Introduction to our Foundation course
UPSC and MPSC have started looking for these qualities in the future administrators. Presently we have made the course more exam-oriented by giving the practice of UPSC/MPSC course type questions, without changing the earlier structure. This means a dual advantage for the students, a win-win situation indeed.
This course is for the age group between 15 to 30. There is no condition regarding educational qualification for taking admission to this course. There is no entrance examination for this course. Generally speaking, standard 11 or first year of degree course could be ideal years for doing this course. The first two sessions of this course are study-related. During these, thorough preparation regarding CSAT is done along with various aspects of personality development. But the third term very well relates to the holiday mood and various hobbies.
Shri. Dharmadhikari Sir conducts one session weekly in the entire year for the regular batch. But weekend batches get his sessions once in 15 days. Every year at the end of the course, a written examination is conducted. Certificates are granted to those completing this course successfully and students showing extraordinary proficiency are granted the title of ‘Best Cadet’.
Only those students who complete at least the following are eligible for certificates.
- Full participation in all the 3 terms
- Participation in Palvi Utsavand Summer Course
- Written exam.
Various Skills taught in the Foundation Course
Many intelligent persons among us do not succeed in practical life in spite of their intellect, capacity, and capability. In contrast, seemingly not so intelligent persons succeed in practical life. Why? Social scientists are constantly striving to find the answer. They are unlikely to ever come out with the perfect answer because it will be impossible to prepare a concrete formula for success. And also, the criteria for success will differ.
This makes it impossible to confine success in a particular framework. In view of this, it is possible to argue that skills in practical life – speaking and behavioral skills – are also as important along with intellect. Such skills are called behavioral skills. One must be able to gauge the person in front of you (one mustÂ be able to gauge oneself ). One must understand the dynamics of relating to a person, pair, small or large groups. Practical training in the methods of transactional analysis and lateral thinking in vogue in the West can be useful. It has been included in the foundation course in Pune.
Self-study must be accorded greater importance in the education system. In fact, if original, deep and self-reliant personality is to be developed, everyone should know the doâ€™s and donâ€™ts about how to study well on oneâ€™s own. At the very primary stage such as learning the alphabets and numbers, spoon-fed training will be necessary. But as soon as a student is literate and on his own, he must explore his horizons on his own. A teacher’s job is to point out the horizons and to encourage the student to explore them; not to lead the student everywhere by the hand all the time. So the students must absorb the art of self-study. This involves training in faster reading and better reading, taking down good notes (of books, discussions, speeches; and solving question papers – objective type or essay type) and use of an encyclopedia. And the word self-study conveys two meanings – study by self and study of self.
Education should give maximum importance to helping a student to awaken his creativity; (character formation comes above creativity development. But it is taken for granted. Without character, creativity turns demonic). We now have available scientific methods to awaken and develop creativity. These methods continue to be further refined through improvement and correction because creativity development does not follow a simple and straight mathematical formula like 2+2 is 4. In fact, a human being can never be fully defined in a mathematical framework. It is impossible to fathom this creature. In spite of being aware of all these facts, creativity development is the top priority subject in the Foundation Course.
Whatever the problem, scientific techniques have now been developed to solve them by analyzing them, considering all the probable options without any shackles on the intellect, categorizing the options and then reaching the solution. Basic to these techniques is the science of howÂ to think, the realization that an independent thought process is possible and the techniques of independent thinking. Each alternative has its own plus and minus points. The step of reaching one’s own decision after a deep and comparative study of each of the alternatives is important. The responsibility for a decision taken in such a manner lies with no one else but us. It’s very important to accept responsibility for one’s own decision, even if it is proved to be wrong.
A little child starts taking its first steps. Stumbles down. Generally when it falls what do we say? ‘Oh, my dear child! Who made you fall? This table… damn it! This chair… hell to it!’ Unknowingly what are we teaching this kid? If you fall, it’s because of someone else. And if you walk nicely, then ‘you are the bundle of all virtues put together.’ At least now our kids are not infants. At least now they should be taught to take their own decisions. They should be told, ‘we will help you in the brainstorming, but let the decision be yours.’ In the future, they won’t get depressed, once they learn to take responsibility for their decision. How to solve problems confronting one in real life without being bogged down or without surrendering to them is another priority subject in the Foundation Course. (All the subjects that follow are priority subjects. So no need to keep repeating the priority statement).
