THE SARSWATI PEACE SCHOOL
Peace School Home
Summer 201 the Sarswati Foundation collaborated with a team from New Castle University’s School of Education, Communication and Life Sciences led by Sugata Mitra. In 1999, Sugata Mitra and his colleagues dug a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera filming the area). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other. In the following years they replicated the experiment in other parts of India, urban and rural, with similar results, challenging some of the key assumptions of formal education. The “Hole in the Wall” project demonstrates that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity can cause learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge. Mitra, who’s now a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University (UK), calls it “minimally invasive education.”
SOLES (Self Organized Learning Environments)
The method is straightforward. Children work in self-organized groups of four or five, using computers. They have the freedom to work as they please, or not to work, if they so please and the order is maintained by the children themselves. Sessions are timetabled, just as playtime is. Each session is driven by a question designed by teachers to evoke curiosity and interest while gently nudging a group towards the curriculum. Then, they can sit back and admire as learning happens. As part of the curriculum, the children are then backed up by a “granny cloud” – 200 volunteer grandmothers who can be called upon to video chat with the children and provide encouragement.
The Granny Clouds
This is a group of grandmothers all over the UK who log on once a week to Skype with the children, and take on that appraising role that all grannies do so well, to tell stories, to stimulate fresh ideas and new ways of looking at the same old things. Mitra hopes to see a 25% increase in attainment thanks to this coaching/feedback mechanism.
Integrity, Hard work and Creativity
Peace School is an English medium school that does not follow a set of prescribed curriculum. Our curriculum includes documenting personal narratives in writing, filmmaking and photography. Our strategies for success in local environments embrace investigation of hidden resources, basic small business principles and stories to inspire and guide. The annual storytelling & experience sharing celebration for school children can feature their work for local communities.
Lasting peace and development is possible only if we deal with the problem holistically and if we are willing to invest in ending social divide and creating equal opportunities at all societal level through education. Strengthening the culture of care and love within the framework of traditional values provides the opportunity for children to look into their lives and connect with others.