For over 50 years the devotees of ISKCON have undertaken educational initiatives under the inspiration of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. All such efforts are glorious.While several educational initiatives have manifested, some may not be driven by explicitly stated philosophy of education. It is important that all educational initiatives within ISKCON are driven by a proper philosophy of education. Otherwise it is observed that there is a lot of argument on what is “the” ISKCON philosophy of education. In this regard the ISKCON Ministry of Education felt that there is a pressing need for ISKCON to compile a document about ISKCON philosophy(ies) of education.
This is by no means going to be the final effort on this topic for the next 10,000 years. Rather it is a sincere attempt to produce what the current educators within ISKCON feel the philosophy of education should be based on the understanding they have developed by studying His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada’s instruction on this topic and applying it in their respective educational efforts. Every 3 to 5 years reflections should be churned to build on this effort. This document is meant to be an introduction to how the project would evolve. It includes the overall project schedule with specific deadlines for each milestone, terms of reference, followed by illustrative AIMS of education shared by Rasamandala Das (ACBSP) and ending with a request for devoteesto participate in various capacities.
Those who are willing to submit an article, must send a letter of intent to the Ministry of Education stating their interest towrite an article email@example.com along with a short write up on their service within ISKCON and statement of purpose as to why they want to undertake this service. (Deadline: 15th May 2019)
Project team to specifically acknowledge and confirm back to the devotees who have expressed willingness to participate. (Deadline: 23rd May 2019)
Ministry of Education project team to publish guidance on the article style such as - a style-sheet, specifying how references are to be made and standards for spelling, punctuation, the use of diacritics or an alternative (and specified) phonetic notation (Deadline: 31st May 2019)
Call for papers on‘ISKCON Philosophy ofEducation’ from devotees around the world. All submissions must happen within this period (Deadline: 31st Aug 2019)
Editorial board to review the submissions, seek clarifications from authors, (probably) come up with a summary and conclusion. (Deadline: 15th Oct 2019)
Some assigned members of the team to hold face to face discussions duringKartik in Vrndavana. (Deadline: 15th Nov 2019)
Depending on the outcome of the above discussions, the team to undertake the preparation of book and publish it atleast electronically. (February, 2020 at the International Education Symposium in Sridham Mayapur
Terms of Reference
The essay should respond to all or some of the following questions:
- What is ISKCON’s Philosophy of Education?
- What is the meaning of education?
- What should be the goals of education?
- What is an educated person? - What values, skills and knowledge should students learn?
- What are the guiding principles around which ISKCON should develop its educational initiatives and strategies?
- What values should be prevalent through any educational program?
- Should ISKCON education focus only on theology and philosophy or should it be multidisciplinary?
- What teaching and learning methodologies (i.e.contemporary, traditional, alternativeetc.) should be used or rejected?
- To what extent should ISKCON draw from educational approaches or methods used by other religious or secular institutes?
- To what extent education should be classical Vedic or adapted to contemporary audiences?
- Should education be teacher-centred orstudent-centred?
What is the role of research and publishing ineducation?
Day schools vs. Boarding schools
Consideration of placement of students within society after completing their education
Potential writers could suggest further topics, beyond these listed; and which might be accepted at the discretion of the book’s editors
Maximum word limit: 5000 words
Article must include references, either from devotional literature or academic sources (or both). This will ensure a high-standard of scholarship (consistent with our heritage), while also accommodating a wide range of perspectives (that are expressed with a degree of justification)
Authors may of course cite education experts in general, but they themselves should be strictly following Srila Prabhupada’s basic standards for initiated disciples (i.e., four regulative principles and 16 good rounds daily) . Of course this requirement can be adjusted according to the practical, common sense decisions of the Editor.
Aims of ISKCON's Educational System
The foremost aim of any educational system should be to fulfil the order of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and develop Krishna Prema. Yet at the same time, the papers should address this issue by reflective on some considerations as stated below to help establish respect for ISKCON Educational initiatives within the larger society.
- Raise the status of ISKCON education, asserting its key role in societal leadership
- Help nurture a communityof devotee educators andeducationalists
- Promote dialogue between ISKCON educationalists and ‘outsider’ colleagues
- Raise the standards in ISKCON-backed education
- Enable ISKCON to positively contribute towards the education world
- Promote reflective engagement between theory and practice
- Encourage ISKCON educationalists to research, write and publish
- Bring together various interest groups to promote a more collaborative, mutually-beneficial approach to education
- Encourage the development of a strategic approach towards education.