Shikshantar – The People’s Institute for Re-thinking Education and Development
This is the website of Shikshantar, a de-schooling and de-colonial movement, based in Udaipur, Rajasthan, Indian. Shikshantar, a Jeevan Andolan (life movement) was founded to challenge the culture of schooling and institutions of thought-control. Members of the movement argue that today’s “factory schooling and literacy programs are suppressing many diverse forms of human learning, intelligence and expression, as well as much needed organic processes towards just and harmonious social regeneration.”
The website contains many resources that problematize universal imposition of Western-based education to non-Western countries and communities, including initiatives such as Education For All by UNESCO. Apart from many original texts that can be found under the rubric “publications” the website also contains many insightful resources from other authors and networks than can be found in the section “library”. The following texts from founder Manish Jain may be considered as accessible entry points to the website and the general framework of the unschooling movement: “The Parrot’s Training”, “Declaration of Decolonizing Education”, “McEducation for All: Whose Agenda does Global Education Really Serve?”
The work of Shikshantar Institute can provide useful examples of critiques of Western-based education that have resulted in concrete projects and activities organised by the institute, such as the Walkouts network, Udaipur as a learning city and the Swaraj University. Members of the Institute have established links across various sectors of society, working both locally and trans- nationally with similar organisations/institutions around the world (such as members of the Ecoversities Network). For those seeking alternatives to mainstream approaches to education and development that are based on local knowledges and life-long learning processes that help build community resilience and long-term sustainability/viability, Shikshantar’s website is full of useful references both in written format, but also through video documentation.