Heard of heutagogy education? Chennai-based Beyond8, an alternative to school, tells you what it is

It includes a dream mapping programme, studying outdoors and learning subjects that the student is interested in

How would you like to study out of a beach house today? Or amidst horses at a farm? Or at a plant nursery?

Sounds baffling? Raaji Naveen and Naveen Mahesh, the founders of Beyond8 in Chennai, vouch that this is an effective way of teaching children. For them, the whole of the city is a learning space. There is no one centre. The couple is a believer and practitioner of heutagogy, which means self-determined learning.

Though Chennai has a lot of alternative schools, there is no heutagogical high school, says Raaji. This led them to introduce this concept of education in Chennai last year. Students can get started on this after they complete Class VIII.

“It’s an alternative to school. They can have a full time learning that helps them live meaningfully and learn things that they love,” says Naveen. NIOS, ICGSE/AS & A Levels, and GED (Common Core) are the only curricula that they currently offer. In school education, quite a bit is determined for students by those in charge. In heutagogy, the student determines everything, explains Raaji.

They have a dream mapping programme where three hours are spent with the student trying to understand what their true interests are. Each learner has a six-week schedule that is determined from this process. After six weeks, there is a parent-teacher meeting where the student discusses what worked for them and what did not, and then the next six weeks’ schedule is drawn up.

“This schedule includes subjects, locations, experts and group activities. A coach is assigned to every learner. They are taught by experts from each field like historians, chartered accountants, mathematicians… professionals who have worked in the industry,” says Raaji.

Beyond8 charges ₹3 lakh a year; it currently has 14 students, and 30 who have signed up for the one-week trial. However, they have also received interest from learning enthusiasts who are in college, as well as working professionals. Says Raaji, “We just finished dream mapping with a 46-year-old who wanted to understand her strengths. She is working in a software company but is interested in working with NGOs.”

For details, log on to beyond8.in

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