A Celebration of 'Walk-Outs'

Some think we are fools

Not to be in schools


But there are places other than schools & college

To gain some knowledge


We are labeled as drop-outs

When all we did was walk out


So don’t you agree, buddy

Life's not just textbook study


The system we went to get educated

Left us getting suffocated


Like caged animals, yes it’s true

Some schools are run like zoos.


In all this confusion

We will create a new revolution


For this we have to persevere

Having no fear


Here is a convention

With certainly some positive intention


In which a whole load of ideas & experiences about self-learning we can exchange

And discuss many other interests of a much wider range


Come for this.

It’s a chance

you just can't miss!!


Join us in September for this unique

celebration of 'Walk-Outs'!

Some of the questions

we will exchange views and experiences on will be:

§          How have we taken charge of our own learning and created our own learning webs?

§          Why did we leave the formal system of schooling or college?

§          Who are we? What are our questions, passions, talents, concerns, dreams?

§          How do we learn?  What spaces/people/resources do we like to interact with?

§          What kinds of unlearning processes have we gone through to heal ourselves from the damage and lies of schooling?

§          How can we form mutually nurturing relationships amongst ourselves and support each other’s continuous learning?

§          How can we challenge the formal system and encourage others, who feel trapped, to take the next steps to leave it?


This celebration will be held from Sept 14-18, 2003 in Nashik, India.


Given the importance of engaging in meaningful and intense dialogue, there will be a maximum of 35 people in this celebration, who will be coming together from different parts of South Asia.  And unlike most conferences, there will be no pre-set agenda or process.  Rather, we expect that the content of the gathering will emerge from the participant themselves, and will utilize a variety of processes of expression and communication: arts, games, theater, meditation, photography/video/film, writing, cooking, speaking, listening, dreaming… The meeting will primarily be in Hindi and local languages.


Please let us know if you or fellow walk-outs are interested in joining us for this special event.  Feel free to contact us if you need any further information. We look forward to hearing from you before August 30, 2003…


With best wishes …

Shilpa Jain            Shikshantar (Udaipur, Rajasthan)

Nitin Paranjape      Abhivyakti (Nashik, Maharashtra)

Claude Alvares       Taleemnet (Goa)                        

Anil Gupta             Sristi Network (Ahmedabad, Gujarat)

Ram Subramaniam   Samavaya (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) 




A Celebration of ‘Walk-Outs’

Background Note


Today, those who have the good sense to choose to leave the dominant system of education are labeled by it as ‘drop-outs’.  This negative term connotes failing and incompetence, and is applied to those who don’t fit in the competitive schooling or college system.  In this gathering, we seek to turn this term (and the underlying worldview it is connected to) on its head. 


We view the decision to walk out (or rise out) of formal educational structures, as a thoughtful and positive choice. Far from signifying incompetence, walking out demonstrates intelligence, creativity and courage of conviction.  It also exposes education for what is: a deep form of violence against peoples’ minds, bodies and spirits, which cuts them off from nature, their family, communities, culture, work, expression, and themselves. Furthermore, walking out represents a strong form of dissent against the global political economy. It is a powerful indication of reclaiming control over one’s own learning, and therefore, over one’s own life.  It is an important step in de-institutionalizing one’s life and moving towards swaraj.


In this day and age, many young people — and their families — feel frustrated and angered by the educational system (and the larger global economy to which it is linked), both while in it and afterward.  Yet, they lack the imagination, or the confidence, or the social support, to leave it and pursue other, more meaningful paths of learning.  They feel that they have no choice but to keep their children in school. We hope this gathering will not only enable walk-outs to share their stories, questions and dreams with one another, but also will inspire others to see the strength and potential of rising out of stifling, dead institutions.  We seek to lift the taboo from those who choose to walk-out. The meeting will also highlight the dynamic possibilities and choices that exist outside of institutionalized education. A dynamic and beautiful world of living and learning – which is much bigger than schooling – awaits each one of us, if we choose to recognize it.  During the meeting itself, we will try to generate a booklet, video, artwork, theatre, etc. to assist those who want to leave school and create their own learning webs where they can ‘walk-into’ with dignity.


The individuals, organizations, movements and networks putting this celebration together firmly believe in the power of walking-out and living life more creatively, justly and ecologically harmoniously. We are interested in creating spaces and nurturing relationships where this decision can be valued and expanded. Our commitment is to highlight other learning/doing options that exist (and the ways people are creating their own options) in the world so that human beings can have a real choice about their education.