“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.”- Herbert Spencer

I choose this thought to begin the year with because it is important to remind ourselves of the aim of educating our children, an aim that strives for much more than the material benefit or the social position it will generate for them personally.

The action spoken of above is social action. Our young minds, upon being educated, must be ready to make a difference in the world. They must be ready to change society, for the better, through intelligent and responsible action.

And even before this, they must learn to live responsibly, respecting other people and cooperating with them, and, in general, with all the living organisms on the planet. They must learn to with and respect other people and their cultures and value systems; become capable of encountering others and resolving conflicts through dialogue; and attempt to achieve competency in working towards common objectives.

This is only possible if our young minds are engaged not only intellectually, but also socially. To achieve this we have to develop students who are not only empowered to take their own place in an ever-changing world but are also ready to enquire into and reflect on social and global issues independently as well as collaboratively.

The only way to teach them this is by exposing them to the real world: the world beyond classrooms, books and school; the world where our students learn by doing and not just by listening and seeing.

During this process they will develop the qualities which will help them acquire the ability to work in a team, along with the strategic use of knowledge to resolve problems and make rational decisions. They will also learn to take risks as well as initiative. And thus use well meaning and well thought-out action to change society.

It is then that our education will have produced social citizens who understand their responsibility not just towards themselves, not only to the whole of mankind but towards all living beings.

Young Minds who are ready to move into the world with a goal to make this world a peaceful and a much better place to live in.

Vandana Arora