Once there was a dream….and then it saw light—there stood the school Southpoint!
It all began with research on education, the first round of which was on the history of the various kinds of schools in India, and the history of the problems of authoritarianism, rote-learning and textbook-dependance. The second round revealed that today’s schools had not at all overcome these historical problems but rather, were caught helplessly in them. Children were not learning basic skills, except in certain expensive schools, in a way that would enable them to realise their dreams. Nor were they developing the skills of leadership, environmental sensitivity, citizenship, or creativity.
We continued with our research. But alongside, in 1990, a group of us, teachers, artists, writers and professionals, started a model school which we called Southpoint Vidyashram. It is located in the south of Banaras city, in a neighbourhood called Nagwa, next to BHU and Lanka. In 2006, we started a second part of the school in Betawar village on the Ganga, near Bachhaon, some 8 km from the city.
From 1990 to the present the history of our school consists of further research, applied into our work. Our school is a dynamic piece of ‘history,’ a work-in-progress, always evolving, learning, growing The school is a product of the history of India, and is an active agent in the making of the history of India. Because India’s problems may be dated from colonial times—its hierarchy, its poor teaching ethos—our school is ‘postcolonial.’ Because India also has a rich history that has partly got separated from formal schooling, our school strives to build a close relationship with Indian values and practices.