A varied learning process

To address the gaps in the Indian education space, ‘Mentor Conclave 2012’ was held at J N Tata Auditorium, Indian Institute of Science recently. The idea was to create a platform for educators, innovators and researchers to come together and revolutionise the
learning process. The three-day programme explored arenas such as re-imagining education, leadership in schools, empowering teachers and technology in schools among others.

Subhash Ghai‘Nurturing Creative Minds’, a forum, saw the likes of film-maker Subhash Ghai; singer and actress Vasundhara Das; dancer Lourd Vijay and Soumyajit Ghoshal, former dean, National Institute of Design, participating.

Subhash Ghai gave an inspiring talk on following one’s own goals, sharing stories about his younger days, when his father wanted him to be a chartered accountant.

“I was forced to be a student of the wrong subjects. The aim of parents was to get children employed and not to be independent and taking up art meant bekaar ka kaam karna. But I’m glad that my father finally let me pursue my dreams of getting into the movies and go from being an ordinary Subhash from a middle-class family to what I am today,” shares the legendary film-maker.

“We need a huge change in the system. We need to give students the facilities to develop their skills and go beyond ‘Google Uncle’,” he added. 

 Vasundhara Das gave a sweet, reflective speech on the power of dreams. She took the audience back to her school days when she aspired to be a singer, through her college days of academics and music being pursued side-by-side, and finally, where she is today.

“Dreams are catalysts of passion. We need to ignite curiosity, inspire, help students find self-confidence and give them a well-rounded education, which isn’t necessarily found in a book,” says the young musician. This was followed by a slightly technical talk by Soumyajit Ghoshal on demystifying perceptions about design and a debate on whether creativity is inborn or can be nurtured.

 After this was a short, interactive session by Lourd Vijay, founder and artistic
director of Lourd Vijay Dance Studio, who spoke about the benefits of dancing and how it can be incorporated into education.

The audience seemed quite engrossed in the whole discussion, though it was a
little too rushed for some. “What such conclaves do is provide awareness to the
attendees and help open up their mind. Unfortunately, no policy comes out of it and it’s only about sharing biographical stories. It could have been more interactive had there been more time,” shares Salony Priya, director, Umeed Positive Living, Kolkata.

“Till society accepts children pursuing alternate career possibilities, the parental fear to let them explore their options will not go away,” she concludes.

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