It’s really heartening to see how far The Igniters has come since the idea was conceived in a conversation between two people on a park bench one evening. We knew only two things when we started first that we wanted to create a platform to implement our ideas and second that an improved education system will be the solution to almost all of our problems. Later on, as the team grew, the idea itself evolved and we realised that what we were targeting was just the tip of the iceberg.
As we researched, we found that there is a desperate need to improve our education system. The turn of the century accompanied by the technology boom has changed the dynamics of employment and careers in a way that our conventional educational system isn’t able to counter the challenges. Our education system is still obsessed with IQ while the need has arisen for better SQ (Social Quotient) and EQ (Emotional Quotient). The skills such as creativity, critical thinking, innovation that we need, to build successful careers and lives in the 21st century aren’t being imparted through the system. Consequently, our system is churning out a generation of masses unprepared to face the challenges ahead.
There could be different tools to tackle these challenges, to make our system capable of handling the changes and the tool that we’ve chosen is Art Education. Arts, in our country, has a history of being sidelined and the miracle, that art education is, hasn’t been fully explored yet. Later on, when the new careers emerge and the old one becomes extinct due to automation and artificial intelligence, it’s the human aspect of us that will keep us relevant i.e our creativity, our innovation and our emotional abilities and that’s exactly what Art Education strengthens. By engaging the inherent abilities of a child it enables them to grow in a way where they’ll not only be able to find solutions to new problems but also will be able to understand the world around them better.
The year that we’ve spent trying to promote and integrate art forms into our education system, has taught us a lot. It has shown the indefatigable strength of our team and their ability to take up tough challenges and succeed. That’s the reason that after spending one year in building our audience and providing training in different art forms, we are now poised to expand our vision. By launching The Igniters in Schools we are aiming for the integration of art education from the junior level so that a foundation could be built for the kids to build successful careers in the 21st century. Simultaneously among college students, we are planning to empower them by our Art of Governance workshops, which will train them to govern effectively and form effective policies. The workshop will explain governance in terms of the functioning of college societies, which they can later replicate at bigger stages. Apart from that our projects from last year, that you will read about in this report, would continue without interruption. As Swami Vivekananda Once Said that education is not a mere accumulation of information but a comprehensive and systematic preparation for life, and it is only by integrating art forms in our education that a wiser and peaceful society will be created.
Sharad Kr. Nirala