WHAT WAS initially planned as a small meet-up of a few parents interested in exploring ideas on homeschooling has now turned into full-fledged event, thanks to a more than anticipated response.
Over 30 parents, educators and students are expected to come together on Sunday for a 'homeschoolers' meet', to be held at St Joseph Primary Convent School auditorium in Bandra.
One of the hosts of the event, freelance writer and filmmaker Sourav Dutta, the father of 2-year-old Vihaan, said: "Formal education is not enough. It is hectic as children are made to do rounds of classes. Some countries discourage formal schooling until 5 to 6 years of age as it disrupts innovation in a child."
Several groups for alternative education exist all over India, but there are doubts in the minds of many, said Dutta. "This is how the idea of a public discussion on homeschooling took shape… Word about our meet spread, and slowly interest started generating among people. While some wanted to share their experience of homeschooling, some college students said they wanted to understand the concept," he added.
Project Nomad is a documentary that Dutta is making to document homeschooling initiatives and compile data for parents. A 'Teach for India' fellow based in Pune, Harshad Tathed, is helping him produce the documentary.
Tathed said he too preferred homeschooling for his child. "According to the international education standards, the student-teacher ratio should be 1:18. In Indian private schools, the ratio is 1:40. In government schools, the ratio is beyond 1:50…"
Tathed runs an institute in Pune for children who have failed or do not like going to school. He is tutoring around 25 children, who will appear privately for SSC exams in March. Shortfall of teachers and the quality of teaching are some other reasons why Tathed favoured homeschooling.
The current system does not prepare the child for real life, said a parent and organiser of the meet, Ruby Bhatia. "A child needs a childhood, nature, gardens, beaches, family time, hours to play and learning activities among other things…"