Facilities for high school level education have been created in Auroville - there is a choice between the Free progress program offered at Last School, an IGCSE & IAL based program offered at Future School and a CBSE program at NESS. No formal structures of education after graduating from either of these three programs exist at present in Auroville. Many students join existing university programs either in India or abroad. A few stay and work with resource persons as mentors, or join apprenticeships in an area of work where this is offered. Some others join a work and become part of the working life in Auroville.
There is felt a need to create and offer to Auroville youth a formal program of studies after high school. Auroville includes all aspects of life, many of which are open to receiving students, so is able to offer a unique program of learning which can include a diversity of a student’s interests. It is believed that there are enough resources in Auroville, in terms of teachers with expertise in different subjects, to guide students who have a strong desire to learn and are motivated to work hard to that end. SAIIER, Last School and Future School have had discussions about this, and have agreed to create such a program and offer the available infrastructure to house such a program.
The program will be named AFTER SCHOOL, which is one of the names given by The Mother to schools of Auroville. As this program is offered to students who graduate from Last School, Future School and NESS, this name feels appropriate for this program.
The program will evolve according to needs expressed by students who apply to join this program. In the initial stages, an individual program may need to be designed for each student. It may include academic subjects of study, apprenticeships in areas of expertise available in Auroville, and skills acquisition in the arts like painting, music, film-making etc. The courses offered would include studies about the vision of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo underlying the Auroville project, as well as some regular sports and PE. The teachers available for different subjects are not being identified at this stage, though for some subjects, teachers have already offered to be available. As the program develops and matures we hope to have a more clearly identified inventory of offerings from available teachers in Auroville. It is proposed to assign a mentor to each student, who will meet the student regularly to keep an overview of the student's progress.
The curriculum for each subject will be designed by mutual consultation between the student and the teacher. In the initial stages and depending on the maturity of the student, the guidance of the teacher may play a greater role in defining what has to be studied. For all academic subjects a graduate level course of studies would be the norm. For other areas of learning, the curriculum will be made keeping in mind the specific needs of that student.
For academic work, meetings between the teacher and the student will be scheduled at least two or three times a week, during which lessons will be offered by the teachers, submitted assignments discussed, or any other questions raised by students addressed. Full day engagement will be ensured, including both meetings with the teacher and individual work.
There will be a six month assessment of students’ work based on the completed assignments submitted. The grasp of the student of the subject matter, as well as a creative dealing with the subject matter will be considered during the assessment.
The program is offered for a period of one ,two, or three years, depending on the courses chosen by the student. There will be a review of courses chosen by the student after the first three months of study.
A certificate will be issued by SAIIER at the end of the successful completion of the course of studies decided at the beginning of the course, which will give details of what has been learned by the student.
The Program will be administered by a team of one member each from SAIIER, Last School and Future School. Its office will be based at SAIIER. Applicants may contact any of the team members who are Sanjeev at SAIIER, Deepti at Last School & Rolf at Future School.
(Article courtesy of News & Notes 22 August 2020)