At the beginning I want to announce some very good news: we received the extension of the school recognition for three more years on 15th October! Chandra Mohan, our coordinator, reached this good success at the DEO (District Education Officer) in Anantapur. The next time when we apply for an extension we have to expect ten years – because at that time we will have shifted to the new ground and will have much better conditions than now in the old building. The recognition caused a lot of paper work and took some time to be managed – because of this everybody at the school is very happy to have received the extension finally! The recognition was introduced by the State government some years ago only; many schools struggled to achieve the new standards which became compulsory for all the schools. But nevertheless this is meaningful because the uplifting of the Indian education system is possible only by improving the standard…
Discussion with the teachers about the working contracts
In the school one major issue is the quality improvement of the teachings. The new working contracts – signed by the teachers on 1st October – are a big progress in our pedagogical work: they include - beside mission and vision of the Shanti Ananda Nature Concept School - clear quality standards for the pedagogical work like child centred teachings, usage of different teaching methods and activity based learning.
Linda – who donated many books to the school – in the teacher training
Linda (an English teacher with big teaching experience at International schools in USA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey), the headmaster team (Raja Sekhar and Sabitha) and I had elaborated these standards. The teacher training in the Dussera holidays included each teacher presenting one or two teaching units. The other teachers acted as students having a lot of joy and fun like this; this new role brought some new experiences and widening of consciousness... The feedback was given by the “students” and by the colleagues. Every teacher shared his feelings with the others; Linda gave very helpful and clearing comments about the performance at last.
Headmaster Raja Sekhar and teacher Venkata Narayana in the teacher training
The teachers’ feedback of their different roles as students and as teachers was very useful because of producing a perception integrating different points of view. Some performances were better than expected by us; our main issue were the teachers’ abilities to plan a period systematically and to show the performance according to this plan. Raja Sekhar showed an excellent very inspiring kinder garden teaching unit which was a marvellous example in every regard. We want to put it onto our new school website planned for the next year – as a good example for child centred and activity based learning with head, heart and hands basing on Human Values and with many sense experiences, meditation and a fantasy journey.
A. Saraswathi and M. Saraswathi as Kinder garden students playing with wooden bricks
Within the next six months – this probationary period was introduced in the working contracts for all the teachers – Linda and I will conduct 27 teaching visits (three times for every teacher) for evaluation and advice. The new standards we are going to realize in our Nature Concept School are compulsory if we want to guarantee a high quality of teaching. By doing this we might become a defined model school for the Anantapur District. India – introducing the children’s right for education very recently in 2010 – has to struggle more for achieving good standards; most of the schools are trying to realize the very basics in the moment… But there are some efforts done by the government: in the next year 20000 teachers are planned to be engaged for the government schools in Andhra Pradesh; for these jobs Bachelors of Education can be hired exclusively. For our school it might be possible – if we realize our quality standards – to integrate an additional group of students coming from families with more money – beside our poor children whose parents pay an admission fee and the society amount for the membership only.
Two tailoring machines have been purchased by the Shanti Ananda Education Society; a share of the new school uniforms for our 145 students is planned to be produced with them. Cloth and additional materials like thread are already present. The next project week is planned in November: the teachers want to stitch and learn tailoring and practise decorative techniques like embroidery as well. For the school uniforms 580 pieces have to be sewed – per student two dresses or pants and as well two blouses or shirts. The teachers want to produce approximately 100 pieces. In the last year Raja Sekhar and Munemma stitched school uniforms in the creativity periods in the afternoon. Raja Sekhar had brought his own tailoring machine to the school for that time – he is a very talented and experienced tailor as well. The local tailors from Mudigubba have to stitch the other pieces; fortunately some mothers familiar with tailoring are ready to help as well. At our school every two years new school uniforms are given to all the students and as well to the teachers – a big amount of money for the school budget… But school uniforms are compulsory in India and present at each and every school – including the government schools. Our teachers like the uniforms as well: they took the decision to wear light violet sarees.
Gardener Bassava Raju presents the new gardening tools
On the new school area the new very experienced and capable gardener Bassava Raju presented new gardening tools for the students on the Nature Day in September and showed to the teachers and students how to use them. Afterwards the students of the classes 6 and 7 presented a small drama with the topic to protect and honour the trees because they are most important for our lives and for our survival. This message was very touching for the audience. The children showed a lot of commitment and empathy by presenting what will happen after cutting down the trees without consciousness.
