Last School relocated in July 2014 to its permanent home in the cultural zone. Last School is a middle / high school in existence since 1985. Students are in the age group 14 (sometimes younger) to 18 years and above. Education is based on the method called by the Mother ‘Free Progress’, an approach that requires the school’s structure and programmes to be as diverse and supple as possible, in order to respond to each student’s line of progress.
Last School, located now in the cultural zone, is a middle/high school which has existed in Auroville since the year 1985. Students are in the age group of 14 (sometimes younger) to 18 years and above. In addition many young working Aurovilians and adults attend sessions exploring Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy as also classes in the plastic arts. The school day begins at 8.30 am and goes on till 3.30 pm (5.30 pm including sports). School is open 5 days a week from Monday to Friday, during which students are expected to maintain a full timetable. They are also expected to follow some physical education activity after class on all school days.
Last School’s educational process wants to develop the student’s faculties of the mind, the powers of the will, the refinement of the aesthetic and emotional being, and build all of this upon a strong and balanced physical being. There is an attempt to address each of these elements of the youth’s psychological nature as consciously as possible in given circumstances. The teacher’s task is to suggest, not to impose, and a broad process of consultation is fundamental to the school’s approach. The participation of the youth in their own growth and development is encouraged as much as possible while preparing the school programme and timetable.
The activities are worked out for students individually with the choice of subjects and teachers. If the student has a wish to learn something specific or to be involved in the larger activities of Auroville, that can be arranged. Meanwhile the students are encouraged by the teachers to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves at the beginning of the term. The older and more self-governing the child, the more individualized and particular his or her time schedule. The Last School collectivity is a highly complex network of personalized time tables for students and teachers.
The students therefore, need to be self motivated, so that they may be involved in the decision-making process and changes that affect the school. In class the feedback of the students is respected, and they are helped to build their own view of the world. Many classes use the ideas of Mother and Sri Aurobindo, according to the level of interest.
The School Programme and Subjects
The programme available covers languages (the 4 mentioned by Mother for Auroville, plus a number of others); literature and poetry; the pure sciences (physics, chemistry) the life sciences such as biology; mathematics; the social sciences (history, geography, economics); philosophy and culture studies; computer programming and systems administration; 3D design; film editing; and the Arts – on which there is a special emphasis. Subjects , including the discovery of Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s works, are ‘offered’ separately, but in the reality of classroom life they are often combined.