Everything you need to know about alternative education

Everything you need to know about alternative education Cover Image

Are you concerned that regular schooling is limiting your child’s potential? Are you considering alternative education? This article answers all your main questions about alt-ed!

Alternative Education (Alt-Ed) or Unconventional Education is a method of education adopted by a lot of parents & children who are not satisfied with the conventional education system. Here is everything you need to know about alternative education.

Why Alt-Ed?

This not a “New Thing”, unconventional education has been in practice from ages, but it has found great acceptance & subscribers only recently. People move away from conventional schooling for various valid reasons. Just to list a few:

  • Commercialisation of education: Schools have become more focused on quantity intake than quality output.
  • Rigidity: Conventional schooling does not provide flexibility for kids in terms of pursuing their interests and following their passion.
  • Information vs Knowledge: Our schooling systems still follow the philosophy of stuffing children with loads of information. There is not much focus on the knowledge of how to use the information. Syllabus and Curriculum is long due for a refresh to make it relevant to current date.
  • Constant Validation: All kids irrespective of their unique capabilities are measured with the same yard stick. It all boils down to passing an exam. Schools test kids for what they don’t know as opposed to what they know.
  • Stress: Children are under constant stress of preparing for tests, exams, entrance tests, competitive exams.
  • No Scope for Arts, Creativity & Sports: Vast majority of the schools today don’t really realise the importance of creativity.
  • Lack of Life & Social Skills: Life Skills and Social Skills in the younger generation is something hard to find.

What do Alt-Ed kids learn? Do they have a curriculum to follow?

They learn everything good a conventionally schooled kid learns and more. But the difference is that they learn it at a place, time, method and phase that is more conducive for learning. They learn Arts, Languages, Music, History Science, Mathematics, Geography, History, Psychology, and their applicability by experience and experiments. Some home-schooled parents follow curriculum that aligns to NIOS or IGCSE.

Won’t they miss out on all the fun if they don’t go to schools?

There are a few experiences that they miss on. Like getting ready and rushing to the school, making sure shoes are polished and books are packed. In other words, they have plenty of fun!

But won’t they miss out on the socialising part?

Not at all. In fact the Alt-Ed kids meet often where they spend good quality time with their friends. They learn and grow strong together as a community with no unreasonable restrictions.

Is Alt-Ed Legal in India?

As per the recent circular from P.K Tiwari Director of the Ministry of Human Resource Development & Dept of School education & Literacy. D.O. No. 9-21/2010-EE. XI; It is stated that Parents have a choice to withdraw their children from school if they are not satisfied with the curriculum & syllabus.

Can the kids who follow Alt-Ed be accepted in conventional institutes for higher education?

A lot of universities accept kids with potential and interest to learn further both in India and abroad. Looks like this is going to become a norm going forward as there are plenty of parents choosing to take this path.

One piece of advice to the parents is that, they should regularly assess their child’s aspirations and interests. Then they need to take the necessary course corrections at the right time if the kid wishes to get back into mainstream rather than forcing their opinion.

Likewise, there is no right age or phase when you can switch from Mainstream to Alt-Ed. There are a lot of instances where kids have gone all the way to high school in conventional schooling and then decided to switch. Learning should be a choice with proper guidance, should never be forced.

Would AltEd children be considered for Jobs?

What does a job require? The right skills to pull off the task, if someone has the right skills for the right job there shouldn’t be an issue.

Also, what jobs are we talking about? Would the jobs we see today exist in the next 10 years? Do we know the kind of new profiles and professions that the future demands? Are we preparing our kinds for the future?

Do you want to know more and meet real people who have taken this path? There are people pursuing higher education being from Alt-Ed background, landed jobs and become successful professionals. You must check out OmnioParenting a group of people who believe in Parent Empowerment and Consciousness Education.

About Guest Author

Bharadwaj Rao is a manager at an IT company and a father of a 5 year old boy. After home-schooling him for a number of years, he has now enrolled him at an alternate learning centre in Bangalore.

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