A two-day conclave ‘Ashoka Changemaker Schools’ was organized in New Delhi in which 10 schools across the Country were recognised as ‘Changemaker Schools’ in view of their varied approaches to education. The schools have adopted new ways to enable students to become changemakers. The Conclave aimed at providing a platform for principals, teachers, students and parents from the different schools to interact and engage with social entrepreneurs across the country.
Ashoka Foundation conducted a survey in 60 schools across 30 cities in the Country to shortlist schools based on their commitment to influence and help others at large in the education sector. Ten schools which have been shortlisted are – Riverside School (Ahmedabad), R N Podar School (Mumbai), Headstart Learning Centre (Chennai), K.C Thackarey Vidya Niketan (Pune), TVS Academy (Hosur, Tamil Nadu), Vidyodaya School (Gudalur, Tamil Nadu), Digantar Vidyalaya (Jaipur), Uday Community School (Sawai Madhopur), Muni International School (Delhi) and The Heritage School (Gurgaon).
Riverside School has introduced ‘Feel, Imagine, Do and Share Framework’ into the curriculum to teach students academic subjects through empathy. R N Podar School has introduced various in-school and national initiatives such as Drishtikon and Learnshift India to cultivate future changemakers. Headstart Learning Centre has started the Elina Resource Centre to integrate children with special needs into regular schools, paving a way towards an inclusive society.
K.C Thackarey Vidya Niketan is providing quality education with a government school ecosystem along with empowering children to tackle social issues such as restoring local rivers and addressing sexual harassment. TVS Academy has started various initiatives such as parent-enrichment programs and student lead conferences enabling them to contribute in building better communities together. Uday Community School sends each teacher to adopt two government schools in the nearby villages to build a mind-set of quality education.
Ashoka-Innovators for the Public has launched its global initiative, ‘Changemaker Schools’ to identify, connect and support innovative schools which implements new ways of learning braking the traditional methods. These schools are constantly working out to make a positive impact in the world by equipping its students with changemaking skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, critical as well as creative thinking. Ashoka Innovators believe in their mission that the ‘Chagemaker Schools’ will enable cross-learning and sharing of best practices among schools and also create opportunities to collaborate with educators, social entrepreneurs, leaders, nationally and globally.
Ashoka has a network of 100 schools on the global level that are working towards building a world where everyone can be a Changemaker. Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi is also associated with Ashoka.
Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka group said, “If young people do not grow up being powerful, causing change, and practicing these interlocked underlying skills, they will reach adulthood with a self-definition that does not include changemaking and a social skill set that largely precludes it. Just as one must develop strong emotional foundations in the first three years of life or suffer for a lifetime, young people must master and practice these social skills and the high art of being powerful in and through society while they are young. Changemaker Schools will enable our children to become lifelong learners.”
Vishnu Swaminathan, Country Director of Ashoka India said, “Our children will require a very sophisticated set of skills and more importantly, a higher form of empathy that will allow them to work well with people. Schools are the first point wherein children can inculcate these skills enabling them to be changemakers for life, which is the new need.”
Speaking at the event, he remarked, “Ashoka as an organization believes in the vision of Everyone a Changemaker and focuses on building peer networks. Be it adults or children. With the Changemaker Schools initiative we are striving to change mind-sets and catalyze changes through schools and across the wider ecosystem- so that we provide every child with environments and experiences that exclusively designed to foster changmaking skills. We believe that these students will become champions of change benefiting the community.”
Eminent though partners like Dr Parag Mankeekar, Founder of Niti Solutions, Ashraf Patel, Pravah, Sweta Anand Arora, Education Alliance, Darshan Bhat, Creatnet and Harsha Mahabala, Edutel have joined the initiative. Neelam Pol of Khel Planet, Prakhar Bhartia of Youth Alliance and Reshma Valliappan of Red Door also organized interactive workshops.
At the event, Dr Parag Mankeekar said, “Changemaker Schools initiative has come at a right time. With the ever changing world, there is a rise of complexity and uncertainty. The global ecosystem is constantly being redefined. Children will be the future changemakers and initiatives such as this go a long way in empowering them with the right skills to bring about development in the society in a dynamic environment.”