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A message from Principal's Desk

The closure of 2018 academic year marks the fifteen year journey of our school towards excellence. The journey on which hundreds of stakeholders left their imprints of innocent-wild dreams, pulsating-noble actions and fascinating mixed emotions to express and to expose the explicit reality of our robust curriculum loaded with creative opportunities and academic challenges appropriately suited for intellectually adventurous students and teachers. The journey was’t uniformly reassuring. It was more of a roller-coaster ride with series of exciting ascents and the moments of bleak descents but we kept steadfast all along. Our clear vision, unwavering commitments and persistent resilience kept us moving ahead. As a result we were able to acquire following wisdoms:

  • Learning needs to be joyful yet challenging;
  • Compassion is the key to solving problems of unsatisfied students and staff;
  • Vision devoid of ethical values is vulnerable;
  • Age-appropriate curriculum designing is worth investing;
  • Self-directed learning is worth encouraging;
  • Age-appropriate experiential learning must be in the top priority;
  • Need to assimilate value education and life skills across all curriculum;
  • Development of skills should be treated more important than learning facts & and figures;
  • Smart use of ICT (Information communication technology) will significantly enhance students’ learning;
  • Quality learning requires quality time and quality time needs quality planning;
  • Deep-learning is superior to broad-learning in helping students become competent;
  • Intrinsic motivation is more reliable than extrinsic motivation in helping students become transformational leaders;
  • It is useless to continue investing resources on projects or systems that failed empirically on multiple times;
  • Learning to ask intelligent question is more valuable than regurgitating memorized answers;
  • Creative planning, clear communication, collaborative effort, critical evaluation and character development are the five key skills required to navigate successfully through 21st century tempest!

Now the question is-have we reached the destination of excellence? To be honest-NO! However, the first phase of our long journey made us stronger, smarter and more committed. Unravelled the wisdom to enjoy the process of our journey without blurring the sight of vision and gained solace from this statement of H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, though the tunnel may be dark and deep, there is a light the end . So do not retreat and never surrender! Let us make use of all the aforementioned wisdoms to make our 2nd journey even more meaningful and enjoyable. I am sure that all our alumni, the ambassadors of our first long journey would not settle for less under the influence of complacency but rather they would be supporting us in our next noble journey.

Let us now narrow our focus on this year’s journey. Have you done some justice to your intrinsic Buddha Nature? Did you serve yourself and others well? How about habit transformation? Have you developed any new skills? Did you overcome any personal challenges? Well, it would be wise if we could pause for a moment to reflect upon such questions. You can also flip through the pages of ’Tsamdin’ and mindfully relate to all the expressions of yearlong activities. As we being the masters of our own destiny, ultimate evaluation and transformation has to start from within us. That is only way and the best way to make our life is journey meaningful. The school is simply a platform from where life skills could be developed but the actual self-awareness and self-transformation has to start from within oneself. We must treasure this age-old wisdom!

Out many changes introduced this year, let me share one in particular that triggered shockwave across all our stakeholders.

Below is the report that I have submitted to the Head Office:

TIBETAN CHILDREN’S VILLAGE SCHOOL, SELAKUI, DEHRADUN
REPORT: The Closure of Cow Project
INTRODUCTION: The cow project was launched on 22nd April, 2013(World Earth Day) with the good intentions to achieve following objectives.

  1. To provide fresh cow milk to students.
  2. To foster knowledge and understandings of animal husbandry.
  3. To develop life skills pertaining to Milch Animal Care.
  4. To create avenue to bridge life science (Biology) theory lessons to practical.

To accomplish aforementioned objectives we executed following activities with unprecedented commitments and strategies for over five years!

  1. For three years at a stretch, volunteer senior students of Cow Project were given monthly awareness teaching through interactive pedagogy.
  2. Students and staff members involved in cow project were given opportunity to attend intensive three day workshop at Navdanya in the month of April for several years.
  3. To keep the livestock healthy we arranged a monthly + the emergency visit by Mr. Chauhan, an experienced vetenarian.
  4. We have employed Mr. Phul Singh an Indian villager having experience rearing cows as our cow care taker. He works for eight hours daily from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays we engage our senior students.
  5. We have highlighted home-wise duties for cowshed in our school diary.
  6. Out of passion and concern, our accountant Mrs. Kunsang took extra responsibilities to oversee the smooth functioning of our cow project.

CHALLENGES THAT TRIGGERED THE CLOSURE OF COW PROJECT!

