Alternative Elementary Education - Learning from Life

Khoj approach towards elementary education is that the education should be responsive to the issues and problems of the learners in their daily lives. Relevance and participation are the hallmark of the work but special attention is also paid to efficient and effective methods of teaching as well.

Salient features of Khoj methodology could be delineated as:

  • It is learner centered and highly participatory.
  • It draws inspiration from the interconnectedness the various facets of life. Hence, the methodology is integrative in its approach.
  • It provokes creativity.
  • It is inquiry based and tries to build on existing knowledge of the learners.
  • It is firmly rooted in the realities of life. In order to ensure relevance, alternative educational materials have been developed.
  • Problem posing method is adopted instead of depositing information in the minds of the learners that makes learning analytical and effective.
  • As the methodology believes in learning by doing, work is largely activity based.
  • In order to ensure logical and analytical thinking questioning is provoked in learners.
  • In order to build on learners' existing knowledge of language a phonetic method of teaching Urdu language is used. The Founder of Khoj has developed the method.

The Program has been divided into three levels:

  1. Integrated Early Childhood Care and Development
  2. Integrated Primary Education rooted in children's real life situations
  3. Integrated Elementary Education

In order to make education truly responsive to the realities of life areas like health, nutrition, ecological agriculture, kitchen gardening, citizenship and environment are also addressed. Education through computers is to prepare them for the technology focused side of life as well.

Participatory action research with children –from three to fifteen years- has resulted in issue based teacher's manuals, training handbooks and teaching and learning materials.

The following lines from an external evaluation in 2004 explain the outcomes:

The Khoj methodology "is a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Students engage in a wide range of diverse curriculum strands that are meaningful, relevant to their context and daily lives, and that are built on the assumption that the children's potential to question, enquire, problem solving, to collaborate and challenge are essential components of a good education. Teachers are viewed as learners who co-construct meaning alongside students in classrooms and in the world beyond.

The evaluation further states, "The curriculum developed by khoj is a clear reflection of curriculum that is based on locally relevant content that enables learners to find meaning in every aspect of their lives. It is a way of thinking about teaching and learning. Curriculum is seen as integrated whole, learning in Urdu relates to learning about science and the practical activities in the agricultural plot. The Khoj methodology reflects the connectedness between subjects, the way in which children truly learn about their world and use quality active learning as a critical tool inside and the outside the classroom."