The seeds were sown during long commutes from work to home. The heavy traffic of Delhi gave me a lot of time to observe and reflect on things happening around me.
At my workplace, I noticed many people struggle with basic tasks required of them. Skills such as planning and time management were missing from their armour. These were people who went to some of the best schools and colleges in our country and outside. On the road, I would see a lot of people not following traffic rules, I would see families arguing amongst themselves, I would see rubbish being thrown out of moving cars, I would see people using roads as their spitting bowls, I would see ambulances and fire brigade being blocked and not given way and a complete lack of apathy and sensitive towards their sense of responsibility for their community. It was not just the workplace or on the roads, similar observations were made everywhere I went.
I believe school is the center of learning, where we have an opportunity to build skills and mindset that make thes habits. It is the space where children learn to be responsible, ask more questions about their surroundings, work in teams and learn to think for a larger collective(classroom/school). If at school we’re able to instill a culture of ownership and belonging, then all kinds of delinquent behaviour can be nipped in the bud.
I believe that education is not the knowledge or skill we learn in school, but it is a way of life. The school should be a reflection of the world we aspire to build and live in. Education teaches you to be open to learning, discovering your ability to grow with more skills, to give and share knowledge, to contribute in a meaningful way to the community you live in.
Because of so many children out of school, we have crime. Everyone has to survive, and when a person does not have the tools to survive they have to turn to other unlawful means. Increasing crime, intolerance, lack of social etiquette and respect for each other are the new normal behaviour that doesn’t alarm us anymore. Goodness and decency have become an aberration and a rare quality to possess. All this is reflective of the society we’re living in.
I wanted to create a space where children could come and acquire skills and mindsets needed to transform the outside world. A world they will own and shape, for better or worse. I wanted the lines to blur between what they learn inside and what they practise outside in the real word. And with this thought, Simple Education Foundation came to life.