I heard about a grassroots university that is completely reimagining higher education to provide a system of education that values the whole person. It is called Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV), set up by Chinmaya Mission four years ago. We know that challenges to mental health and well-being are becoming prevalent around the world, and also that traditional knowledge is disappearing or being devalued. This university seeks to address these in unique and special ways.
- It focuses on the whole individual, not just vocation/profession/career to help build resilience and well-being.
- It values and builds on Indian traditional knowledge systems in harmony with Western pedagogy.
What does it mean to be a whole individual?
The university recognises that students want a job, a livelihood, but also know that we all have day to day stresses. Students attending this university will be provided with the vocational and/or professional courses and studies such as Law, Commerce and so on. Alongside this, students will have the opportunity to study subjects of interest such as a classical instruments, singing, yoga or meditation to name just a few. There are a wide variety of these subjects, and students can choose variety of them. My understanding of the reason behind this, is so that students learn to lead a balanced life. The university is seeking to equip students with the mechanisms to help them look after their physical and mental well-being.
By providing a range of subjects, students can find tools and activities they enjoy, to help them balance their work with other parts of their life, as well as be given a toolkit to manage their every day lives. Essentially, students will be given the professional and vocational training needed to earn a living in as well as being equipped with the tools and skills needed to help them deal with the stresses of life.
I find this one fascinating. The staff in this university have a deep understanding of traditional Indian knowledge and knowledge systems in India. They know the ancient scientific knowledge that talks about mathematics, geometry, science, astronomy, health, law and so on. What they have done, and what they continue to strive to do, is to unite and teach these with other modern and scientific pedagogies.
Why traditional knowledge systems?
Why should we care about traditional knowledge? Because just like the knowledge that Socrates, Plato, and other great Western thinkers had, traditional knowledge systems around the world have their own great thinkers. In fact, did you know that some of the modern scientific advances we have made, such the understanding of black holes and mathematics have built upon traditional Indian knowledge?
If you didn’t know, this it is okay. I too am discovering the wealth that these knowledge systems hold. So why is it important to integrate them? You see, there are great scientific thinkers and knowledge creator in all cultures, countries and traditions. There are traditional knowledge systems that made discoveries before the West, but have become buried, lost or been devalued.
Can you imagine what advances to knowledge, to science, to all forms of science and education can be had if we learn to integrate, value and harness these knowledge systems around the world? This could be a way that traditional knowledge systems could live in harmony with other pedagogies, in harmony and equality. It could be a model that other places around the world could develop. This could be a model for all forms of traditional knowledge around the world could be valued.
This university is the first of it’s kind, it is ground-breaking, but it needs support to survive and progress. This is why, for the first time ever, I am helping to raise funds.
The funds raised will go towards building a state-of-the-art and sustainable university, and create scholarships for students who may otherwise struggle with the financial burden of tertiary education.
This University project is critical at the moment, because it is also providing jobs to daily wage earners, who can be supported and sustained, kept safe and nourished while we ride out the pandemic crisis. Your support will benefit both present and future needs.
Mental health issues are becoming more prevalent and traditional knowledge is disappearing. For me, this grassroots institution is an experiment worth investing in, but it needs helps to survive. I want to support it in whatever way I can, because I know that even small things, can lead to big change.
If you believe in what this university is trying to do, please support it by donating. The fundraiser ends on the 8th of June. If you are unable to donate, please share this. Every single dollar is a valuable and appreciated contribution. I believe this university is worth the investment for the future of education.
I really appreciate the time you have taken to read this.
Please comments, share or donate. Thank you.
Link to donate: https://oneknowledgeoneworld.raisely.com/anuja-cabraal
Link for more information: https://oneknowledgeoneworld.raisely.com/resources