A V E
Issue 26, 2011
Tuesday, 18 October, 2011
CHANGING IS CHALLENGING
ne of the hallmarks of a great school in the making is that it offers a child an experience of panoptic pursuits that range from academics to cultural, national to global, and from individual to shared. A cascade of events; socially and intellectually relevant, where young minds in a school take part happily to satisfy their curiosity, in fact, contributes to transform a cooperative climate into a collaborative realm. These limitless possibilities that construe the delicate fabric of collaborative mindset also contribute to form a larger identity of a school, namely, “Evolution.” Being a teacher, I can attempt to record the rapidly changing educational climate that defines the current thrust of education. As I perceive it, during the last two decades, education has evolved significantly and responded fitly to the technological shifts, globalization, demographic pressures and emerging user expectations. With this shift of paradigm, the common framework of thoughts, ideas, and acquired knowledge that allow students to look beyond the defined local and national boundaries, has also undergone a change, or should I say, “It has been adjusted to suit the client demands.” Global economy has become the driving force behind this newly formed identity of education and public education is today largely controlled by corporate, multinational, transnational and non-governmental organizations. In fact, a new benchmark has been set to popularize the market value of the institutions: certifications for specific skills by profit organizations, funding and job placement offer by numerous businesses, reward with scholarships and assistance etc. As a result, student-success is now measured in a way that it confirms their abilities as defined, governed,
supported and developed by these new avatars which eventually attest educational merits as their requisites. With this, one cannot ignore the fact that education is shifting from a ‘public good’ to a ‘private good.’ As for teachers, they are also becoming instruments of this metamorphosis. Explorations, thoughts, and investigations are replaced by the expectations that teachers become managers. Curriculums are designed so to feed the current needs of skill acquisition and not to focus on the overall development of cultural, democratic and analytical aspects of education. In essence, teachers’ freedom to instruct freely has become limited to syllabus-based pedagogy. This recurring emphasis on success and failure has, in turn, created a greater social stratification and more discrimination in society. The idea of educational freedom is fallen apart under the globalised and competitive juggernaut invading the school system. This emergence of corporate branding has created a state of alienation where students have evolved from being a mere participant of education to consumers of a privatized industry. However, to pass any judgment with an apparent wish to pantomime progressivism is rather unsettling in the face of challenges that so many of our generations would have faced today had this educational movement not been adopted. This new educational ideals reinforce the shaping of mind which is immune to any global meltdown and in fact, it has built a dynamic task force of realistic, responsible and resistant leaders where the intellectual pleasures have made room for administrative rigours. In anticipation I end saying, this educational reform, as long as it invites good, is an imperative. After all, there is no substitute for sustained innovation. Supratim Basu
(This discourse is influenced by my readings of The Fifth Discipline and Schools That Learn, two seminal books written by Peter Senge for educators, parents, and everyone who cares about education) 1
Weekly Newsletter of The Assam Valley School
MELLIFLUOUS MOMENTS Photograph by: Rishabh Goenka
~A Presentation of Assamese Folk Songs
he morning of the 2nd of October, had the Aviators in a spell of Assamese folk songs which ranged from devotional to folk, traditional to modern and typical to exemplary. The audience was thoroughly entertained with a veritable compilation of various melodic variations. The rhythm of the dhol, well orchestrated with the vocals, truly set the ambience of idyllic flavour of festivity inside the auditorium. The presentation was dedicated to Mahapurush Srimanta Shankerdev, the religious and cultural guru of Assam. The show began with Borgeet, based on ragas and traditionally known as ‘songs celestial’. This was followed by Zikir and Deh Bisar Geet. These spiritual and
TWO COMMON QUESTIONS
hy are most artists labeled as ‘cranks’ or as less than other ‘normal’ human beings? Why do artists, thus classified, distance themselves from an ill-informed and biased society? The answers are pretty simple. An artist is an excessively emotional individual whose artwork is directly proportional to this excess. Without this ‘surplus’ of emotions an artist ceases to exist. What forms the basis of inspiration differs from person to person but the net result is a work of art in the eyes of the artist. An artist is blessed with that keen level of vision and observation which helps to process and re2
mystic renderings are integral part of Assamese devotional music. The presentation of the lokageet comprising traditional folk songs was a true delight that captured distinct styles and forms of music from various regions around Assam. It did not fail to reflect the cultural diversity of Assam. The event had also presented the melodic numbers of Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. Perhaps the greatest value of this presentation lay in the fact that a heterogeneous mix of pupils sang in one voice and in the language of the state in which they reside. The programme was thus able to establish the communal confluence that runs deep in the heart of our School. Sneha Khaund, XII
interpret the real world around him. An artist’s compulsion to give vent to his feelings to create a painting or sculpture is a constant search to reinvent and express his innermost thoughts. This search takes the artist on a journey of creativity through many ideas, mediums and this constant striving can be summed up in Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s words ‘…Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection….’Contrary to the lowly image held by a vast majority, many artists are well educated with very strong ideas and well-informed opinions. They can be mathematicians and architects too. Leonardo Da Vinci has been elevated to the level of a genius simply because AVE Tuesday, 18 October, 2011.
