Update July 2008
Hello Everybody...We've just started into a new year at Future School . We're very excited this academic year to welcome 8 new students from Transition and 3 students from abroad; and our returning students appear to be happy to be back after their summer holiday. We wanted to let you know that we now have 53 students enrolled, representing 18 nationalities. Also, last 30th April we had 6 graduating students, 3 of whom have been accepted into universities. We look forward to a year of learning, progress and of course, a little bit of fun.
Love, The Future School Team
Inspired by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, the overall vision of Future School is to develop educational environments for adolescents in which Aurovilian students reach their own unique potential through a balanced development of body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Underlying this integral approach is the development of faculties that will allow our students to pursue the unfolding of their inner truth in harmony with the material world.
Interwoven with this endeavor toward individual development is a collective aspiration toward human unity. Toward this, we aim for our students to appreciate and respect the truth behind our diverse cultural, ethnic, and individual heritage.
Our deepest aspiration is to prepare our children and ourselves to live in a higher consciousness to manifest a truer and higher life on earth.
Future School evolved from an earlier project called The Centre for Further Learning (CFL), created by two of Auroville's youth, Chali and Luc. They had been raised in Auroville and later had very different experiences with their higher secondary education: Luc stayed in Auroville and sat for his 10th Standard through the Indian Open School, followed by completing his A-levels through independent study; while Chali received her high school and university diplomas in the U.S.
At the time of the conception of the idea of CFL, there were at least 25 teen-agers studying in schools outside of AV. Luc and Chali believed that Auroville could not continue the search for a new Auroville-based curriculum or approach to education, without the presence and input of the age group who would be most affected. In addition, they realised that the present generation of children growing up in Auroville either came here with parents or were born here, and did not necessarily make a conscious choice of living in Auroville. Due to the reality of the world outside of Auroville, all the youth of Auroville should have the possibility and choice to equip themselves within Auroville, with the keys they will need to open doors anywhere in the world.
Most of the teachers and students at Future School are Aurovilians. As Auroville is an international community the school maintains an international character, bringing together students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in an atmosphere of protected freedom and harmony. This is a basic step in the promotion of international understanding, peace and human unity. In addition to this, as most of the teachers are Aurovilians, and some having spent the better part of their childhood in AV, they are truly dedicated to the ideals of AV and the Charter of AV. This influences the way they approach their work and sets the framework for the relationships amongst the students and the teachers. We hope that this environment, and the educational program itself, will help the students further understand themselves and their "reason for being".
Future School is currently offering a high school equivalent education to primarily Aurovilian students. The program is built around the core subject areas listed below and students are generally expected to stay in the program for 4-5 years. Spreading the core studies throughout that period allows ample time each year for students to include elective subjects.
All students study Maths, English (language, writing and literature), at least two science subjects in depth (e.g. Biology, Physics, Chemistry), Social Sciences (e.g. History, Geography, Economics), a second language (9 currently offered) and Current Affairs. In addition, each student has chosen at least one of the many elective subjects that are offered according to his/her interests. All students are expected to take part in regular physical activities and to choose a creative activity. Students also participate in weekly seminars in which various guest speakers give an introduction to their topic of interest/experience. We consider Auroville itself to be a diverse and effective learning environment and therefore we try to encourage a high level of interaction between the school and the community at large.
The school incorporates many different teaching/learning methods and environments: projects, tutorials, students as teachers, independent research; small groups, large groups, one-on-one approach and self-study. In this way we hope to meet the needs of each individual, and we feel that the combination of required areas of study with choice of particular subjects gives the students the chance to get in touch with new areas of knowledge and at the same time to explore their interests.
Evaluation and Assessment
The students are actively involved in assessment and evaluation as well, of both their own progress and the effectiveness of the teachers and the school as a whole. As the Auroville schools do not give conventional grades or report cards, methods used for evaluation of students at Future School include:
- Written progress reports at the end of each term (3 per year)
- Mentor program (teachers volunteer then students choose)
- Student-teacher conferences (as often as needed)
- Parent-teacher conferences (normally twice a year)
- End-of-year individual conferences (student / parents / mentor / coordinator)
- Internal tests and assignments
- External Examinations
- Project work with presentations, either internal or public
The school now has 50 full-time students between the ages of 14 and 20, representing 12 nationalities. The student body grows by 20-30% every year and we expect this rate of growth to continue for some years to come.
The working team consists of 10 full-time and approximately 20 part-time staff. The importance of working as a team is felt strongly by all, so decisions are taken in the weekly teachers' meetings that are attended by the full-time staff plus some of the part-time teachers. School issues are also discussed regularly in the weekly school assemblies.
In January 2003 the program moved into the 1st Phase of a permanent high school campus in the Cultural Zone, and assumed its current name of 'Future School'. The first phase created three science laboratories, a computer lab, the temporary library, a small auditorium, office space, a small kitchen, and 3 classrooms. In 2004 a small staff apartment was completed, and in February of this year a new block of 6 classrooms was inaugurated.
In order to continue to meet the educational needs of Auroville's teen-agers we must expand the facilities of the campus. The immediate priority in this direction is to build the permanent library. This is becoming urgent as the room currently being used to house our 7000-plus collection of books, was only intended as a temporary library and will soon be inadequate. The total amount of funds that will be needed to build and furnish the first phase of the permanent library complex is estimated to be 36 lakhs rupees (approx. Euro 56,000). We expect to have seed money of 1 to 2 lakhs by the end of this school year and we are now asking other friends to help in any way possible.