A two-day education conference titled ‘Antaram – A Meaningful Pause for Solutions in Education’ was held at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), organized jointly by Unnat Bharat Abhiyan and Vision India Foundation on June 9 and 10, 2018. About 250+ young change-makers, committed to nation-building, participated.
The organizers and facilitators of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA; a Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India programme to uplift rural India, launched in collaboration with the IITs, National Institutes of Technology [NITs] and other leading government engineering institutes from across the country) and Vision India Foundation (VIF; founded by alumni and faculty members of various IITs) have been working on holistic interventions in government schools in villages in and around Delhi. The interventions were preceded by visits to several schools all over the country known to deliver education differently and catering to the holistic needs of children, such as the Muni International School (Delhi), Jnana Prabodhini (Pune), Riverside School (Ahmedabad), Rishi Valley Education Centre (Chitoor), Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (Puducherry) and more. Incorporating all these experiences, this team developed the concept of a conference on education, titled ‘Antaram – A Meaningful Pause for Solutions in Education’. Two young fire brand workers, Naman Asha Bansal and Rovin Pushp, with their team, put in the hard work under the guidance of Professor Nomesh Bolia and left no stone unturned to make the event a success.
The contributors and participants to the Conference included leading educationists, thinkers, practitioners, representatives of visionary schools across India, grassroots leaders, teachers, principals, civil society representatives, education entrepreneurs, change-makers from central and state governments, including bureaucrats and central & state ministers, and leading organizations who have been working to find meaningful solutions in education in India.
Shivakumar, Director, India Council for Integral Education (ICIE, the educational wing of Sri Aurobindo Society), was invited to participate and deliver a keynote inaugural talk on the topic ‘Understanding Education’. In this introductory address, he emphasized on the need to relook at the present-day education and also question the true content of a meaningful education. By presenting the varied aspects of a true education, he explained how it has to give information about the world outside, but also put the child in touch with the world inside and help to master it. Through examples, the connection between the outside world and the inner world was brought out, laying the foundation for an integration of both, through an Integral Education.
In his concluding interaction through another session, Shivakumar took the participants on a journey to look for the ‘Source of Happiness’ and a discovery that it always comes from within – we just need find our own ways of connecting with it. Throughout the two days, the participants interacted freely and came up with some deep, thought-provoking questions too. Shri Matri Prasad and Shri Devdip Ganguly representing the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE), Sri Aurobindo Ashram, shared the ways in which education is imparted at the Ashram school.
Other speakers included, Professor V. K. Vijay, Unnat Bharat Abhiyan; Shri Rajendra Singh Baghel, All India Head, Trainings, Vidya Bharati; Shri Naresh Pal Gangwar, Secretary (Education), Rajasthan; Shri Nand Kumar, Secretary (Education), Maharashtra; Smt. Saumya Gupta, Director (Education), NCT Delhi; Shri Dilip Kelkar, Punarutthan Trust, Dr Nomesh Bolia, Naman Bansal and Rovin Push, Vision India Foundation & Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, IIT Delhi; Shri Prakash Anna, Principal, Isha Home School, Coimbatore and many more esteemed educators and education facilitators.
A video of the inaugural Talk on "Understanding Education" (30min.) delivered by Shivakumar is available here: