ISKCON Education

BY: CAITANYA DAS - 28.1 2020

Before ISKCON gets too carried away with the idea of merging Srila Prabhupada's Gurukula education system into state funded schools,where private organisations outside of ISKCON gain control outside the GBC on how our children should be educated, perhaps managers can consider the points raised in the essay written by an education expert. He gives the positive points on private schools, especially their freedom to teach and specialise in topics and lifestyles that they feel are important and beneficial to the overall well being of children within spiritual communities.

It's an easy step, to throw the baby out with the bath water, because ISKCON schools are underfunded and under resourced. In some cases, funding has not been allowed to flourish by soliciting donations from potential donors, as control of donors are in the hands of temple managers with no vision for education or building communities and investing in our children and youth, but invest in real estate or hand over ISKCON's Laxmi to private educators who set up trusts beyond the control of ISKCON authorities.

Anyhow, I am concerned that a moderate left influence has infiltrated our society and leading managers, who doubt the conservative views and strict application of Krishna Consciousness that Prabhupada wanted introduced. Srila Prabhupada's program is being minimised, as ISKCON effectively farms out education and preaching to private organisations who are jumping on the ISKCON bandwagon. All the good preaching that Prabhupada and his society has built up, and those organisations are practically heading up important fields that are only ISKCON's business to head up, strictly following Prabhupada's ideals.

From an essay on the five advantages of a private school, by Blythe Grossberg, Education Expert in Education, Psy.D., Organizational Psychology, Rutgers University - New Brunswick; B.A., History and Literature, Harvard University:

"Education is an important part of raising children and preparing them to live successful lives. For many families, finding the right school environment isn't as easy as enrolling at the local public school. With the information available today about learning differences and 21st-century skills, not all schools can adequately meet the needs of every student. Determining if the local school is meeting your child's needs or if it's time to switch schools can be challenging."

In the following letter, the latter part of the letter deals with boarding schools – something ISKCON has not been good at as yet. Maybe in future times, for selective children at a later part of their lives who show exceptional devotional and Brahminical qualities. However, day schools run to Srila Prabhupadas standards and wishes are possible, providing excellent spiritual training along with academics, arts and practical topics. Good association within the temple compounds as much as possible can be arranged, up to the age of university entrance, for those who wish to Pursue higher education.

Srila Prabhupada Letter, 72-01-10

My Dear Aniruddha,

Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter of 12/10/71, and I am very much pleased that you are enthusiastic to instruct our KC children at ISAVASYA SCHOOL. I have heard from Satsvarupa that we have not got that big building we were trying for. Never mind, the important thing is that we continue ourwork nicely for educating children, and Krishna will give us all facility.

I have read that you are "screening very carefully" the children who want to come there. That is not a very good proposal. All children of devotees should be welcome. Even they have developed some unfavorable qualities, they are only young children, how do you expect them to behave in the best way? You have to make them very nice behavior by training them and simply giving discipline. So let everyone come to ourschool. That is our policy, not to discriminate.