Continuing our consideration of structural violence in education, Class VIII recently paired off to research and report on a handful of alternative educational landscapes, as described in the (fascinating, intricate, broad-minded, and magnificently colorful) children’s book, Going to School in India.
Tenzin Lhadron A and Tenzin Lhadron B tell us about a public government school in the mountains of Ladakh:
“They are learning Alphabet of English (e.g. Y is for yak). The cards help the kids learn new English word by showing them pictures of familiar things. Jigmat watch after of yak…. Ladakh government school is not structural violence because they teach both traditional and English.”
Sangey Ngodup and Sonam Chodron report on a creative village school, detailing a high-intensity parliament-style debate as a hands-on lesson in social studies:
“The goal of this education system is that they are trying to learn how the government works: is it working good or bad…. Knowledge is that they know how the government works and the skills is that they learn acting and talking.”
Tenzin Norbu and Konchok Norbu read about a school in Pondicherry which encourages its students to learn about local livelihoods by personally interviewing fisherman at the seaside:
“Yes [they are happy] because student know about how to write and read and student know about sea.”
Shanti Tamang and Lungta Lhamu explain about a non-profit that provides a weekly meeting space to a handful of street children in Delhi, where the young boys democratically publish their own newspaper:
“The goal of this education system is to write a newspaper such as Wallpaper because with the help of NGO they want to give kids a chance to express themselves…. To write a newspaper and to tell them about their life and how difficult is their life is the kind of knowledge and skill which is considered valuable…. Life of children are preparing for other children not to have difficult life like them which they are having in street right now…. The newspaper will probably help them free in their future.”
Mani Wangmu and Dorjee Wangchu recount the story a tribal community which rejected the government school and manages its own education, sending children to learn from the village elders about their natural environment:
“The student is from the tribe…. Marigan the elder teach them. His is also from same tribe…. They teach themselves….. In future they will be independent because they know what fruit they have to eat, what they have to put if they feel their body pain…. In this school they are preparing to be happy in their future because they can know about jungle more.”
Stay tuned for more as the students begin conducting their own interviews to analyze educational power structures locally!