Disha India

Projects Disha India Community School-Preparing children for life through life...

Disha India Community School is an initiative of Disha India Education Trust in collaboration with the village community. The vision is to set up an Experiential Learning Community school in the village Padha in Karnal district of Haryana. It will be a collective initiative of the community and the Trust where all the important decisions will be taken together. The community school will be run and managed based on the following principles:

  • Experiential, contextual and personalized education. It will be an Experiential Learning school where we will use real-life experiences from the local context of the child as a pedagogic medium. The idea is to design the teaching-learning program that is guided and informed by the collective aspirations, possibilities and challenges of the community.
  • Collective ownership. There will be a Village Education Leadership Team (VEL Team) that will work in collaboration with the school management. The VEL team will be a microcosm of the village community i.e. it will be a representation from the whole community of the village.
  • School will be open to all children of the village. No child will be refused a place in the school irrespective of financial, social and gender differences.
  • No withdrawal of profits. The Trust will not withdraw any profits from the school.
  • Complete Transparency. There will be complete transparency in managing the funds and resources of the school and the annual budget and balance sheet will be shared with the VEL Team and the parent community.
  • Self-sustaining. The School will be financially self-sustaining in the long run.
  • Strengthening the village government school. Disha India will support the village government school in improving the quality of education, so that all children of the village get quality education. This will be done through teachers’ capacity building, sharing of learning resources, strengthening sports, arts and crafts, culture, etc.
Vision

The vision is to create a model of school education where community takes the shared ownership for providing quality, equal, contextual and personalized education for all its children at an affordable price. The idea is to demonstrate how a community can design its own learning programs based on its aspirations, context, challenges and possibilities, so that education is rooted in the local context and prepare children for the future that the community aspires for.

Core principles that will guide our teaching and learning:

1.Contextual and Personalized education

The education will be integrated in the local ecosystem of the place. We will use local problems and possibilities as a pedagogic context and medium for teaching the required curriculum. The idea is to connect the teaching and learning to the local context of the child and start the learning process from the immediate surroundings of the child. We will go from near to far, concrete to abstract. In twelve years of education, children should develop a deep systemic understanding of their local ecosystem and this understanding should be developed not just through cognitive pedagogies but through real-life experiences and doing. The idea is to engage and immerse the whole being of the child in the learning process.

2.Productive Work

We will use productive work (from the local context) as a pedagogic medium for teaching and learning the required knowledge, skills and values. The idea is not to prepare children for vocations but use it as a pedagogic medium. It will not only lead to a better understanding of the local context but will also develop a creative and abundance mindset and will also lead to the balance of head, hands and heart in the learning process. We believe that mind learns through hands and the complete body and the idea is to build an intelligent body and not just mind. Doing quality work and creating quality end products will help children experience and understand the value of craftsmanship, excellence and self-reliance

3.Integrated and free child

The big idea is to focus and develop the whole being of the child - physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual. The education process should liberate the child from limiting beliefs and structures. During his/her school education, the child should develop a good understanding of Self and also of the process of self-awareness and self-development - the idea is to experience what it takes to be an attentive, reflective and discriminative being. There will be a design to take a child from self-awareness to self-development and self-empowerment leading to being a free and integral soul.

4.Self-directed personalized learning

Curriculum and pedagogy will be designed in such a way that there is a learning and development plan for each child. The idea is to have a customized and personalized learning plan for each child depending on his/her uniqueness, context, pace, interests and aspirations. All our learning structures and processes will be designed accordingly. Flexibility will be the key.

5.Diverse and Inclusive

School community will be a microcosm of the village community. The idea is for children to experience the value of diversity and inclusiveness and learn how to build on it and celebrate it. Children need to develop a good understanding of why diversity and inclusivity is important in a society and how it leads to better functioning of social, economic and political structures in a society.

6.Bilingual medium of instruction

In the initial years, we will use bilingual medium of instruction and gradually we will move to English language as a medium of instruction. We will have a strong curriculum for English as a language from the beginning.

7.Community shared ownership

We would like parents and the community to be engaged and involved in the school from the beginning -we see them as real stakeholders in the school. The idea is to build a real community where we take the shared responsibility of the teaching, learning and well-being of all children in the village. Being transparent and open in our working and thinking, is the first step towards building a real community. We will have an inclusive school education team which will comprise of parents, teachers, community members and experts.

8.Sustainable living

We will practice sustainable ways of living and being in the school and community - the idea is for children to experience and understanding how to use our natural resources in a sustainable way.

9.Non-violence

Through education we would like to develop the understanding of non-violence and use it as a core value and practice in building the culture and character of the institution.

Curriculum and Pedagogy

Our pedagogy will be experiential, contextual and personalized. We will use local experiences as a pedagogic medium for developing the required knowledge, skills and values. The idea is to move from near to far, concrete to abstract. Our curriculum, pedagogy and assessment are inspired and informed by the following

  • 1.Dr Kolb’s theory and principles of Experiential Learning.
  • 2.Gandhian principles of Nai-Talim
  • 3.Expeditionary Learning core principle and practices (www.eleducation.org)
  • 4.Theory and principles of Systems Thinking and Sustainability
  • 5.Integral Education based on the principles and teachings of Aurobindo

We use learning expeditions as teaching-learning framework to design real-life learning experiences and to develop the required curricular knowledge, skills and values. Read ‘Disha India Learning Design Principles’ for better understanding of the pedagogy and practices.

Theory of Change

The community schools will be the center of learning, development and change for the entire community.

The idea is to create community schools in partnership with different communities across the country, where the community will take shared ownership of providing quality, equal, contextual and personalized education for all its children at an affordable price. Community schools will demonstrate how a community can design its own learning programs based on its context, aspirations, challenges and possibilities, so that education is rooted in the local context. The schools will prepare children for the future that the community aspires for. Community schools will work in collaboration with government schools to improve the quality of education in the whole community/region - the vision is also to strengthen our government schools.

The vision is to give a new direction to education in our country by demonstrating how education can be used as a process for bringing the desired change in society at large…