Following the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, there are schools spreading alternative education in India.
In his book, The Child’s Changing Consciousness, Rudolf Steiner explained: “Essentially, there is no education other than self- education, whatever the level may be. Every education is self-education, and as teachers we can only provide the environment for children’s self-education. We have to provide the most favorable conditions where, through our agency, children can educate themselves according to their own destinies.”
Progress has been desolate in education. India spends only 3.85 per cent of the GDP on education. Some 8 million children are still out of school, though gross enrolment ratio has improved but not enough.
Alternative Education is an educational method, philosophy or pedagogy that differs significantly from the mainstream’s way of education. Any school that claims to follow any alternative ways of education may be considered as an Alternative School.
Traditional academic subjects are approached in a manner that stimulates the mind. Healthy emotional development is nurtured by conveying knowledge experientially as well as academically. It works with the hands throughout the day, both in primary academic subjects and in a broad range of artistic handwork, music and craft activities. Learning becomes an engaging voyage of discovery of the world and of oneself rather than mere acquisition of information.
History of Alternative Education in India
India has been a land of Alternative Education. It was only during and after British rule that the mainstream education was accepted in India. Even after advent of British, Alternative
Education has been discussed fervently across the nation. Many religious and philosophical leaders of India like Swami Vivekananda, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Maharishi Yogananda, Satya Sai Baba have also setup schools across nation with objective to follow alternative ways of schooling.
While there is certainly increase in number of people, institutions and groups who are facing problems with mainstream education and thus leaning towards alternative ways of education, still the percentage is very low.
The fastest-growing independent school movement in the world, today, is the Waldorf Education. Waldorf's time-tested curriculum is designed to address the whole child. The Waldorf curriculum carefully balances academic, artistic, and practical activities and develops the child's self-confidence and self-reliance, while fostering personal integrity and a sense of responsibility.
Talking about Alternate Education, The Waldorf Curriculum aims to not only focus on a child’s physical and mental development, but also explore the connection between the soul and the spirit.
Below are few of the educational institutions in India which follow the Waldorf school model.
Sloka, The Hyderabad Waldorf School
Sloka is part of an international educational system that had begun almost a century ago when an Austrian by the name of Rudolf Steiner, laid the foundations for Waldorf education. Sloka, founded on July 3, 1997, continues to abide by the tradition of Waldorf Philosophy.
At Sloka, it is believed that as the children grow, they will use their imagination and natural sense of wonder, nurtured in these early years, to cultivate inquisitiveness and a desire to learn and understand. Music and dance form a vital part of our curriculum at Sloka. Children learn to sing and are introduced to the recorder in the first grade. As they move to higher grades, they are taught Indian Classical Dance and Music also.
The school says that they believe in nurturing curiosity, hence, they try to imbibe creativity and independent thinking; they refuse to adhere to a one-dimensional approach towards students.
Founded in June 2002, Abhaya stands unique as it was founded by a group of parents and teachers who questioned the rote learning advocated by the other educational boards.
Situated in Rangareddy district, Hyderabad, the school believes that excellence can be attained through self-motivation, and intelligence is a result of the synergy among the heart, the head, and the hands. The curriculum integrates arts, sciences and humanities, in an age-appropriate manner, with the aim to nurture the natural developmental stages of the child.
Prerana Waldorf School
Prerana, meaning ‘sublime inspiration’, offers an education model which allows young children to be children rather than forcing them into an accelerated intellectualism.
Founded in 2001, this co-educational school incorporates music, arts and outdoor play in its prime teaching method. The aim is to imbibe multi-sensory and experiential learning and academic excellence without high-stakes testing. The Hyderabad-based school believes in creating an experiential learning environment for students.
Bangalore Steiner School
With an aim to encourage students to seek the truth, think consciously, feel compassionately and engage actively with the world, the Bangalore Steiner School was founded in January 2011.
The main objective of this co-education school is to transform into a sustainable community. Further, the primary attraction of this school lies in its unique student-teacher relationship. A single class teacher is responsible for a batch of students for a continuous period of seven to eight years, ensuring that the teacher guides the students by monitoring the child’s talent according to individual psyche.
Inodai Waldorf School
This Mumbai-based school’s core belief is that education must lead to the inner development of the child. Using the varying tools of imitation and imagination—such as storytelling, puppetry, games and finger plays, beeswax modeling, nature walks, baking and cooking, the school aims to prepare the child for future life experiences.
Inodai Waldorf School education prepares the child as thoroughly as possible for his or her future life experiences. A rigorous classical education instills the academic skills necessary to succeed in Upper School and later academic work.
Education is a beam of hope as it creates opportunities for the future. One cannot deny the fact that modern education has led to social awakening and awareness amongst people all over India. Thanks to the recent revolutionary developments, now any kind of information is easily accessible, that too at the doorstep of each and every individual. It has made the present generation much more informed and knowledgeable than previous generations.