Most people curious about homeschooling often ask about post-school options. They seem to suggest that it can be considered ok to not send a child to school but then what after the schooling years? The funny part is that the same query holds true even for those who have gone to school. After school – What?
There are no readymade answers. But if one wishes to seek answers in a framework that does not assume or predict your dreams then there is a real faltu university which you may find interesting and inspiring. It is called the Swaraj University.
Swaraj University is not a typical university with huge buidlings, large gates, complicated logos, plethpora of degree options and senior professors. On the contrary, it is located in a farm and the alumni is never awarded a degree. And to strike the balance, the university also does not ask for any certificate or mark sheet to join in. All that one needs is the desire to explore and pursue a dream.
No degree is awarded for this two year programme because this is not a degree programme. It is a learning programme that focuses on self-designed learning. This self-directed learning process invites learners to identify their hearts’ visions and engages them in developing the skills, relationships and practices they need to manifest those visions. Be it green entrepreneurship or business basics or ecological sustainability or social justice… it is for the khoji (yes, this is what a ‘student’ is called at the university – खोजी – the explorer) to decide what he or she wants to explore and learn.
The university openly proclaims its pride in being totally unrecognized and un-deemed. They state that ‘we believe in creating portfolios based on one’s own experiences rather than degrees and certificates as a proof of one’s education.’ The university is also a part of the campaign, Healing Ourselves from the Diploma Disease, a national campaign to say NO to degrees and certificate and promote better evaluation frameworks that are based on experiences and portfolios.
Swaraj University was formed in 2010 with Nitin Paranjape, Reva Dandage, Manish Jain and Deborah Frieze as co-founders. The main office and physical campus are in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. The campus is based in Tapovan Ashram, a holistic, organic centre located in a beautiful and isolated valley 30 kilometres away from the city of Udaipur.
In the following YouTube link you can hear of one of the co-founders talk about the adventures of learning in a real faltu University.
If this idea excites you and you want to explore further, please visit http://www.swarajuniversity.org for more details.