Presenting one’s view is communication. Whether it is to be presented to one person, two or a group. Even if it is to be presented to oneself and for oneself, it is communication only. Dialogue with self is a beautiful experience in communication. Communication can be written involving training in writing skills. It can be verbal, meaning public speaking skills (discussion, participation in and conduct of group discussion; listening to others without uttering a word, ability to listen carefully and being a good listener are also important skills). Even our merely being there, not saying a word with movements, getting up and sitting, speech, eyes, and face to communicate. Our very silence can say a lot. This is body language. Systematic training in all these has been included in the Foundation Course. It is vital to be able to present our view, to first have the necessary confidence to do that, to have a clear perception of our view and basically to have something to say – often those who have nothing to say keep talking and those who have something worth saying are reluctant speakers, remain silent and are ignored. There is an apt saying in Marathi: those who can shout can sell even cucumber but those who cannot, cannot sell even Alphonso mangoes. That is why the need for training in communication skills.
Management skills have assumed great importance all over the world. And rightly so. At this stage, it will not be necessary to teach the students a lot of theory, mathematics, models, and graphs. Here, the emphasis will be on simple management skills for everyday use in life such as how to manage one’s various responsibilities; how to set priorities; how to increase efficiency; how to plan one’s work; and, very important, how to manage time. This training will help the student to absorb these skills so as to make one’s personality and work more impressive and oneself more efficient. It may include classroom teaching as well as be conducting outdoor management games.
Leadership skills do not mean leadership in the political sense. It means taking initiative in every work in hand in all walks of life; doing things on one’s own; and cultivating traits necessary for achieving success. Just as this leadership is not political leadership, it is also not leading other persons or groups. It is leading oneself. This is a vital skill to be acquired during the training.
It is not necessary that every person should have a multidimensional personality. Some may have so great a single dimension – playing or singing talent, humor or skill at administration – that all other dimensions will not only pale into insignificance but will also prove to be meaningless and ignorable. This can happen after one has chosen one’s field of work. In fact, unless something of this kind happens, it will be impossible to achieve towering success and contribute something fundamental in any field. But that comes later. It is crucial to blossom and develops along all the lines while one’s character is formed during the young days. Therefore, it is necessary to consciously expose oneself to as many fields as possible and bloom in a multidimensional way. So the Foundation Course will show the students good films. There will be sessions on how to appreciate films. The students will be acquainted with all the aspects of drama, music, literature, science, arts, and sports. No one knows when one strikes the right note of his/her life. When one does so, who knows, these students may devote their whole life to one of the fields. They will reach the heights of success there. But before striking that note, one should at least get introduced to all the fields. This is the basic concept behind all the effort.
The students will get the experience of story-telling, bird-watching, stargazing and trekking through hills and valleys. They will haveÂ to perform given tasks singly, in twos or groups. They will have practical exercises like residential camps in tents outside the city, living in rural areas, participating in shramayadnya meaning physical labor, plowing fields, digging trenches, building roads and constructing latrines. It is vital for the new generation to imbibe the principle of the dignity of labor through such experiences.
The science of yoga is a major heritage not only of India but also in the entire world. Basic training in yoga should become a compulsory part of all the educational systems all over the world. Postures, pranayama, healthy dietary habits and ˜dhyana (concentration – meditation) form part of the training in the Foundation Course. All young boys and girls must go in for an exercise in a big way during the personality development process. The exercise should include yogic postures, sit-ups, Surya namaskars, weight training or aerobics. Students will be introduced to all these forms. It will be up to them to choose later for themselves what they like.