Sketch by: Mrs. Trina Chatterji / Photograph by: Daksha Salam, X
his voyage of self discovery did not start or end with art…it went much farther than what we know. The study of the human body and the many inventions he has been credited with have found applications in our everyday lives for centuries after his death. An artist simply views the world through ‘eyes’ that seek for the extraordinary in the ordinary. The eccentricity of an artist is actually the very hallmark of his interaction with that which inspires him to create. It has been the practice of society to treat artists with condescension and derision on the one hand and respect and admiration for the unique skills they exhibit, on the other. If the subjects of Art and Art Appreciation were given the importance needed then there would be more understanding and less of a divide in society because people would be more tolerant and accepting of the idiosyncrasies of an artist as a person and also of the works produced by him. How easy it is to term all cognizable Art as Art that the world understands and label everything
n the 24th of September, the Staff of the Academic Office organized a book exhibition at the Art Hall. The text books, note books, work books and question banks of all the subjects, right from Kindergarten to Class XII, were 3
else as abstract without really knowing what the word means? People very knowledgeably also state that a work of art is ‘modern’ without even having a clue how the term was coined in the first place. Art is therefore sometimes termed as ‘elitist’ because people are unwilling to educate themselves or be educated on the subject. Only a select number of individuals will find the time to view exhibitions or be interested in buying works of art just because they like them. Similarly even a lesser number of people even try their hand at anything linked to the visual arts. It is this that makes the artist feel as if he lives on the fringe of society and that no one really understands him. The elements of ‘artistic taste’ and design form an integral part of our daily lives whether we are really aware of it or not in how we live, arrange our homes, how we dress, how we present food on the table and in other numerous ways. So one wonders…where did these preferences come from? Trina Chatterji
displayed for all the subject teachers and the Chairs of various departments to examine. Discussions were held amongst the teachers to select the most student-friendly books for the next academic year for each of their departments. Rohan Tandon, XI AVE Tuesday, 18 October, 2011.
From Dilip, With Love 05:15 Hours Sunday, 18th September, 2011.
To the Kids of AVS
Hiya Kids, I love you. I love you from my soul. Thank you for teaching me what life is about. I shall never forget you. Please NEVER give up. NEVER! You are more special than special could ever be! Please give love to your teachers, and to one another. Help your teachers as you have been helping me. They are sacred custodians of your march into the future, and your ascent into the astral heights of superstardom. Never fail to love your parents, NOT just because they are your parents but because God selected them to gift YOU to them. I love you, because you are naughty, wicked (but not as much as I), playful, wondrous, and wonderful. I am an ordinary guy who is extraordinarily fortunate- for having met you. Your spirits are illuminated gems of genius casting light upon our wounded planet, on the endarkened consciousness that threatens your future. NEVER give up in your quest for the best! NEVER! I trust you – implicitly – to unfold and unleash the treasures within your soul. You shall make history! Please look after your Headmaster. He is an angel sent by God to nurture, and inspire you – and to play havoc with me. Give him your love daily! And know that Mrs. Singh loves you though she might sometimes camouflage it… but that is because she is not insane like me. Take good care of her! Stay naughty, and vibrant, yet be good. I love you! Dilip (The ORIGINAL Bad Man of the Cosmos)
Oodles Of Doodles Lengthening shadows, twilight frescoes. Dappled rooms, assessment looms. Shortening hours, retention powers. Many resolutions, wandering imaginations. Memory overdrives, conscience chides. Ardent regurgitations, sun-kissed distractions. Beckoning fields, ‘be-at-unit’ deals, Question paper blues, autumnal hues. Sharpening graphite, end-of-paper delight, Analytical skills, a song bird thrills. Fall slips surreptitiously ‘midst us all, While Mid-Terms urge retention and recall. Pratima Chettri Chief Student Editor: Ambiso Tawsik. Deputy Editors: Vedant Jain, Sneha Khaund, Sukrita Baruah, Yashodhara Sharma. Associate Editors: Radhika Moral, Yashash Agarwal, Rohan Tandon, Devraj Barooah, Suhavi Arya. Chief Staff Editor: Supratim Basu. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: 09678074320. Publisher: AVS Communication Center, The Assam Valley School, P.O. Balipara, Dist. Sonitpur, Asom-784101, India. Printed at: Swastika Printers, Rangapara, Asom. Website: www.assamvalleyschool.com.
AVE Tuesday, 18 October, 2011.