Ramesh Ghimire, one of the educators committed to providing full-fledged progressive education is the Founder Principal at Asia Pacific School. The school is situated in the northern belt of Dhapasi, Kathmandu and runs classes from Nursery to grade XII.
Asia Pacific School has initiated the progressive approach to “learning by doing” with other people and has tried to implement it in real life. Mr. Ghimire has shared his views about contemporary situation of progressive education in Nepal and the reason to study at Asia Pacific. Excerpts:
In the latest days, advocacy for progressive education is high sounding among academicians. What, exactly, does progressive education refer to in general?
In my view, advocacy on progressive education in Nepal has started lately. The developed countries of the world have been practicing it since a long time before we did. Progressive education is a kind of approach where the students are provided education by applying certain pedagogical strategies. In this approach education is provided in play-way methods, making the students simulate real-life situation in a lively manner. It is a need-based, interest-based and activity-based teaching-learning approach.
Progressive education intents to interlink knowledge with skill, innovation, attitude and culture. To what extend has it been applied to your school?
You have asked me a very important question. Philosophically, ‘learning for life skill’ is our motto. We are putting great efforts to interlink learning with life by focusing on participatory education. Our effort is to globalize indigenous knowledge by connecting the local context with global knowledge. So, I frankly say that our school has been materializing the philosophy of progressive education in real life by immersing the students in activity-based learning.
It is known that progressive education is fully activities based. In this context, what could be the role of parents in progressive education?
Progressive education incorporates conceptual learning. Our primary concern is to popularize this concept among the students. So, the exact role of parents is to create supportive environment and provide guidance to materialize our intention to develop the concept and develop participatory and activity-based learning of the students. The home, obviously, is the first school where the role of parents is very crucial in making a child physically, mentally, morally and ethically obedient and to responsible. If home is disturbed, a child won’t be able to get good education even if the school is very good.
Evaluation in traditional education system is based on marks and grading the students are awarded. But, in progressive education, progress of the students is measured on the basis of their overall performance. In this situation, what kind of tools do we have to convince the parents?
Progressive education envisions a triangular relation between teachers, parents and students. First of all, we should understand that progressive education is experiential. Secondly, we should understand that it is not a preparation for future but the process of living. Knowledge is not a static category which is stored by memorizing; instead it is dynamic. So, the parents should be informed about the above-mentioned essence of the progressive. Hence, these things could be the tools to convince the parents.
In the present context, progressive education has become a brand. Some of the schools have been offering pure progressive education with abundant investment and others are just claiming that they are offering progressive education. What are the unique features of Asia Pacific School or why should students study there?
I have already shared with you the fact that progressive education is not the preparation for future but a process of living. So, our school delivers need-based and interest-based education adopting the pedagogy of progressive education. The school has been following a curriculum redesigning to address age-wise requirements of the students. Asia Pacific School is well equipped in both physical and pedagogical requirements.
Are there trustworthy bases of making students globally competitive through this teaching-learning approach?
Of course, there are. First of all, we concentrate on the curriculum developed by Nepal government as its base. Next, we accumulate the non-credit courses practiced in developed countries as well as well-established schools. We are focusing on the use of advanced technological tools such as programming language and robotics. Besides, we focus on transforming knowledge and life skill. So, I do believe that our students can compete with the people of any corner of the world.
At last, what would you like to suggest our guardians and parents as the Principal of Asia Pacific School?
Asia Pacific School is an emerging institution. We are adopting and applying world’s most advanced technology for the students preparing for the global context in their independent life. Similarly, we wish to work hand-in-hand with the parents who are familiar with progressive education. Our motif is to integrate indigenous knowledge of local context with the one operating at the global level. So, I would like to invite the parents /guardians to work together with us in giving the best education to our children to live their life joyfully without stuffing with the burden of information in their mind as the part of education. Instead, I appeal to them to help us immerse our children in a world where competitive life skills matter.