Despite our unwavering commitments, well planned action cum precautionary strategies and sincere attempts to expedite the project, the fact of impermanence knocked us down to the brink of overwhelming frustrations! However, those challenging five year experiences induced a deep sense of contemplative concerns and the sprouting of realistic insight to make that bold decision before it unfolded into inevitable tragedy! Following are the major challenges that opened our inner eyes to see the subtle realities of multiple causes and conditions.
  1. Financial Impact:

    We had nine cows and two young bulls. Out of nine cows only two provided about seven to eight litres of milk per milking session during lactation period. Remaining seven cows were either too young or failed to form babies despite giving several artificial inseminations. As for the net-expenses, each cow required 4500 to 5000 Indian Rupees every month to sustain. That clearly revealed the unsustainability of the cow project!

  2. Complaints from Students’ Parents and Relatives:

    Frequent complaints from students’ parents and relatives for engaging their child/children in cow project works despite our valid reasons posed unhealthy and potential threat to the smooth functioning of our school!

  3. Staff and Senior Student’s Feedback:

    The feedback collected from staff and students showed that over 90% of them preferred to close the cow project. Our home mothers shared their deep concern over children’s safety. Some of them have witnessed the incidence where a couple of fully grown cows chased children while cleaning the cowshed. They feared that the possibility of children getting seriously hurt was significantly high!

  4. Frequent Disruptions In Our Daily Work:

    Our cows being hybrid, they were ultrasensitive to extreme climate of our region. The cases of cows getting ill due to multiple reasons were frequent. We had to errand our senior boys and male staff whenever a cow gets hurt or fall sick. Lifting sick cows and moving it to other spots for treatment was highly demanding work. It required the help from several strong students and male staff. In addition, when cows die due to snake bite or labour complications, over twenty strong hostel boys and staff members were required to carry out the burial work.

  5. Dilemma of Bulls:

    The pressing question of ’’what should we do if the number of bulls increase significantly?’’ put us in dilemma! It paralysed our cognitive abilities because we couldn’t find any appropriate solutions that are value ingrained. We could not just keep them in our school. The financial implications would be huge! And we could not sell them to be slaughtered for meat because it would be against our core values and principles! That turned out to be one of the strongest reasons why we had to close the project.

  • Sincere Apologies:

    We invested thousand hours of deep introspections and serious discussions before we made the bold decision to close the cow project that had been functioning for over five years. It wasn’t an easy task. We had to analyse in detail the pros and cons of the decision. We knew that the cow project benefactors would be disappointed with our decisions. Despite all those stressful and conflicting emotions, we made that decision primarily for the benefit of entire TCV family. If our decisions somehow disappointed our noble benefactors, we would apologise deeply. Our intentions and the objectives were pure and we felt that it could be materialized more creatively from the Indian Krishna Cow Farm located outside our school at a walking distance. We planned to organize a smart programme to realize our initial objectives with the Krishna Cow Farm. Our acquaintance with the firm owner is positively strong.

  • What Would Happen To The Cowshed?

    The existing empty cowshed would be utilized for multi-purpose activities as follows: At the time of major construction works at school, it would be utilized for labours’ home. On weekends it would be used as a place for paper recycling project (we are going to restart it next year). In general, we would use that place for keeping all our reusable materials. Students can easily access them for their project works. We will purchase some basic carpentry, plumbing and electrical equipment for that purpose. All our gardening tools will be stored there as well.

  • What’s for Next?

    We have to strengthen our existing gardening programme starting from this academic year. We have introduced weekly gardening activities for home children this year. We need more equipment to make this on-going activity more productive and meaningful. We need to strengthen our existing organic vegetable farm in collaboration with Navdanya institution. Professors from Navdanya would visit our school to teach our children some gardening skills of growing medicinal plants, compost making and general applications of agricultural practices. For that to accomplish we need financial support!

Submitted by:
Mr. Duke Tsering
Principal
Date: 08/09/2018

The reason why I shared this report is to help others understand the inevitable fact that our school is a learning school and the skill of adaptation is key to our growth. We would discontinue any failing projects and systems after undertaking critical analyses of long term benefits and sustainability. The project or system that served well in the 20th century would not necessarily do the same in the 21st century. We need to analyse empirically and accordingly act swiftly to avoid potential future damage.

With this I would like to once again thank all our staff and students for being such a wonderful contributors of wisdom, courage and compassion for our common mission. I would also like to share my sincere appreciation to all our benefactors for standing firmly with us as a reliable support all along our noble journey.

Finally my sincere admiration goes to all our editorial board members for making it possible to publish this year’s ”TSAMTIN” on time despite time constraints.
Wish you all happy and restful winter break and Happy Losar Tashi Delek !

Sincerely yours,
Duke Tsering
Principal

 
 
 
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