Demonstration how to use the gardening tools
The students‘parents are very eagerly supporting us with practical work – nearly every day some members will come to help. They are doing a number of different activities.
Parents sieving the red soil which will be used for the brick fabrication
The new brick machine is used regularly – because of the rainy season we had to wait for some time to avoid being disturbed by unexpected rain falls. Coordinator Chandra Mohan is leading the production he learnt in February in Auroville. The next photos should show the procedure of the brick fabrication:
Read soil, 5% cement, sand and water are mixed – the students are participating
The clay mixture is put into a module and pressed with high pressure
The clay bricks – whose firmness is a result of the high pressure while making them – have to stay in the hall covered for three days. They have to be watered three times daily for one month to become very strong. In research experiences this type of bricks was put into water for five years (!) without losing shape! Our clay bricks do not have to be burnt – that’s why they are eco sustainable… Five different forms or modules enable us to produce 20 different types of bricks.
Students observing the fabrication
Project manager Horst Wagner behind four staples of freshly produced clay bricks
Interview with project manager and (environmental) architect Horst Wagner
Question: What do you think is your most important work?
Answer: …the holistic creation of the school area regarding the Sacred Geometry and human friendly proportions and usage of natural materials like granite stones, round field stones and self produced eco clay bricks. The energetic quality should satisfy the needs of students and teachers for harmony; because of this we want to grow up organic healing plants, fruit trees and vegetables. All the measurements on the school area are basing on the number 9; the shape of this number is a spiral already and therefore representing the dynamic expansion of our universe – including us as human beings as well. The mystery of the number 9 which cannot be explained becomes obvious in the singular mathematical phenomenon that every number being multiplied with this number will be the number 9 again as the sum of the digits. The architecture of the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí with his mosaic works is a creative component inspiring me very much and giving wings to my soul. As well the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser – with his philosophy concerning healthy building – did impress me very much.
Question: Do you want to add something as a welfare worker?
Answer: In an area with the most darkness, hopelessness and despair we are lighting up a candle with our developing project. Like this we might encourage the human beings and show to 80 Million inhabitants of Andhra Pradesh how to overcome bad conditions: by realizing our Nature Concept School with a completely new quality – pointing the way ahead with a holistic pedagogy basing on human values.
Question: Please describe your working week!
Question: My working week has more than 100 hours in the moment – 70 hours in the day time and 30 hours in the night time as a watchman. My continuous presence is most important because I have to check the quality of the work as the project manager; and I want to have my ideas realized as the architect. German standard is completely unknown; because of this the uplifting of the very low level is absolutely needed. I go three times weekly to Mudigubba for two days because the project is in 40 km distance from my living place; to drive 80 km daily would overwhelm me because the road is extremely dangerous. Because of these circumstances I am at the limits of my personal capability all the time (concerning body and psyche as well). I have to care for my wife and my children additionally. But I am ready to take all these difficulties to realize the vision of this extraordinary project.
Question: Please tell us about the major problems and the major success!
Answer: The biggest problem is the low level of the workers which has to be uplifted to meet my demands approximately only. The higher quality workers left Mudigubba before and went to Puttaparthy, Anantapur or Bangalore. The Anantapur District has the next to last position of all the districts in whole India (according to Deccan Chronicle in 2010) concerning the present life conditions (alcoholism, indebtedness, violence, missing infra structure, garbage problem etc.).
The biggest success means for me the vision of a creative Nature Concept School becoming a reality in spite of these difficult conditions I like to mention a lotus pond as a comparison: the lotus flower – purest of all the flowers as the seat of the Gods – needs the most dirt for unfolding its full beauty…
Horst Wagner talking with mason Krsna in front of the Guest house
With cordial greetings,
Yours, Helga Shanti Fründt
Foreigners should give their donation to this FCRA account
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Andhra Bank, Mudigubba Branch
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Account No: 185410100007532
Indian persons should give their donation to the
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Geetha Nagar, Mudigubba 515511
Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank
Account No. 19073080607