VbE & Child Development

Value-based Education & Child Development

Value Education refers to, as most people understand, teaching/inculcating a set of positive values, given by the Authorities, to a group of children in a classroom setting, at a pre-determined schedule.

Value based Education, on the other hand, refers to the functioning of a school in accordance with a set of positive values, chosen by the school. It is not about only teaching values to students but about the School Community itself living by a set of values and practicing them. Values practiced in such a school are reflected in every action, behavior, relationship, and communication across the School Community. The project is based on the belief that unless the school itself (for that matter the whole School Community) lives by positive values, it has no right to preach to the students.

It will be prudent to provide a definition of the School Community, because the success of the project is largely dependant on each member of this community. The School Community here consists of the Managing Committee, the Principal, the Teachers and the Staff members, the Parents/Guardians, and the Community at large.

It all started in the winter of 2016 when the Board members of FIS (Foundation for India Studies, a registered non-profit organization in Houston, Texas) invited Mr. Santosh Hegde, retired Supreme Court judge and ex-Lokayukta of Karnataka as the guest speaker for their annual ‘Distinguished Lecture Series’ program. During his speech he spoke about deep-rooted corruption in many aspects of Indian lives and the erosion of values in the Indian society at large. It prompted Mr. Hiren Sarma, one of the members of FIS and the current chairman of ADI, to carry out some intensive research work on VALUE EDUCATION through various contacts and literature surveys.

As per Mr. Sarma, the work accomplished by the internationally known Dr. Neil Hawkes on Value based Education hugely influenced his thought process in initiating this project. He further acknowledges that without the financial support from Oil India Ltd., Noida (then CMD Mr. Utpal Bora), the initiation of the project could not have been possible.

In 2017, the ADI Executive Committee decided to conduct two workshops, one at Jorhat and the other at Guwahati, inviting several Government and Private schools to participate. The intent was to bring together the teachers, parents, the community members, and eminent educationists and explore the possibility of working on a project to implement Value Education in the schools around Assam.

Following the encouraging response to these workshops, a 3-year pilot project “Value based Education & Child Development” was set up. ADI also took up the management and operation of four (4) rural schools in and around Guwahati, providing primary education to underprivileged children. ADI received majority of the financial support from an American NGO called ASHA for Education.

While several schools showed initial interest during the workshops, the work with some of the schools at Jorhat did not take off due to various reasons: lack of teachers in the government schools, lack of enthusiasm in certain school management teams, varied expectations in project approach of some private schools and lack of support from government authorities at the local level.

Moreover, after implementation of the pilot project in 2018, the progress slowed down substantially in 2019-2020, mailny due to the pandemic. Additionally, financial support received from Oil India Ltd., Noida, New Delhi for initiation of the project was also exhausting towards the end of 2021.

The objective of the VbE pilot project is to bring awareness of Value based Education in the society at large and implementation of specific methodologies in a few participating schools in Assam. It is expected that using this process, the schools will be capable of fostering the development of key human qualities in the next generations. It is important that the entire school community including parents and the school managing committee is engaged in the process through a deliberate and systematic approach. The process for accomplishing this is conceived in eight stages.

  1. Initial engagement of the community minds
  2. Vision building
  3. Taking stock of the current reality & finding out the gaps
  4. Planning & preparing
  5. Aligning the school & the community with the new vision
  6. Building Competence
  7. Preparing a strategy and a plan for introducing Value Education
  8. Implementation of value education in the classrooms.*
    It is expected that the children will start adopting the Values as they are introduced and practiced one by one throughout the school.

Following an initial presentation to a school from ADI and acceptance of the project by the school through a non-legal Memorandum of Understanding, a school VbE team is created consisting of some selected teachers and parents. A series of workshops, discussion sessions, parent surveys etc. are conducted until the school is ready to select a set of 10 Values that they would like to practice during the project. Each Value is practiced for two (2) months through a pre-determined process in agreement with the teachers.

The project is handled by the Project Director Archana Barthakur, (Guwahati, since inception), a Consultant Palash Kalita and the Senior Field Coordinator Kinkar Borah (Guwahati). Sarula Tanti (Field Coordinator, Golaghat) provides support at the schools in the Golaghat district on a day-to-day basis. Two additional Field Coordinators, Nisha Das Kalita and Rashmirekha Sarma have recently joined as Field Coordinators for Guwahati area to support the increasing work.

Upasa Boruah Phukan, President and Managing trustee provides the project oversight on behalf of ADI.

Several consultants have been selected to advise the project team on a regular basis.

Value-based Education & Child Development

Although ADI started working with several schools, particularly in Jorhat and Guwahati areas, not all schools sustained through the process due to various reasons; primarily due to lack of teaching staffs, lack of engagement from school management or lack of interest from the teachers. In certain cases, the Government authorities also did not show sufficient interest in the project.

The following schools are currently engaged in the program at various stages.

  • Guwahati Refinery Higher Secondary school, Guwahati
  • Pandu Adarsha Higher Secondary School, Guwahati
  • Jalukbari Higher Secondary School, Guwahati
  • Numoligarh Higher Secondary School, Golaghat District
  • Dergaon Girls Higher Secondary School, Golaghat District.

Several other schools in Guwahati and Golaghat are showing interest to join the project.

The following Universities & Colleges are supporting with staff members & student volunteers.

  • NERIM, Guwahati
  • Downtown University, Guwahati
  • Gauhati University, Guwahati
  • Kaziranga University, Jorhat
Supporting Universities & Colleges

During the Exploration phase, the initial workshops were sponsored by Oil India Ltd., Delhi, with some support from Friends of Assam & Seven Sisters (FASS), Houston.

During the implementation Phase, primarily Oil India Ltd., Delhi provided the financial support through Q2’2021 with ad hoc funding made available from some of the Board members and well-wishers.

In early 2023, ADI Chairman Hiren Sarma established a “Corpus Fund” which is expected to support the salaries and some travel expenses for the project employees.

ADI will continue to be in the lookout for financial support domestically and/or from overseas from individual or corporate donors to meet all other current financial needs as well as for future expansion to the other schools.

ADI was actively working with SCERT (State Council of Educational Research and Training) and Axom Sarba Siksha Abhiyan Mission, Guwahati in 2018-2019 to promote this project. Although a lot of interaction took place at the early stages, this communication broke down during the pandemic.

ADI was also in contact with the Delhi Government Schools to learn about the implementation of their “Happiness Curriculum” program