The intention of writing the diary posts of the last two days was to bring more awareness about the true picture of the school system here for people in the west. At the same time I want to make Indian parents aware again what is going on – if they had not known it yet. They need to be awake and take care that their child is not mistreated. And if it is, to take clear action against the teacher and the school!
Violence in schools was actually the main reason for us to start our own school in 2007. We had been sponsoring children in other schools before but there we could not control the management and the teaching methods of their teachers. We knew that children there were physically punished. That is what we wanted to stop. By sponsoring children we wanted to give them not only education but fun in learning, interest in what is happening in their country and world. The last thing what we wanted was to make them afraid, to make them hate school and dislike learning which I believe is what happens when children get beaten and when violence is used as a teaching method.
We have 55 schools here in the town of Vrindavan and we tried to find out how many schools assure the parents that their children will not be beaten. The answer was none except for ours. We are the only school in Vrindavan who clearly states that their children will not be beaten, slapped, hit or in any other way physically punished.
I would love it if the principals of other schools also came to this decision and made a statement that their children, too, would not be mistreated anymore. Our children have to grow and learn in an environment of love, not of violence.
The first thing that a new teacher of our school hears is that they are not allowed, in any condition, to hit a child. We strictly forbid any kind of violence. In a training session with the teachers I made them understand by saying ‘Even if a child sets fire in the school, you will not hit him or her!’ We know the habits here but in this way teachers quickly get to know that if they at any time mistreat a child, they will immediately be fired.