Centre for Further Learning
- update August 2002
The Centre for Further Learning (CFL) was created to offer Auroville teenagers the possibility of acquiring an internationally recognised certificate for secondary education, within Auroville.
Initiative for this venture was taken 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. Since diploma-oriented education is not directly compatible with the Mother's and Sri Aurobindo's ideals for education, there was no opportunity in Auroville earlier for youth to attain the recognition they felt they needed, and hence the current necessity for CFL.
Student body and curriculum
The official opening was in January 1996, and the school now has 30 full-time students between the ages of 14 and 23, representing 10 nationalities.
All students study maths, English (language, writing and literature), at least two science subjects in depth (e.g. biology, physics, chemistry), social science (history, geography, economics), a second language (French, Hindi, Tamil, etc) 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 guest speakers give an introduction to their topic of interest/experience. CFL is in the process of getting approval from Edexcel, London, (home base of the GCSE/A-level programme offered) to teach the GCSE computing course.
Partially due to the rapid growth of the school in the past 2 years, our facilities are limited. However, we have a library with over 3000 books, approximately 40 educational computer CDs, including the entire National Geographic collection, and sets of audiocassettes for learning 5 different languages. There is also in-house Internet access for all the students and staff.
The staff consists of 2 full-time coordinators, 1 full-time assistant/librarian, 5 full-time teachers and 18 part-time teachers. 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.
Auroville is in the process of building a new High School, a place with much needed facilities, such as science labs, computer labs and an expanded library. We all look forward to moving to the new campus in 2003. In the meantime, we are located in one of the original buildings of the Last School campus in Aspiration, near Shakti.
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