You are on page 1of 6

A Modern day at the Gurukul for the MIT Students

India has been known as the land of holistic learning since time immemorial. All-round value-based
education has been the hallmark of ancient India, which was also one of the economically, culturally,
environmentally and spiritually richest countries in the world. Education played a vital role in this
success story and stalwart teachers like Vishwamitra, Dronacharya, Sandipani, Chanakya, Vidyaranya
Swami, Ramdas Swami and Ramakrishna Paramhansa have been churning out student jewels that
shaped India’s glorious narrative from time to time. The forest-based Gurukuls of the rishi-scientists and
the ancient universities like Takshashila and Nalanda helped create history in all walks of life. This rich
Guru-Shishya tradition declined in the chaotic medieval period; but did not vanish and the resurgent
India of the 21 st century shows signs of the revival of this classical education system.

The VishwashantiGurukul Schools (VGS) set up by MAEER’s MIT Group of Institutions, across
Maharashtra are an excellent example of modern day holistic learning. Its unique style of functioning
combines practical learning with classroom learning and ancient knowledge (including Yoga and Vedic
chanting) with modern science (including robotics).

Excellence through Experiential Learning


The ancient Gurukuls use to sow the seeds of higher learning with a practical approach at the school
level itself. For instance, such students used to successfully study plant taxonomy on the field under
Ayurved, or administrative and governance related skills through case studies as per Arthashastra.
Similarly, VGS follows a curriculum that covers both, classroom learning and hands-on experiences and
field visits.

Shakespeare Literary Club for honing language skills, art and craft activities like Rakhi making,
Environmental Club for connecting with nature and understanding scientific concepts through the
Einstein House are some examples of the same. Students are given assignments of movie reviews and
book reviews, at least once in a term. Short films that are age appropriate for screening are picked up
for this purpose. For overall personality development, students have access to facilities for swimming,
sports and boating. Activities like drama, dance, discussions, campaigns, street plays and lectures by
guest speakers are organized. Visits to orphanages, old age homes, and clean and green programs are an
integral part.

In order to help students excel academically in various subjects, Xseed curriculum is followed, which is:
1) Scientific (based on aims, activities, analysis, application and assessment); 2) Activity centric
(focussing on application and writing skills, and developing questioning skills); 3) With books and videos
that are very useful, primarily for laying a solid complex understanding.
Technology Focus

With technology evolving at such a rapid pace and finding applications in all spheres of life, it is very
essential to train the young minds both, in its usage as well as building scientific temper for future.
State-of-the-art robotics labs are available, while the annual Junior Robocon event offers a platform for
students to showcase their knowledge and creativity. Core subjects such as social studies, mathematics,
and English are taught using digital labs. Modern infrastructure in the form of laboratories enables
experiential learning in science, language, mathematics, ICT, and robotics. This also promotes critical
thinking and skills such as problem solving and application.

Students are assessed from grades 1 to 10 against international benchmarks in core subjects, viz.
English, mathematics and sciences; using tools developed by Australian Council for Educational Research
(ACER) and other competitive examinations.

Value-based Education
The very concept of blending ancient knowledge with modern disciplines results in an education system,
which fosters excellence along with ethics. The inclusion of Yoga plays an important role towards this
end. This is because Yoga does not just mean the physical Asanas, but an entire lifestyle prescription
that advocates balance in every endeavor for all age groups. Yoga (derived from the Sanskrit word Yuja -
to join the self with the cosmos) and value-based education (VBE) are thus related. Yoga in its entire
form covers all aspects related to the body, mind, intellect, and soul, by way of Ashtanga Yoga with its 8
limbs - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayam, Pratyahar, Dharana, Dhyan, and Samadhi. Yoga supports in
developing self-awareness and inner peace and multiplying the inner potential that leads to spiritual
evolution while excelling in studies and career.

Initiating the students into the vast knowledge bank that is Yoga, at an early age, will create a firm
grounding about the dos and don'ts of an ideal lifestyle and help in achieving the objectives of VBE. As a
stepping stone, the unique World Peace Prayer, Vedic chants, Pranayam, Surya Namaskar, Asanas,
learning of Bhagavad Gita and meditation are some of the yogic practices that are conducted
periodically in VGS for this purpose. These are practiced in the residential schools and customized
versions have been introduced for the day schools, based on the time available with students. One-to-
one sessions with teachers (Gurus) are also conducted.

All this helps in implementing the value education curriculum that addresses the needs of the present
times by developing innate human values among the youngsters, such as truth, love, peace, right
conduct and non–violence. This enables the young minds to appreciate themselves and others, and to
take greater responsibility for their actions and for the world around them. This program also helps to
tackle classroom issues such as bullying and anti-social behaviour, and provides a foundation for better
citizenship. Towards this end, Bhagavan Sri SatyaSai Education in Human Values (SSEHV) curriculum is
implemented across all grades from 1 st to 10 th throughout the year.

Women empowerment has still a long way to go in many sections of the society. VGS equips girls to
progress economically, while appreciating their unique role in the family/society, through workshops on
gender sensitivity, personality, health and careers.

Faculty Enrichment and Audits


Students emulate and learn from their teachers. Keeping this basic fact in mind, faculty enrichment
programs are conducted on a regular basis using modern teaching methods and teacher manuals in
order to develop appropriate skills.

To ensure continuing quality, periodic reviews are very important. Academic audits, both external and
internal, are undertaken to monitor and support the staff so as to maintain and raise the quality of
learning. Continuous internal audits are conducted using standard observation tools and external audits
are conducted twice in a year.
Global Awareness

India pioneered the concept of VasudhaivKutumbakam (The World is one Family). Keeping with this
tradition, activities that promote a broad global outlook are undertaken, so that future generations may
bring in Vishwa Shanti (world peace). With overseas school partners, students are taken beyond the
curriculum for understanding key burning issues. A variety of activities in line with British Council
International School Award and various projects are undertaken by both, residential and day schools
across all the grades. This encourages global understanding on critical and contemporary issues.

Student Parliaments are conducted to understand local and global issues, as well as the parliamentary
practices. This activity-based on sociocracy principles helps in developing skills such as problem-solving,
effective decision making, effective communication and group discussions that follow Neighbourhood
Community Network principles.

Environmental Social Responsibility


An ideal learning ambiance should include a blend of safety, positivity and utility and should also be in
tune with the surrounding environment. The architecture at VGS set amidst serene surroundings, which
is inspired by Indian tradition, covers all these, plus takes proactive steps towards a greener tomorrow.
The Pandharpur campus has started using STPs, reusing wastewater and installing solar power
equipment.

To raise awareness about ill effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in crop production, a
natural farming initiative has been undertaken. This hands-on activity involves both students and
teachers in growing vegetables in the school campus without the use of chemicals. This highlights the
advantages of chemical-free food and connects the students with Mother Earth. This activity was
inspired by the zero-budget spiritual farming of PadmashriSubhashPalekar.

To raise socially responsible future citizens, community involvement programmes are undertaken, which
seek to bring social awareness on critical issues like HIV, breast cancer, disaster management, first aid,
etc. All in all, VGS endeavors to groom holistic citizens, an objective that was of paramount importance
for the Gurukuls of yesteryears.

Contact us
The Machine maker,
2nd floor Ariana, Bhumkar Chowk, Marunji Road,
Wakad Pune-411057.
Phone no: +91-788-780-0015
Email Id: info@themachinemaker.com
Website: https://www.themachinemaker.com