Vidya Niketan School in Bangalore is all about exploring new possibilities to expand the horizon for its students.
In its vision to see that the students gain holistic personality development and learn in a child centered and nurturing environment, the School Management is relentlessly looking for innovative best practices, adopt the same in the school , even if it implies disrupting the routine while experimenting with something novel that may prove to be quite a challenge for the faculty and administration to implement. If the new endeavour proves to be unsuitable , without any hesitation it is given up.
VN was one of the earliest schools in the city to do away with term end examinations for students till grade seven. It introduced reading time compulsorily for all before the day’s classes began, brought in awareness about the benefits of meditation by holding a three day program conducted by the Vipasanna Foundation. The school held frequent workshops for teachers to make learning effective and joyful experience for students. These are just a few examples.
Of many such experiments, the one that remains etched in my mind is the one when VN intuitively decided that Inter School Competitions were not the way to go, rather the focus should be on events that encouraged cooperation among the city’s school children. The school got an opportunity to spread this message when the Inter School Theatre Fest was held under the banner of the Times Of India newspaper initiative for the city schools called,’ Newspaper in Education’. It was an annual affair,where the participating schools would stage plays and compete keenly to bag the Winner’s Trophy. It was a very popular and prestigious event. Students and their respective school teachers worked 24 x7 to put up novel themes, investing a lot of time and energy in all aspects of their productions.
Around the same time in the city I had heard a lecture by a German academician,that in his country competitive events in schools had been banned ,for the widespread belief was that developing such a mindset from kindergarten onwards could be one of the leading causes that led to wars and violence in the world. The vision and focus of education should be on encouraging novel methods and events that fostered a spirit of cooperation amongst children and young adults ,which they believed in the long run would lead to a more peaceful world.
Vidya Niketan students before staging their play at the well known Chowdiah Auditorium in the city shocked the audience by announcing that they were taking part in the event but they were not there to win any prize. Their interest was to enjoy staging their play, watch the other productions, interact with their peers from other schools and altogether have some good fun, observing and learning from the festival of plays. The school did put up a wonderful play, going the whole nine yards to make it a big success on literally every front, like theme, acting, stage setting to name a few. VN’s young actors and the teachers did not show the least disappointment when they declined the awards earned by them . I admired the school for impressing on its students that competitions need not be a motivating factor to bring out their brilliance and capabilities. In an atmosphere of warmth and co-operation the rewards can be far more fulfilling than otherwise!
It was an incredible moment for me that what I had heard a few days ago from a German Professor had already been put in practice at Vidya Niketan months earlier, the children had been working hard to stage an outstanding play knowing that they were participating for sheer enjoyment and not to win any prize.
This action spoke loud and clear how farsighted and committed the Vidya Niketan School Management is to helping young people to become more in tune with modern times where everywhere people are working towards a creating an environment of peace and cooperation in the world.