Digantar Vidyalay- An Alternative Approach to Education
Developing sensitivity and autonomy in every person in the society is the only way to ensure social justice; and to achieve that education is the only means.
Digantar’s search for ‘alternatives’ in elementary education began with a small school in the outskirts of Jaipur city in 1978. For the effective functioning of these schools, Digantar continuously endeavored to analyze and understand the assumptions and implications of educational theories and policies which helped in designing & developing suitable teaching-learning resources, pedagogy and practices. The overarching aim of Digantar schools is to engage in a constant search, both in terms of theory and practice, for a school system that can provide quality education. Digantar has made special effort to involve the community in regular dialogue to ensure their active participation in the coordination of schools.
At present Digantar runs two schools – one in Bhavgarh Bandhya and the other in Kho Raberiyan. From a small school with seven children, it has grown into two schools with almost 600 children.
Approach at Digantar Vidyalaya :
- Learning with understanding, cooperation with peers and freedom of pace of learning are the characteristics of Digantar Vidyalaya. This helps obliterate the boundary of classroom in which children are unnaturally confined, and opens up the possibility of having them in flexible and ever changing groups formed on the basis of their learning level.
- Digantar Vidyalaya puts conscious effort to bridges the gap between educational theory and practice which, it believes, helps in understanding elementary education and evolving a better alternative.
- Democratic practices are essential aspect of our system where teacher, student and all other staff members share equal and mutual responsibility of making teaching learning process and school environment just for all its members. This is done through a continuous process of critical dialogue and negotiations.
- Education at Digantar Vidyalaya is free; children are not charged any fee.
- On the basis of experiences gained from working in upper primary, efforts were made to develop better alternatives for Senior Secondary Education as well with special emphasis on providing higher education to girls. The efforts culminated in a senior secondary education programme which helped girls, in particular, of the local community who would have been otherwise deprived.