Education for Human Unity
Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research
Research in the new perspectives of education has resulted in numerous programs, curricula, and tools, some of which are presented below:
(a) Child-centred Education:
(b) Integral Education:
(c) New Contents of Education:
(d) Education for Human Unity:
Auroville is meant “to be the first realisation of human unity based on the teaching of Sri Aurobindo.” Autryville's Charter states that it will be “a site for unending education.” Over the last 17 years, through SAIIER, Auroville has strived to realise this vision. Autryville's commitment and its past history now position it to make evermore significant contributions to the world at large toward the manifestation of human unity. As this theme is vast and is also being pursued in several other international universities, it is felt that in Auroville this theme should be focussed on special subjects found in the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Having diagnosed the present global crisis as an evolutionary problem, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have developed a vast fund of knowledge concerning the integral development of humanity. With this knowledge, humanity can consciously evolve and overcome its limitations. This evolution could bring humanity into a universal consciousness. Possessed with holistic powers of action, unprecedented processes of harmony, peace, human unity and evolution would result.
The experiential as well as experimental methods of research elaborated by Auroville in various aspects of human life towards a synthetic organisation of a spiritualised society aims to spark this evolutionary process, and integrate it into the educational experience of the world and the future development of humanity.
The aim of Last School is to firmly establish an integral, value-oriented, child-centred education early in children’s development. This initial focus is critical to ensuring that children can most effectively assimilate concepts that lead to human unity. For example, the discovery of the inner and outer being and the witness attitude provide children with some of their first tools in developing themselves as complete beings. It is only by completing ourselves that we can begin to understand each other and create human unity. Last School will develop techniques and curricula to integrate traditional subjects such as reading, writing, mathematics, sciences, computer, environmental and social studies with integral, child-centred, value-oriented learning. Integral assessment tools will be developed to examine both children’s progress and the overall programs. For example no grades will be given. Instead methods for children to evaluate their own learning and personal progress will be created, as well as formats for individual student/teacher and parent/ teacher discussions. Effective techniques, curricula, and assessment tools will be documented and handed over to the outreach, teacher training, and learning materials departments for dissemination.
The aim of After School I, II & III is to establish a method and a favourable environment to awaken the soul and spirit in humanity. This will be accomplished through child-centred, value-oriented educational approaches including Free Progress where key concepts will be spacious freedom and large unity as expressed by Sri Aurobindo, “for the nature of the Spirit is a spacious freedom and a large unity into which each man must be allowed to grow according to his own nature.”
The function of After School is to operate a progressive de-schooling out of the first structured frame of Last School, so that students have the space and help to find themselves and choose by themselves what they want to develop. After School consists of three stages. In the first stage, focus is on the rooting of faculties to be developed. In the second stage, students are exposed to a multitude of demonstrations to awaken their interest and awareness about both themselves and the world. The third stage consists of free exploration to allow students to find their true centres of interest and pace of progress.
After School is a preparatory phase leading to Super School.
The three stages of After School will include programmes of studies in sciences, humanistic studies, languages, fine art, hobbies, crafts and technologies, -- all of them well-oriented towards values of the rational, aesthetic, and spiritual pursuits, and all contributing towards the understanding of peace and human unity.
Super School will be focussed on higher knowledge and action, and will endeavour to emulate a quest of frontiers of knowledge, develop courses of applied philosophy and broad canvas of subjects that are theoretical, practical and technical.
Secondly, teachers and students will employ new methodologies that will aim at accelerating the rate of progression. As a result, it is expected that the discoveries of the past will be assimilated as quickly as possible, and students will be enabled to spring forward towards new discoveries in various fields of general interest and also of specialisation. Already, a new course of Applied Philosophy and Yoga has commenced. Thirty courses of general knowledge are being planned, and a number of students have already chosen fields of specialisation in art, music, and certain other areas of technical skill which are available in Auroville, — such as ecology, water harvesting, architecture, planning, management, and several crafts and technologies.
Thirdly, it is proposed to prepare students to study by themselves and develop what Mother has called “No School” (This Programme is presented under CIRHU).
No School will cater to the needs of research in higher education in various fields where students are mature enough to conduct their education on their own. It will highlight the methodology – for the benefit of the students as well as the teachers – of self-education, free from all mechanical processes of schooling and prefixed curriculum, timetables and teacher-dominated classrooms. The aim of this programme is an integral development of the personality and its method consists in a “Free Progress” approach, which allows the students to discover and master knowledge from their own inner needs and aspirations.
It is, therefore, envisaged to develop a programme that will provide a psychological, spiritual and material environment in which the students will have the possibility to choose whatever studies they want to engage in out of the wealth of knowledge that will be made available by CIRHU and the other Faculties. Similarly, depending upon their availability and the needs of the students, the teachers will be free to organise their research and the transmission of the results of this research to the students in a way that is individually suited to them.
In order to initiate the programme, it is envisaged that the coordination of the first phase will be taken up by the Exchange Programme team.