The Foundation Course will introduce the students to various educational and professional courses. Today, there is a general misconception that only certain educational courses like engineering and medicine, or certain professions (in Maharashtra, only jobs) mean a successful life. The Maharashtrian middle class nurtures only one ambition – somehow get and stick to a clerical job. Away from these beaten tracks, there are many new educational and professional possibilities. The new generation should be more and more aware of the possibilities in self-employment. The Foundation Course will take on that task.Â Chanakya Mandal Pariwar also conducts an independent, full-fledged course on Entrepreneurship Development. We make it a point to introduce it to the Foundation Course students.
Several youngsters unnecessarily nurse a fear-complex about written and especially spoken English. Of course, excellent command over English is an essential prerequisite to success in the global competition. (Not only English, you must also be fluent in Marathi, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali etc). The Foundation Course will provide you training in that.
Palvi Youth Festival
This is the ‘practical’ of all skills learned during the whole year. Students are divided into teams and various competitions are organized among them. Each one has to participate here. Group singing, group dance, one-act play presentations, storytelling, debate, poetry, parody, jokes, mimicry, quiz on current events, Antakshari, funfair and enacting by mime are few of the variety of competitions organized. Excellent food facilities are provided. The young minds start budding and sprouting once they experience the free-flowing breeze and stay in tune with nature. Many a time, pre-monsoon rains also mark these days by their presence and add bright colors to the picture described above. These days there are many flashy and showy superficial youth festivals which are actually nothing but chaotic situations. But this festival which is of an exactly opposite nature, filled with very pure enthusiasm is liked by people having good tastes.
Studying the problems of the country
Personality development and the problems of the country
Chanakya Mandal Pariwar will endeavor to transform into reality this disciplined, institutionalized, educational design through the Foundation Course. The design is easy to convey and understand (and even to bring into reality).
It is to be done step by step :
First Step: Know oneself (through Aptitude, IQ, and EQ tests), recognize one’s strengths and non-strengths. Second Step: Chalk out one’s educational plan based on strengths. Third Step: Plan the professional career on that educational background. Fourth Step: Achieving excellence and creativity in that chosen field of life. Thus, “to make an effort to know what national issues are faced in one’s chosen educational and professional field, to study them and use the educational and professional skills of one’s personality to solve such issues faced by the country” is what Chanakya Mandal Pariwar defines ‘Patriotism’ as. Now, in the present-day situation, ‘patriotism’ does not mean anything artificial but it means – being excellent, creative, efficient and professional in your field. We are trying to raise an army of such patriots and the Foundation Course is aimed at this.
Nowadays, there is increasing awareness regarding Human Resource Development everywhere. Because everywhere there is a huge and increasing demand for human wealth full of great skills and values. Many people in the country are in great doubt regarding transgression by multinational companies. If the nature of the world today, the fast-changing economy, tremendous scientific and technological advancement, etc. are taken into consideration, the world becoming smaller and coming closer is unavoidable. So now, instead of worrying about it and being in doubt, we must prepare to win over the world with our creativity, talent, excellence, and self-confidence.
Outdoor Management Program (OMP)
Chanakya Mandal believes in “learning by doing”. We seek to move beyond mere book education. Outdoor Management Program(OMP) is a step in this direction. This a 2-day camp conducted at a campsite outside Pune. Students are taught various management skills, teamwork, communication, etc. through 2 days of fun-filled games followed by de-briefings(to discuss what we learned from the games). This Outdoor Management Program(OMP) is a part of our Foundation and Preparatory Courses. This is one of the high points of our entire year and students leave with fond memories and also ample knowledge.
This Outdoor Management Program(OMP) is conducted every year by our very own Sagar Palkar. Sagar himself is an excellent example of how a student of Chanakya became successful in his life without joining the Civil Services. Sagar Palkar is a mountaineering expert. He has successfully lead an expedition to conquer the peak of Mount Everest.
To build in students a sense of adventure and also to inculcate within students a sense of pride in the rich historical heritage of Shivaji Maharaj’s forts Chanakya organizes treks to various forts within Maharashtra.
Forts include – Rajgad, Raigad, Lohagad, Bhimashankar……
Along with learning our rich historical heritage students also take part in various fun activities such as Khichadi making a competition. These activities teach students important life skills such as teamwork, coordination, resource allocation, and utilization, etc.