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After School

This school does not exist anymore:

See New Era Secondary School

'After School' is one of the three schools for secondary education in Auroville. It is an educational institute whose main aim is to promote higher education and standard qualifications among youths from Auroville and the surrounding villages, and is based on a holistic approach, meaning that there is enough attention for the personal development of the students and all the aspects they have to deal with.

National Open School System

After School was started as a secondary school in three small classrooms in Fraternity in 1992. It was first intended to offer vocational courses such as electronics, accounting and computer studies but soon adopted the structured syllabus of the National Open School System in order to provide students with a general foundation. It has for the last nine years helped students prepare for their 10th and 12th Standard examinations in five subjects under this system. The fifty students who have studied at After School to date came originally from Transition, Last School and New Creation. Recently, students have started joining from Udavi and the Kuilapalayam School as well. After School was started two Tamilian Aurovilians who had grown up here themselves because they and others felt that the Tamil kids were not being given enough attention. Once it was decided to follow the Open School system, teachers were found within Auroville and the first classes began.

(Para adapted from an article in AVToday;
the remaining part of this page is written
by the students themselves.)

Teachers and students

Presently there are nine teachers available, five are working full time and four are part time volunteers and members of Auroville. At present After School has 36 students, 10 girls and 26 boys. Usually there are 10 to 12 students in a class. The students are in the age group of 15- 25 years old and are divided over 2 levels, grades 10 and 12. They finish the 10th grade in one year and the 12th in two years. To finish a grade the students have to pass the National Open School Exam. When they graduate after their exam in the 12th grade, they get a Senior Secondary Diploma which gives them the possibility to go to on to University. After School also provides opportunities for them to study abroad, for example in the UK through student exchange programmes with Pestalozzi Children's Villages Trust.

Subjects

The subjects taught in After School are English, Tamil, French, mathematics, science, social science, economics, commerce, accountancy, arts, computer skills, sports, current events, spiritual studies, theatre and dance. Other extra curricular activities include studies on Mother, Sri Aurobindo and Auroville.

Communication skills

Besides these daily subjects the following skills in communication are taught:

  • Asking "how do we know what we know?"

  • Seeing through multiple viewpoints

  • Imagining alternatives by asking "what if?"

  • Seeking connections

  • Asking "what difference does it make?"

Social worker

There is a social worker available in After School. He deals with the personal and psychological problems of these young people and tries to teach them the skills mentioned above. It is very important that there is enough attention given to the children and their backgrounds. He talks to the students about their conditions at home, problems that arise at school, wishes for the future and other matters. They discuss the attitude and behaviour in and around school. The social worker maintains a direct contact with the teachers as well. Besides this there are conversations held with the parents, to get know each other, to find out what they think about the school's approach to education, and to show them what their child learns at school.

Need of empowerment

In the villages surrounding Auroville, as in the rest of India, there are many people lacking a proper education. They traditionally earn their money by working on the land. Usually children from these villages do not get an adequate education, many being put to work, even the very young. There is a strong pull from the parents to keep the children out of school, specially the girls, and to get them to work for the family with the purpose of getting them married off as soon as possible. As a result the children are constantly faced with a dilemma. They are aware of the 'importance' of going to school, but why this is so their traditions have not taught them. That's one of the main reasons why it's necessary to have a frequent contact with the students and their parents.

What these children need is empowerment. They need to learn how to dream of a better future for themselves, and how to express and make their dreams come true. They need help in discovering their dreams and learning how to make them clear.

 

contact: selva@auroville.org.in

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