"Greater energy and greater passion is more extraordinary than greater genius." — Lt. General (Retd.) Arjun Ray, PVSM,VSM
Issue 125, June 2013
Educating the Whole-Child
To survive, to succeed, and to be happy in a global world, students should be prepared to think and act creatively, to become critical thinkers, be enabled to solve complex problems and very importantly to communicate persuasively.
A strong foundation in academics (although important) is not enough. There has to be a balanced approach, and a new approach to education. At Indus, this is happening through whole-education, but not at the cost of academic excellence. Whole education goals are not limited to success in narrow terms, in examinations and graduating from high school or college. It is geared to enabling and empowering a child to face life in a world he does not know and cannot imagine, a world beset by new challenges.
Whole-education begins with our belief and understanding about the purpose of education. The purpose has to be relevant and deal with these challenges in society.
Currently, the severest threat to our planet is sustainability we inhabit a world which is teetering on the verge of climate collapse and resource collapse. We live in times of uncertainty, chaos, and high speed change.
Consequently, we need to go beyond narrow academic goals. At Indus we believe that education must: prepare children for life’s challenges, and reconnect them with Nature and Community.
In order to fulfill the purpose of education, educating the whole-child is an imperative. Schools must be responsible for developing the child’s cognitive, emotional, spiritual and aesthetic personalities. In simple terms this means, synthesis of the Left and Right brain and harmony between the Head and the Heart. Such a symbiosis encourages the development of competencies that will help you to be prepared for all challenges: these are
Critical-thinking and problem-solving
Traditionally whole-education is usually described as “co-curricular” activities… These are planned and directed from top-down. For greater meaning, whole-education should also be bottom-up, or student-centric, with innovation and critical-thinking as their driving force. Wholeness can be achieved by addressing and catering to the needs of the whole child, not just the student or the school-goer.
We must ask ourselves these questions:
Are we going to leave a creative legacy for everyone to admire and emulate?
Can we identify a problem in the school or neighbourhood community and provide a solution?
At the end of the day, whole-education must make a contribution to the wider community. Today, more than ever, “No man is an island, entire of itself….”
Educators and parents cannot and must not ignore this fact. They must nurture children to be the sustainers and healers in society. The Whole Child has the potential to overcome and to take on these roles.
With warm regards,
Lieutenant General (Retd.) Arjun Ray, PVSM, VSM
Chief Executive Officer