It was heartening to see one of the Hindustan Times captions say ‘Teachers brought students to specially witness ‘a social movement’. Students from Bluebells school in Delhi were reported to have been present at the protest and I am sure there were other schools too.
Not only is it important for students to be a part of a social movement for a particular cause but it actually makes a lot of sense pedagogically as well. Speaking from an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) point of view, school student participation essentially enhances the citizenship education perspective in the light of social sustainability.
Moreover, India being a developing nation, it is important for schools students to get exposure to democratic protests within the country under the umbrella of development.
The experience of the school children at Jantar Mantar cannot be evaluated with objective indicators but I am sure that the experience will have a deep impact on them and who knows…one of them may be leading some important social movements in the country and the world.
Peaceful protests are actually a good ground for learning to take place. One of the projects done by Millennium School in Noida took a bunch of students to Jantar Mantar in Delhi, where they witnessed protests by various political and civil society groups. Students interviewed protesters and found out their motives and questioned if protests actually benefit a cause.
All this happened as part of the Independence Day Project in the school as Indian Independence is a lot about protests. (read my other blog entry on the entire project). The students later juxtaposed present day protests with those in pre-independence times…and explored the journey from ‘marches with mashaals’ to candle light vigils - Mashaalon se candle light march tak ka safar.
Not to let down the cause for which Anna Hazaare is protesting - corruption is a serious issue and may be its time for school students to skip the civics class and make a visit to Jantar Mantar. There is more civics to be learnt at Jantar Mantar.