Comments and Responses to "Learning Parks of Possibilities"





Dear Mr.Manish,

Best wishes for a very happy & meaningful new year!


I just received the excellent paper by Shilpa, sumi, Ajay & parijat. It is such a pleasure to read it.  I will try to send detailed comments a few days later.


Kindly send similar materials







#206,39th A Cross, 9th Main,

5 th Block, Jayanagar



Tel : 91-080-6658580

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Hi Manish,

Thanks for your New Year's wishes. May I extend the same to you, Shilpa, and the Shikshantar family. Yes, I have long been hoping for us to find ways to stay more interconnected. Let's hope this year we see more of it.


I'll certainly contact Sunita Gandhi. It would be my pleasure to play a role in your conference. I would hope you would also be able to participate in ours (slotted for the third week of Nov 2001).


I'm not sure if I will be able to attend the meetings on Jan 10 to 13. I'll need to confirm this. However, we are definitely committed to working on the project.


BTW, I read and enjoyed the Learning Park article. I'll be interested to follow its development.




Steve Rudolph

Jiva Institute




Dear Manish,

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the article about learning parks. Philosophically I am in agreement with so much that it stands for and I do hope that the learning parks concept is further developed.


I have a concern though that I need to share. It is around the idea that children can be left free to do as they like without being given access to skills, particularly interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. The following from the article helps to illustrate my point:


"We are also unlearning how to handle disputes. Occasionally, when the fighting among children has gotten to be too much, we have used a form of emotional blackmail, saying that we could not continue to come and learn with the children if they behaved like this. Clearly, this is not the best way to handle conflicts, and we are seeking other strategies for dealing with them. Because we do not believe in using rewards or punishments, and because we do not believe that children should be controlled, we either try to engage them in a dialogue around questions like “What happened? What did you do? How else can you handle this situation?” or we leave them to solve their disputes on their own. It takes time and patience, but we feel that in the long run, only methods like these will support the processes of self-discipline and conflict transformation that are essential for living and learning together."


You will be familiar with the book Lord of the Flies that illustrates how children can turn into savages when left to their own devices. The challenge, I believe, is to develop an educational system not a schooling one! In so many places in the world it is crude schooling that exists in the name of education. In Nepal I recall seeing so many schools being set up in the villages that were not remotely educational. They are set up to teach the children to read and write and then to leave to work in Kathmandu in a polluted environment. NGOs and charities are all supporting these schools that, in my view, are doing so much harm to the social infrastructure of the country. Similar in parts of India? Therefore, the writers of the article should avoid falling into the trap of the deschoolers by selling the children short by setting up a process that appears to be based on a freedom principle. Freedom comes when people accept personal responsibility and that requires a high degree of personal discipline. Otherwise the rule of the bully reigns and negative human instincts triumph!


In her book, A Quiet Revolution, Frances Farrer (Random Books ISBN 0 7126 0577-0) tells the story about a school that enabled children to develop personal freedom through developing their own inner self -esteem and self-discipline, thereby becoming civil members of society. The school demonstrated that it is possible to change the relationship between teacher and taught from one based on control to mutual support. I offer this book as a discussion point for developing schools throughout the world. It is so relevant in every context. I am deeply concerned that in our efforts to be educators we prevent the children from having access the the richness of the world because they are not helped to develop the necessary internal spiritual skills that the 21st Century requires us to have if we are going to survive on this planet together.

I am very excited at being able to discuss such important matters with all your colleagues.

My hope for 2001 is that all creative minded educators around the world will unite to nurture the quality of civility in all children everywhere.


Warmest of good wishes.

Neil Hawkes <>




"Peter Birks" <>


Dear Peter,

Manish has just sent me this article. I am by way of coping this e-mail to him, letting him know that I have past it on to you. I'm sure that he will be delighted to learn that a creative educational thinker who has been influential in the UK system has access to the literature. I'm sure your thoughts would be welcome as we must link global thinkers together if we are to create a learning community for the future.

Best wishes.



Manish - Peter Birks is the former Principal Adviser to the Isle of Wight Educational Service in the UK and a respected adviser and inspector of schools. He is well known for his thinking about how pupils learn and are most effectively organised in school. He has also written on aspects of spirituality from a Christian perspective.


Happy New Year!





Dear Manish,

I most sincerely regret the delay in acknowledging the mail and expressing my profound sense of joy while going through the paper.


I shall get back to you and Shilpa on my return from abroad mid January.


Wish you all the best,


<> |




Dear Manish,

Great to hear from you. I just traveled over from Iceland to Prague and will take time out to read this wonderful title...I am running a bit slow on getting my article to you but this is on my mind and once I get going, I can get it done fairly quickly, so there is hope.


Please convey my greetings to all at Shikshantar.



Sunita Gandhi <> |




Dear Manish,

I read with great interest the article, and will share it with some colleagues if I may.


Thanks for your Christmas greetings. I wish you all the very best for Christmas and the New Year, and really do hope to get to Udaipur some time this year.


Warm regards

Janice Richardson <>




Dear Mr. Jain,


Thank you for your article on "learning parks".  I shall respond a little later when I have fully reviewed the article. I request you to please list me in your mailing for your newsletter, "Vimukt Shiksha". 


Thank you




A R Vasavi <> |


Add:  A.R. Vasavi

National Inst of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus





Dear Mr. Jain,

Thanks for the paper. We will pass them on to our education coordination and our education consultant.


Meanwhile we would like to send you 2 papers which deal with our approach to education and learning.

1. Education against Tyranny

2. Education -Needs verses Rights


We would look forward to your feed back to our papers.


Our website is ""


Hope you find it interesting. The section 'Interventions' carries the issues related to education.







Thanks for the paper. Quite fascinating. And I am sure, lot's of fun for both adults and children. Speaking as a manager developer, I wish one could offer many adults the opportunity to interact with children in learning parks. Suppose I could come to Udaipur, what minimum period would you recommend?


Nandan Maluste

Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Mumbai, India

Tel: +91 22 282 6655 x163; Fax: +91 22 282 6632

nandan maluste <> |



'pervin varma off' <>, 'puja marwaha' <>





Good to hear from you.  I forwarded your paper to Keith Yocam at They are in 17 countries and will be going into 40 more including India, setting up "Internet learning centers" and supporting teacher training.


At the end of Feb. I may be in Delhi (if the group gets money for my ticket) for the opening of a new media center, Sarai, run by a fellow I have not met, Ravi Sundaram <>.


Steve Cisler <> |




Thank you for the information on learning parks.  I think the paper is great in terms of the way you have changed the negatives into positives and all the activites, projects are very customer focused i.e. the childeren and their interest.  this is an excellent way to motivate learning and I think this is an issue that needs to be address across the board.  I shall pass this paper to  people within the local education authority.


Seasons greeting to Vidhi and yourself



Pratibha Hindocha

<> |




dear manish

thanx for the article - i enjoyed reading it since it resonates some of my own ideas about learning. i also shared it with an ngo that has set up recreational/learning spaces for children while working on universalisation of a quality elementary education. good to have heard from you. my trip to udaipur has not yet materialised - hopefully next year it will so that i may be a co-learner with the children. would love that. if you ever come to bangalore do come stay with us. my phone no. is (080) 5285877



salam - tasqeen


Tasqeen M <> |




Dear Manish,


Thank you for sharing your ideas which are so pertinent.


Best wishes for the New Year  2001



"Bah_Diallo,_A´cha" <> |