When Ramji Raghavan called us this last wednesday to invite us over to the “Friends of Agastya” meeting, we jumped at it, cleared other things from our calendar, to be at the meeting and it was 4 hours well spent. Ramji through Agastya has done a phenomenal job of transforming education in rural India. Yes, the transformation has already taken place in several districts and I do believe that over the course of the next 10 years, this will be the only model that will bring a completely new way of learning in rural India and the kids who have been exposed to this kind of education would be the beacon of light in transforming India. And we did get to talk to some of the bright ones from the hinterland of rural India.
Change is usually a long haul process, but what we are seeing with Agastya is an accelerated vehicle of change, already in motion, pushing and challenging the traditional models of education of rote…one that will eventually be the catalyst for change in India by focussing on two C’s – creativity and curiosity.
We were also lucky to sit and hear some of the brightest scientists and intellectuals present their thoughts on Education and Agastya, folks like Raghunathan from National Knowledge Commission , Dr. Iyengar former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Selvakumar from SarvaShiksha Abhyan , Dr. V.K, Atre, former Scientific Advisor, Naveen Jha from Deshpande Foundation , Harish bhatt who presented a wonderful presentation with photographs on the ecology at Agastya’ campus at Kuppam, and of course the passionate talk by Ramji Raghavan on Agastya and its future and talks from the brilliant staff and associates from Agastya.
We came back humbled and inspired yet again by the power of one – one person with an idea and conviction is all it takes to change the world!!
I do believe that Agastya will do for Rural Education in India, what Amul has done with the Milk Cooperatives.
PS: Today’s Times of India does have a story on the meet