Education Beyond Books

Swami Vivekananda proclaimed, “My whole ambition in life is to set in motion machinery which will bring noble ideas to the doors of everybody and then let men and women settle their whole fate.”

In this context, I would like to share one of my most cherished teaching experiences. It was the occasion of Diwali. Students of class XI were highly excited about the vacation that followed. I thought that this was the right time to expose these young kids to the hard facts of life. I proposed to them the idea of a visit to an orphanage. After a bit of survey, we could find an orphanage- ‘Spoorty’ that housed around sixty orphan and semi-orphan kids in the age group of three to fifteen years.

When approached, the teacher in-charge of the orphanage was very happy to permit the students to visit the orphanage and spend some time with these kids. Filled with the desire to serve the society, the students meticulously planned the entire visit. This activity gave them an opportunity to develop various scholastic and co-scholastic skills. They drafted a notice to raise funds and displayed it on the school notice board. They prepared a list of items to be donated at the orphanage. It was, indeed, surprising to know that they had browsed the internet and visited various shops to check the prevailing prices of various commodities such as food grains, toiletries, clothing etc. They maintained accounts of the expenses incurred by them for the purchase of the above mentioned items. It was a real learning experience where in they could utilise their theoretical knowledge into practical application. Various subjects such as English, Business Studies, Accounts, and Mathematics could be co-related and transmitted to the learners under a single activity.

During their visit, the students interacted with the kids at the orphanage joyously, breaking the barriers of rich and poor. They danced and sang along with their little friends and loaded them with gifts that they would cherish lifelong. A small act of love proved to be very fruitful in developing a sense of patriotism and service to the nation in our young students.

The students, through this visit, not only managed to learn in detail about their subjects but also understood the greater purpose of education. They realised that education was not just giving examination and securing degrees but also referred to inculcation of values such as empathy, tolerance, sharing and caring, love for the needy and team work.

Therefore, it is only justified to conclude that ‘Right education is education beyond books.’ If the youth of India is educated in the above manner, it wouldn’t be unrealistic to state that India will certainly be one of the super power nations in the years to come.