Vinayak Garg :

My journey through systems ….

Sardar Patel VidyalayaMy first tryst with a system of any kind was at ‘Sardar Patel Vidyalaya’ where I spent 14 years, from my nursery years to finally complete my Senior secondary (or 12th boards as popularly called !!).

I enjoyed school, and recall many instances, mostly small, that shaped my learning and have left a distinct mark on the way I perceive things. But it wasn’t until I actually left the school that I realized how cherished the system at my school was, all the procedures and methodologies which I had taken for granted, now seemed like innovations. Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, named after the legendary freedom fighter Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India, was run by Gujarat Education Society and was based on the principles of free thinking and equitable distribution of opportunities. School encouraged each student to participate in each activity and test his capability in all areas ranging from art, sports, public speaking etc.

It is this idea that I really feel needs to be extended to all education systems across levels: providing students with enough exposure so as to enable them to make them ‘informed choice’ in future. I realize that most of the changes that I have been pursuing in the academic system somewhere draw heavily from this philosophy.

IIT delhiIndian Institute of Technology Delhi, or simply IITD, was my next pit-stop. I entered my class with the lowest rank but graduated with rank 1; this was a land of opportunities. Everything was possible here, and more importantly IITD managed to instill this confidence in people that everything IS possible!! Looking back if there is one thing that I am taking back from IITD then it is the confidence that I can achieve anything that I set my heart upon. So much is going on in IITD which involves students that they are entrusted with responsibilities every now and then, and they learn to face crisis while still keeping a smile on the face.

This is not to say that everything is perfect here and it is heaven, after all it is here that I started my NGO VISVAS to reform the academic system. A lot needs to be changed, both from the end of students and administration, but for the first post I would like to concentrate on the brighter sides.

It was here at IITD that I was given an opportunity to go on a year long exchange to INSA-Lyon, France. I feel that it was a turning point in my life because not only did I matured a lot living alone and traveling across Europe for a year, but exposure to a different academic system actually broadened my awareness about the dynamics of its working and what are the alternatives for each.

Instead of classifying the whole system as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it had enabled me to breakdown system into pieces and analyze characteristics of each and how it fits in with others to complete the puzzle.

Buddhist MonasteryAfter graduation, I was chosen by SPICMACAY (Society for promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) for a Gurukul scholarship, and I spent 6 weeks in monastery of H.H. Dalai Lama. That was a window into an ecosystem which thrived totally on faith and devotion. Initially it seems that logic stops here and it is blind faith that is governing the lives, but dwelling deeper I could find threads that link it to our system and how so much could be adapted from these monasteries and our religious schools into the main stream educational institutes. I also spent some time at the Tibetan children’s village (TCV), interacting with students conducting career counseling sessions and enriching myself all along.

Our education system certainly lacks faith; faith of students in their teachers, faith of teacher in the system, and faith of system in its students: we need to bring it all back!

I beong to a family of academicians, and throughout I have been in touch with academics of different universities and colleges, with my parents being professors at colleges of Delhi University, and my relatives being professors at different universities across India. Recently my sister completed her studies from Shri Ram College of Commerce, providing me an insight into the student side of the story.

Even with my NGO, V.I.S.V.A.S. I have had an opportunity to interact with many students, teachers and principals of different colleges of Delhi University. We have been involved with activities and product implementation to solve problems of these colleges.

Armed with these experiences I decided to start putting on record my thoughts on education system as prevalent in India, and as we would like it to be. The main purpose of placing my thoughts here is to invite other perspectives and together look at each piece of this puzzle from different angles.

6 responses to “My journey through systems ….”

  1. asha says:

    In a very short span of time you have been lucky to have had such an eventful journey.
    Its good that you have learnt all through from the varied institutions.
    Looking forward for more posts.

  2. Vidhi Jain says:

    its been long since i came across a post that touched. great work yaar. sometimes i forget iv been in truly great company! keep it up and all the best

  3. Vandana Soni says:

    Hy, Vinayak… hope u must be doing great. I have something to share with u, in regard to the journey you have jsut set to take up. I am currently working on UN DESD India Programme with Education For sustainable development, the main agenda of which is to ensue sustainable development (environment, socio-econmic and other aspects) through education in every sector of society, and education being a major component. Currently we (CEE and MHRD) are making India’s Fiver Year for ESD in India. I want you to share your input and idea of how we could Work out on overhaling our current academic system (Specially University) through ESD perspective, something which as i percive clearly comes out (as an approach) from your idea behind VISVAS…. It would be nice if you could share with me. And i think it would be interesting for u even to take/refere to this perspective.
    Good Luck for this new begining. And i would be happy to be part of the initiative through any means. Lking forward for resps

  4. Ranga says:

    Faith in the academic circles is quite unheard of, epecially if the beneficiary is the much-maligned ‘system’. Breaking down a large problem into smaller pieces is one definite way to solve it. What happens more often than not is the involvement of many people leading to a blurring of the overall puzzle.

  5. kusam says:

    Dear Vinay, faith is what you had in these institutions you have mentioned and you were not dissapoited by them.People who believe in good systems make all the difference otherwise very good systems are doomed by individuals .
    All of us are aware that there are excellent systems in place to operate DMRC,it failed recently because individuals did not respect the system.
    keep up meaningful thinking.

  6. […] know about Vinayak’s journey and his passion for education sector please read his first blog post. « Problems with HP Service […]

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