The Gurukul system of education has existed in India for over 2000 years. This system emphasized on acquisition of occupational skills, and an atmosphere that stressed on rational reasoning and thinking among the students, so that they inculcated empathy for their peers and respect for the world they live in.
Our educational system deteriorated from the 18th century when individuality was ignored and we adopted the factory model, where one size fits all was the rule of the day.
There was a revolution when reformers like Jiddu Krishnamurthy and Rabindranath Tagore brought the ancient method of schooling and alternative schools saw a resurgence. Today, open or alternate schools are accepted by parents who envision their child in a dynamic environment that promotes growth at the pace set by the student. Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Leo Tolstoy, Mozart, and Benjamin Franklin are some of the great inventors and artists who were schooled in this method.
We cannot neglect the part played by Dr Maria Montessori and Steiner who brought about a novel perspective to the way in which we saw the child.
Today the world is benefitting from the ancient knowledge of India and we are aping the West.
Today alternate schools are accepted and parents are willing to traverse the untrodden path in fulfilling their child’s dream, even though they are not the success guaranteed ones.
The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was established in 1989 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and this took under its wings home schools, alternate schools and private candidates. NIOS provided them a platform to take government prescribed examinations.