the educational curriculum
      of the foundation. It will finally leads towards creating of just
      and equal society.

      There is a strong consensus today about the importance of education
      in Indian public policy. It is hard to imagine how productivity and
      income growth can come about for the 45 per cent of India, which is
      illiterate. It is high time serious attention be paid on educational
      questions as they go a long way in shaping the thinking of the

      Means And Ends

      It is not just important to have noble goals only. Nobel means are
      equally important. We don't believe in 'Peace at the gun point'. Let
      peace comes through peaceful, noble, means. It is very simple. One
      does not have to remove darkness to bring light. Darkness is nothing
      but absence of light. Light a candle, the darkness will disappear.

      So we should focus more on process rather than product, though the
      later one is also not ignorable.

      Enhance Student Learning

      Ark Foundation will work towards enhancement of a student's learning
      and understanding ability through innovative educational tools and
      proved traditional learning methods. It will employ a student-
      centered curriculum that builds on student knowledge. The curriculum
      will be supported with in-depth activity-based learning and teach
      and reinforce it with instructional opportunities that celebrate the
      unique background and experience each student brings to the Ark
      Education Centre. Its programmes will take advantage of a new and
      emerging education technology that improves student achievement.

      Motivate Students for Education

      Students should be taught to learn from their surrounding. An issue-
      oriented rural education curriculum will be designed to help them
      understand and address major cultural and environmental issues. The
      education centres will encourage there critical thinking and problem-
      solving skills. Ark looks at the cultural, economic, social and
      educational environment of a human being's universe, with education
      being at the forefront.

      Connect Education Centre And The Community

      Community participation is at the core of the foundation. Ark aims to
      work hand in hand with the disadvantaged sections of the society,
      specially children, so that they can learn to help themselves and
      look forward to a better and brighter future. Education programmes
      will be a collaborative effort that brings the community to the
      centre, and the centre to the community. Education Centre will tie
      the curriculum to the home culture of the students, and will present
      multiple points of view and diverse perspectives. The Programmes will
      link centre restoration or research projects with similar community

      Build Future of India
      Children are future of a country. It is they who are going to be
      torch bearer of tomorrow. So in order to build strong and vibrant
      tomorrow we need to work in children. Is a nation's welfare possible
      without the welfare of its children?

      Educators and students will understand the philosophies, practices
      and strategies used by Ark Foundation in the protection and
      preservation of the nation's natural and cultural heritage. Students
      will be introduced to careers in environmental advocacy, in general,
      and Ark Education Centre , in particular

      Equitable Education
      We understand the division of Indian society. We also know that the
      division is more prominent in the rural society. Ark Foundation will
      cultivate educational environment that encourages all students to
      learn to the best of their potential. The centre will make programmes
      accessible to students for whom English is a second language through
      the use of translated curriculum guides, bilingual volunteers and
      multiple styles of learning. The centre will establish and sustain
      relationships with low-income group section of the society.

      Two-Way Process
      Education should always be two way process. It is dynamic in a sense
      that both teachers and students are in a process of learning.
      Learning about the natural and cultural world takes place in the
      context of social relationships. Education programmes must involve
      the interaction of students with Ark staff, teachers and other
      students, not simply the actions of Ark staff and teachers on
      students. Students experience cooperative learning, see the
      curriculum applied in the real world, and have a moment to reflect on
      their own contributions.

      Other Objectives:

      • To provide all children in each Village Development Circle
      with access to quality education up to high school. To check
      differences in enrolment, dropout rates and learning
      achievement among gender and social groups.
      • To check overall dropout for all students in the Village
      Development Circle.
      • To create an environment and capacity- we call it "social
      capital"- in a Village Development Circle to run and manage
      its own educational institutions- school, library, computer
      centre and vocational training centre.
      • Create a responsive institutional base which includes
      enhanced community participation and strengthen the process
      of catering to special focus groups-marginalized sections.
      • Purpose of bringing about quantitative and qualitative
      improvement in the Village Development Circle.
      • Establishing linkages between other individuals, institutions
      and group to achieve common goals.

      Ark Education Centre

      A Village Development Circle (VDC) in each village with a radius of
      approximately 3kms will be the basis for the implementation of Ark's
      activities. Each Development Circle will have:

      • High School
      • Computer Education Centre
      • Cultural Activity Centre
      • Vocational Training Centre
      • Library

      High School

      Ark has been involved in its Kataila school project since 1995 but it
      was in 2002 that the school got recognition from the State Education
      Board of Uttar Pradesh Government. With the consistent efforts of
      Ark, Village Head (Graam Pradhan) and educated community of the
      village, the UP Government sanctioned funds for the school building
      for middle school (6th, 7th and 8th standard).

      This school is very much patterned on the mainstream schooling
      system, though with reliable teachers and consistent classes. From
      this semester Ark has introduced high school (9th and 10th standard)
      in the village school as we see a real need for this in the village.


