There was a growing realization that development primarily depended on the people themselves and that much more stress should be placed on improving their quality of life.
One of the enduring themes in the literature of non-formal education, according to Fordham (1993), has been that the education provided should be in the interests of the learners and that the organization and curriculum planning should preferably be undertaken by the learners themselves: that it should be `bottom up’. It is also often argued that this should empower learners to understand and if necessary change the social structure around them.
The learning process, what we aim to provide in bikshani, should be a “truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media.”
Also there was concern about unsuitable curricula; a realization that educational growth and economic growth were not necessarily in step, and that jobs did not emerge directly as a result of educational inputs. Many countries were finding it difficult (politically or economically) to pay for the expansion of formal education. Therefore vocational training is an important part of our curriculum as for example various kinds of educational work linked with development initiatives including agricultural extension and fishery, clay modeling etc. Specially trained educators (maybe for 4 or 5 weeks) (not teachers) sent out to local villages etc to set up and run programmes and recruit further helpers and group members.
The development process is in fact an educational process, or rather it should unfailingly be viewed as such. We cannot therefore conceive of development in the absence of education any more than education in the absence of development. (Faundez 1988 quoted by McGivney & Murray 1991: 10) How, for example, were people to learn to plant new crops or varieties or to farm in ways that might increase production? Our curriculum, therefore, includes science, literature, history, geography, mathematics.
As rightly said that “the self cannot be realized by the physically weak”, Yoga, pranayama, sports are the integral part of our curricula.
Our ethical curriculum is aimed to inculcate the value of supporting relationship with this world and true meaning of religion in the children. The Religion, in what we believe, is, “the manifestation of Divinity already in man”, “To be good and to do good – that is the whole of religion” (Swami Vivekananda).