Over the years, our students have come to LEC with varying levels of and needs for education. Our classes have offered a wide range of experiences for each individual to explore. Our day-to-day programming can include regular series of classes as well as short-term thematic programs. We approach learning as a fluid concept. For us the truest education one can receive is deeply connected with our own passions and experiences. We provide several forms of educational programs to our students in order to widen their perception of the world and feed their hunger for knowledge.
Classes have included conversational English, goal setting and women’s legal rights in India. We have explored the world through geography and soil courses. Vocational and professional courses involve tailoring, embroidery, computer skills and mechanics. Educational wellness programs have focused on teaching students how to best raise and care for children, avoid and address alcoholism and understand the function of the body.
We keep our students engaged in our courses by allowing them to explore different subjects through equally different means. We explored soils from around the world through the senses, felt the earth with our hands while exploring native medicinal plants, created our own maps of the world and connected new understanding of serious issues, like alcoholism, with our own experiences.
We also conduct outreach in the local Auroville area and offer college and career counseling to high school students (boys and girls) with our YEN KALVI (My Education) program. In several cases, women have come to LEC after pursuing a college degree or profession they didn’t understand or enjoy. We have also seen through our own research, funded by the Sri Aurobindo Interntional Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER), how the changing landscape of the Indian economy impacts young people entering the workforce. Today, we respond by engaging with high school students to help prepare them for the best future possible. Our outreach occurs both in schools and at our campus, inviting high interest and attendance from the community.
Responding to the Root
It is well known that women in India are less educated than men. Beginning in childhood, many women receive the same message — that boys should go to school and girls should stay home. Girls from poor families are especially hurt by this perspective. Yet while a girl may be kept home from school to instead work or run the home, the long-term effects of missing school are much more costly. Keeping girls out of school extends the cycle of poverty, narrowing the opportunities for future generations inch by inch, encouraging an unjust dynamic between men and women. Furthermore, we have seen firsthand the emotional impacts women struggle with as a result of being kept home all day.
Our general approach to education — offering basic curriculum to supplement any prior schooling or take the place of it — is a response to the fact many women simply need the basics. Other classes like child-rearing and technical training address the needs of specific groups, like mothers and working women. Finally, some women are just content with learning anything and everything. Their curiosity is what brought them to LEC, often saying they just didn’t know anything about the world. With a wide range of classes, we engage with this desire for knowledge and encourage it to continue growing.