Journey of a Yogendra K Gurwara
My journey of four and half decades in school education! Every time I look at a child’s innocent face, it seems like I have just become a teacher and there is so much to do. Each time I look back at the years that have gone by, I am filled with gratitude for those who believed in my cause and joined me, a simple teacher, to mould young minds into responsible adults with feelings of duty towards society and the nation.
My journey on the path of school education started from a small town Jhansi when I was still in school, imbibing values that my respected teachers and parents passed on to me. I grew up observing the world around and realised that the nation of rich heritage and globally respected traditions was slowly crumbling into a culturally-confused mass of individuals who put themselves above everything else. I found my calling in Teaching. I found this way to serve my country – Teaching not just the subject Mathematics, but moulding young minds, giving direction to innocent children, creating value based human resources.
As a teacher I experienced that we the teachers have become puppets in the hands of the system giving only marks oriented education. In the name of competition parents do not spare even their young children. The innocence of childhood is traded for a mad rush for marks and scores. Children are thrust into a world of forced expectations, thereby becoming adults before enjoying their childhood, confused and frustrated. While working in many renowned schools of the country- St, Pauls School, Darjeeling, Sherwood College, Nainital, Daly College, Indore, Kendriya Vidyalayas, I came in touch with the philosophy of two great educationists : JD Krishnamurti of Rishi Valley School and Mother of Sri Aurobindo Integral School, Pondicherry. I dreamt to start a boarding school to provide stress free, true and total education with values. With the support of my wife, family and friends a part of my dream became a reality. Sherwood Public School, Secunderabad was born on 21st June 1984, in a little independent 2-bed room house at Wahab Nagar, Sikh Village, Secunderabad, with 51 children and 5 teachers.
Yet the dream was still incomplete. We had travelled through rented buildings, searching for a space we could truly call our own. The year 1991 formed a significant milestone when we shifted to our own campus in Petbasheerabad, away from the city (at that time). A 5-acre campus where the playground formed a major part of the area. The new campus was equipped with a well stocked Library, Science Laboratories, a Computer Laboratory, Music and Art rooms. The children could now play various games on a big playground.
Though a part of my dream was converted into reality, the search for an ideal site continued to achieve my dream. Finally this campus located in a calm, serene environment amidst lush green fields, small hillocks and valleys, was selected and was very appropriately christened ‘Heritage Valley- The Indian School’ with the unconditional support of my wife, Mrs Jyoti Gurwara and the founder teachers of Sherwood- Miss Irvinder Anand, Miss Meera, Mrs Rajeshwari, Mrs Papia ably assisted by Mrs Anita Gupta, Mrs Pramila, Mr Naidu, Mr Reddy, Mr Biswas and almost all the teachers of Sherwood.
Why residential School?
Being influenced by the rich culture of our country, I wanted to put the age old ‘Gurukul’ system into practise in the form of a residential school. ‘Guru’ means teacher and ‘Kul’ means a place of living. Living in close proximity with each other ensures high quality value based education and the all-round development of the student as an individual. With wide experience of working in renowned residential schools of India, I ventured to bring the Gurukula system and the British Boarding system in a dynamic confluence in ‘Heritage Valley- The Indian School’ – a synergy of age old traditions (values) and new age learning (technology) in a home away from home.
Away from distractions of television, electronic gadgets, social media, the students learn to live by a balanced routine, imbibing a sense of discipline that benefits them for life. They learn to take up responsibility, starting with managing their own lives.
- Getting up before sunrise
- Physical exercise
- Spiritual strengthening
- Higher focus on academic excellence
- More active participation in games and activities
- Overall enrichment of personality
A child is supposed to pursue TWO major tasks during his FORMATIVE YEARS (Schooling) –
One – PASSION for music / math / art / games and sports / adventure activities / to discover the mystery of the Universe.
Two - to attain academic excellence along with values
Heritage Valley provides a highly creative environment where children learn and grow naturally pursuing these tasks. We help them to identify and nurture their passion. We help the children to use HEAD, HEART and HANDS (Experiential Learning) and not merely HEAD (rote learning).
I have experienced that it was not possible for children to know, understand and their passion within the four walls of classrooms. Hence the Knowledge Park was developed in Heritage Valley. The children learn fundamental concepts of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History & Geography in the Science, History, Geography parks and Math Lab.
I believe children must be brought up with ingrained value system, strong leadership qualities, balanced sense of right and wrong, spirit of teamwork, mental toughness, respect and integrity. Good marks and all round development must be two strong pillars for a student’s growth. While high scores provide that much needed boost at the start of a career, it is only the values and social learning that will propel the individual ahead in the long run.