      In the village, people are accustomed to making bowls or decorative
      items out of their old books! They do not know what to do with their
      old books. Ark Library is working as a hub where people deposit their
      old books so that these are available for student exchange. Ark
      volunteers and teachers of the school go from house to house
      collecting disused books, binding them if necessary and then
      arranging them in the library. The Library is open every Sunday to
      issue and collect books, and we are planning to extend the library,
      adding new books to the growing collection.

      Medium of Instruction

      Mother tongue is the medium of instruction at our all the education
      centers. However teaching of English language is compulsory at the
      schools and centres run by Ark Foundation

      Comprehensive Intervention
      Ark aims at a comprehensive intervention in the field of education in
      general and environmental education in particular.

      It will design strategies and an alternative curriculum which take a
      comprehensive overview of the current education system. The second
      important step in this direction will be to take an overview focus of
      teachers, students and the learning situation, with special emphasis
      given to the context and location specify of the learner. Textbooks
      can be the starting point only and classroom the first meeting
      place. But to make them work properly learning should be made
      playful, adventurous and exciting; in whatever manner that suits the
      teachers and learners.

      Implementation and Accountability

      One of the important strategies before a social action group (SAG)
      should be to see local government official implement the existing
      programmes and make them accountable to the institution they belong
      to in particular and to people of the area in general.

      There are a number of government schools in rural areas where
      teachers go to schools once a week and that too to fill their
      attendance register of the whole week. They are least botherd about
      their duty. Similarly, there are government Primary Health Cenres
      (PHCs) in villages where neither doctors nor nurse or even midwives
      visit. Medicines, which should be given free of cost, are being sold
      in open markets. Doctors are busy in minting money by practicing in
      cities leaving poor villagers at the mercy of traditional healers and
      yamraaj- the god of death.

      A SAG can educate people about their right to free health facilities
      at the local PHCs. It can also teach them strategy to make government
      servants accountable. People's acceptance and participation are very
      crucial for such kind of action. Villagers can also force teachers to
      attend school six days a week or face the wrath of their collective
      power. A SAG can help them in making rational and sustainable
      strategy. It can draft applications to be given to higher authority
      to make them accountable. SAG people can contact media to highlight
      the issue.

      Text Design

      Ark is following the text books of state boards but at the same time
      it is also working on developing its own text books which will enable
      children to develop their environment. It is important to see the
      appropriateness of the use of teaching learning material and
      activities in their transaction

      Teachers Training

      A school is like a temple, teachers its priests and children its
      devotees. Ark is very sad to see corruption making dent in the most
      pious area of the society. It is here, future of a country is being
      trained to take the challenge of changing world. Ark team is working
      in this direction and at the same time also inviting people to share
      their information and experiences to provide for quality education.
      It will take the concern for our environment as a prime area of
      emphasis, especially in the larger content of quality education. It
      attempts to ingrain love for nature and environment into the children.

      Ark would like to create a group of committed teachers who can help
      us realise Ark's dream— the dream to see that each and every child
      has access to a quality education, a healthy life and a society free
      of exploitation and violence.
      The teachers have to rethink about the traditional educational
      techniques and to evolve new one as per the need and requirement of
      particular village society. Ark believes that every society has its
      own social dimension, economic resource and cultural practice. So we
      need to plan our strategy keeping in mind the need of a particular

      Apart from helping young pupils acquire intellectual abilities and
      developing basic competence in them, the foundation lays great
      stress on the values that they inculcate, the faith that they develop
      in their own self-making and range of human qualities. To enable a
      child to grow into healthy, capable and good individual is an aim Ark
      seeks to fulfill in respect of each of its students. Alongside the
      development of critical and rational faculties of a child, the school
      should contribute towards the blossoming of the creative potential of
      every child.

      Vocational Training

      Education of the mass of children requires enormous flexibility,
      acceptance of different paces of learning, adoption of a variety of
      methods rather than one uniform method, placing greater emphasis on
      skills and processes of the production of knowledge than on
      information memorising and processing, which would enable children to
      build upon their own experience, reflect upon it and articulate their
      experiences and visions. When educational services are produced by
      the public sector, as they are at present, there will be no effort at
      trying to think about the customer and improving the quality of
      services from his perspective.

      Participatory Learning

      It is not possible to change so many ideas about the natural
      needs of children without mixing up a lot of parents. We are
      planning to create ongoing relationships with parents and
      professionals who can give support and guidance. Written information
      can also help children. Ark Foundation will be happy to incorporate
      practical suggestion from concerned people.

      Community Mobilization and Participation
      Educational innovations of Ark Foundation are based on the
      strong foundation of community support and participation. This is
      based on the age-old tradition of Shramdaan- donation of labour. Ark
      heavily depends on volunteers in running schools and educational
      centres in slums and villages.

      Ark believes in grass root development, which is not possible
      without involving the affected people of the area. This will give
      strong foundation to make a development programme sustainable and
      self reliant. Mobilising the village community to take responsibility
      to ensure quality education for every child is the core strategy of
      Village Development Circle and Slum Development programme of the
      Foundation in its efforts to universalize primary education and
      deliver quality education up to high school level in its action areas.
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