“The purpose of education must coincide with the larger life purpose of those being educated.” This firmly held belief is what drove the founding father of The Heritage group of schools, Shri N.C. Jain, to enter the field of education almost 30 years ago. The Heritage School, Vasant Kunj, the first school from the group was set up in 1994 under his guidance and direction. His philosophy, passion and belief have been the guide for countless people to find their own truth in their lives. A true visionary, he inspired the next level of changes in the education ecosystem. Known for his immense work in philanthropy, he contributed to multiple social causes, with a focus on education and healthcare for the underprivileged.
The Heritage journey began in 2003 with the Heritage Xperiential Learning School being established in Gurugram. Within a year, the founders realised that conventional education needed to be transformed for it to have relevance to students’ lives; that in a system focused on deficit rather than capacity, children lose the ability to be themselves and to be free. We recognised that, for education to liberate, it is essential for us to create safe psychological spaces for our children in which they can thrive, embrace their creativity and be truly themselves. We found that the lack of relevance in what was being taught meant that children were compelled simply to comply and train themselves for purposelessness.
We therefore got rid of books, uniforms, tests, exams and introduced multidisciplinary projects that were relevant and had a sense of purpose for our children. We focused on teacher empowerment, on why they were teaching, and what they were teaching. That understanding was essential to creating classrooms in which relevant education took place.
In the last 15 years, the Heritage schools have worked with some of the best organisations, mentors, experts, scholars and practitioners from around the globe to create a curriculum that is uniquely Heritage. While addressing the child’s cognitive function, it ensures that the entire being of the child — hands, heart, mind and the spirit — is engaged.
The principles on which Heritage’s transformation was based were inspired by several schools of thought – the Waldorfs, Montessori, Krishnamurthy, Sri Aurobindo and Kurt Hahn, who propounded expeditionary learning and founded the Atlantic College in Wales. It is interesting to note that the genesis of the IB programme was based on Kurt Hahn’s work in outbound learning and his belief that education is about deep immersive learning with real purpose that really moves and touches learners so that they confront who they really are and solve real life problems.
That truly has been the spirit of IB. However, the risk in the process of templatising is often that of dilution of the spirit. Heritage is an endeavour to keep that spirit alive so that children benefit from the kind of education that IB originally intended to deliver.
A learning community where each is free to be and grow towards the realisation of his/her highest human potential through a harmonious integration of spirit, heart, mind and body.
The school will encourage and enable, in thought, word and deed, authenticity of being and transparency, and by implication discourage all acts of hypocrisy, pretension and double standards.
The Heritage community will provide the space to be, learn and grow to all its members. It will strive to nurture the freedom of choice in learning and doing, without in any way compromising the rigour and discipline of learning.
The Heritage community will encourage the principle of inclusion which will ensure fair opportunity and equal attention to all those who come to us, without any discrimination whatsoever.
We will commit to practice and foster a state of attentiveness to all our thoughts and actions. Attentiveness involves giving ourselves completely to the present moment and silencing our insecurities, fears and unwanted thoughts. Attentiveness is the first step towards selfless love and compassion.
We will do the utmost to nurture a culture and habit of excellence and actively encourage high standards of character, behaviour and action. We will equally discourage mediocrity, carelessness and negligence in thought, word and action.
The Heritage community will always respect what one is and can become. We will endeavour to instil respect for the work we do, the people we engage with, the things we use, and the environment we live in. Above all, we will foster and strengthen a sense of respect for oneself.