An Ode to Sincere Education

John Koshy, freshly graduated from Rishi Valley, talks of what education in RV meant to him, and what sets it apart from the rest.

The function of education is not to help the young conform to this rotten society, but to be free of its influences so that they may create a new society, a different world.   

Jiddu Krishnamurthi [Chennai, 1956]

In my first year in Rishi Valley, a visiting couple posed this question to my class: ‘Is there really something unique and special about your school or is it just a cake that looks really attractive on the outside but tastes like any other cake on the inside?’

It’s been five years since and honestly, I never did manage to come up with a satisfying response to that question or to any of a similar kind (in my passionate defense, before I’m written off as being incapable of generating a normal rational thought process, I spent most of my time in school like most other kids doing things, apart from wondering what made it so special). Retrospectively however, having graduated from school a mere four weeks back and now moving on to higher academia, the question has gained a certain relevance and importance as it essentially helps in establishing benchmarks by which one can view and judge future institutions.

Rishi Valley is not a supernatural institution. The misconception must be cleared at the very onset itself. Like any other institution in our country it too faces a common set of inhibitions and challenges at every level. Chronic problems like the strain of having to rush to complete the prescribed syllabus, pre-examination tensions (and in some cases, post-examination tensions as well),  student behavioral issues, financial issues and so on and so forth are very much part of the school’s daily running. In a sense that is the very beauty of it all. The fact that it is so like and yet in a lot of special ways very unlike.

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