I, was one of those children who got a stomach ache before going to school, every morning. I was also one of those children who used to get suddenly anxious before an exam. And I just don't know how I managed to pass them. I went to over twelve of the best institutions all over the country. And, till date, I ask myself, what those 15 years of education, actually helped me in?
Did they help me to live a good and a meaningful life? Did they make me a creative human being? The same thing happened when I went to college. I walked out of college, actually I didn't finish my college. And when I was out of the college, I asked myself this question. And I realised, that the college had just made me an urban parasite.
And I was actually clueless of the three basics of life, which are, "Roti, kapda and makaan." (Food, clothing and shelter). And totally ignorant of my highly consumeristic wasteful lifestyle. After that I decided, not to waste time getting degrees and I started to travel and spend time learning with children. That's when I realised that my real learning and exploration had begun. I would like to share how I think, schools kill creativity.
I was doing a workshop with kids in Udaipur. And, I came across about thirty children I was doing this workshop with. It was a painting and art workshop. And, out of that thirty, those thirty children, twenty six children went to school. And there were four children, from the local 'kachi bastis'(slums), who never had gone to school. When the workshop ended, it was very sad. I was very sad to actually see what had happened.
Twenty-six of the thirty kids who had gone to school, drew exactly the same, 'ped, pahad, nadi' (tree, mountain, river). This was the creativity of school going children. The four other children who had never gone to school drew amazing things, straight out of their neighbourhood. An auto-wala. What goes on in their kitchen? And, I suddenly realised that, we were actually killing the creativity of all these children at the age of five.
Leave aside, no space to make mistakes. You make a mistake, you get punished. You get punished, you get labelled. And, those dehumanizing labels stay with you, life-long. Believe me. We carry them and start accepting them. So, for me, I realised, that this education system was actually doing much more harm than good to the planet.
That led me to a further exploration. And I started understanding, I said let's find out what's going on in education in other parts of the world. And, it was the same story. Believe me, it was the same story. Today's global system of education which I also call 'Factory Schooling', is creating, millions of unemployed, visionless, wisdomless, youth.
It's been about seventeen years, eighteen years, both me and my husband decided that we would unschool our family. And, we live in Udaipur and, I have a fourteen year old daughter, Pankhu. She has never been to school. We've never sent her to school. And we've been trying to grow and learn with her. We believe, that actually, we are learning much more beautifully, and growing as better human beings, when our children are with us. My daughter, learns freely, spends a lot of time with people of different age groups. Chooses who she wants to learn with. And is a much more creative person when she is in nature.
So, we created a space and a counter movement. We gathered the courage to create a counter movement. We call it "Sikshant". And, it's a space, for people who don't want to go to school and college, who don't want degrees, and, people who want to create thier own path of learning. So, we call it "Sikshantra", -- a centre for unschoolers, home schoolers, people, walk-outs, walk-outs, people who walk out of school and college, or people who also want to take a gap year. We think that's also very important. You take a gap year, you learn a lot more than you learn in twelve years of school or college. And, it's been a beautiful journey so far. We've worked with people of all ages. We encourage people of all ages to come and learn with us and create something beautiful.