Tag Archives: Homeschool

painting of Indians at a stretched buckskin with a story in images

Indian Homeschoolers Conference announced for February 2014

Swashikshan, the Indian Association of Homeschoolers has announced a five day homeschooling conference from the 21st of February 2014 to the 25th at Khandala. The Indian Homeschoolers Conference 2014 is a great opportunity for Indian homeschooling families to connect and network.

Fee: INR. 2500 for five days (or one day or whatever – regardless of how long you are present)

It is also a good opportunity for new homeschoolers and those planning to homeschool children in India to interact with the community and observe how homeschooling works for different people as well as get their questions answered by more experienced homeschoolers.

There are also discussions planned for formulating a plan of action with regard to the RTE and getting recognition for homeschooling children, which is important for children who may wish to pursue scholarships, competitions, competitive examinations and more. It is also important in terms of a safeguard from any potential action that the government may take against parents who don’t send their children to school.

The structure of the event is expected to be free flowing and spontaneous, though there are these few things on the agenda which will be addressed at some point. This is an event not to be missed for free learning families.

An additional bonus is the enriching experience of an inclusive gathering for mavericks who make choices off the beaten track for their values – perhaps the common thread running through parents who choose to protect their children from school at great personal cost and effort.

Read the Indian Homeschoolers Conference 2014 announcement and payment information at the Swashikshan website.

Register here.

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Tax on auxiliary services to make education dearer

Friend sent me this link about how schools are about to get costlier, commenting that it would mean more homeschoolers and that I should be happy.

When education was categorised under the negative list in the 2012 Budget, a finance ministry notification issued on June 20, 2012, read: “Services provided to or by an educational institution in respect of education exempted from service tax, by way of (a) auxiliary educational services or (b) renting of immoveable property” are exempted from service tax. However, another notification issued on Budget Day replaces “services provided to or by” with “services provided to”.

While some academics who believe that the change in wording is an error have been trying to get it clarified by the finance ministry, the excise department has gone ahead and asked schools to pay up. “The intent to levy service tax on services rendered by educational institutions to outsiders is right. But, the finance ministry notification seems to indicate the contrary. I appeal to the FM to exempt auxiliary services and renting of hostels provided by educational institutions to its own students from service tax,” said S Vaidhyasubramaniam, dean of planning and development, Sastra University.

Click here to view original web page at timesofindia.indiatimes.com

This development is rather alarming because good schools are already rare and prohibitively expensive for a majority of the population.

I am not happy, actually. The idea that people might move to homeschooling because they cannot afford school strikes to me as a failed education policy and the worst possible reason to switch, though it is true homeschooling can be cheaper (or far more expensive) than school.

Homeschooling, in such a case would not be the first choice, but a compromise made out of necessity. This may not be a suitable situation for the considerable commitment to pursuit of learning that homeschooling demands.

Not to mention that the legal position of homeschooling itself is very tricky in India. While no one is persecuting homeschoolers, the few efforts that were made for recognition failed completely with no consession whatsoever so far. Informally, the word is that parents dissatisfied with the system may choose to homeschool, but it can be too precarious to risk for people unfamiliar with the concept.

In short, education in India is slowly becoming a complicated and increasingly meaningless thing, with no real alternatives.

 

Note: There are plenty of homeschoolers in India who have decided that we will not be sending our children to school. Technically, we are on the wrong side of the law, but many of us are determined enough to risk consequences if need be, but not inflict the schooling system on our beloved children.

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U.S. Justice Department refuses asylum to German Home Schooling family

U.S. Justice Department court filing rejected a German home schooling family’s application for asylum in the US is in trouble after initially being accepted. The Romeikes, a home schooling family with five home schooled children are being represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association, while the Obama administration want them to be sent back to Germany.

Germany has a national law requiring children to either attend public school or a government-approved private school.

The Romeikes had already been fined and German police once forcibly escorted their five children to school. They were notified that they could ultimately lose custody if they continued to home school. […]

While this is not India, it is worrisome snapshot of the world, because it is an example of how the interest of children and home schooling families is fragile if the country’s law makes it tougher for them. Immigration appeals or asylum laws both seem indifferent to alternative education programmes, leaving home schooling families and other special education initiatives entirely at the mercy of the national education machine. Without the support of organizations like Home School Legal Defense Association, it can be overwhelming for individual families to ensure their rights.

With the RTE Act, India is well on the road of the absurd “free and compulsory” – whatever that means. Home schooling families in India are already wary of the directive for every child to be in school and seeking alternatives, while special education organizations working among marginalized communities are scrambling to save themselves when their highly educated post-graduate volunteers are not enough to rescue their organization from a short sighted Act that requires qualified teachers who are not available in the numbers dictated by the act.

I doubt if that definition of “free and compulsory” is going to include the freedom to learn that home schooling nurtures or indeed any freedom of education other than the lack of educational fees. While at the moment, the government is hardly applying it, home schoolers are already vulnerable to malicious accusations of abuse or deprivation of education that could get them into trouble with the law. Because a carelessly crafted law does not recognize home schooling families or special education or alternative education programmes as any different from depriving children of opportunities to learn.

There are initiatives like “Swashikshan” (self-learning/teaching) which, while not Home School Legal Defense Association, have seen home schooling families connected and organizing to share resources. I hope we are able to suggest some framework for home schooling eventually, ideally with as much credibility as the Home School Legal Defense Association, or at least a recognized body, before the law strangles diversity of learning here as well.

A Map of the Legality of Home schooling around...

A Map of the Legality of Home schooling around the world. Based off of Image:BlankMap-World6.svg. Green is legal, yellow is legal in most political subdivisions but not all or is practiced, but legality is disputed. Red is illegal or unlawful. Orange is generally considered illegal, but untested legally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unbelievable to imagine that a country like Germany (which gave enough and uprecedented votes to a Pirate Party – that extraordinary political endorsement of freeing knowledge, and going beyond regimented structures to find what works) persecutes home schooling families to the point where a family must worry about losing its children is very worrying for a country like India, where enforcement of laws is arbitrary and human rights are not an issue.

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