Panel on Education for Compassion: Rethinking Means and Ends

WHEN: November 16, 2016, 10:30AM-1PM

Date: November 16, 2016
Time: 10.30 am – 1.00 pm
Venue: Dr. Mrunalini Devi Puar Auditorium, Faculty of Family and Community Sciences (Home Science), The M. S. University of Baroda, Fatehgunj, Vadodara

The panel discussion is specifically planned for teachers, mentors, educators and parents.

Today, the education system is geared towards preparing children and youth for employment and earning in a competitive world driven by economic models that maximize self interest and profits. In the developing world, education remains a coveted aspirational space which will ensure a more comfortable materialistic life for a few. The question of whether our education system is preparing individuals for a ‘humane life’ remains largely unanswered.

Recent research shows that as human beings we are inherently compassionate and the conscious practice of compassion and service enhances overall well being for self and others, even in a highly competitive world. What value does compassion hold in the education system today? Can we carve spaces at home, in schools and colleges that nurture compassion in our everyday life? What would the outcomes of doing so be?

The panelists will share their insights on conscious changes and inner transformations that led them to question existing practices in education. Based on their rich personal and professional experiences, the panelists will share their views on questions such as education for what, to what end, how and with what means? We hope that the session will pave way for a collective reflection on organically 'rethinking' and 'revamping' the present education system to create compassionate individuals and eventually, a more compassionate world.


Arun Bhatt
is an 84 year old Gandhian living in Vadodara. Arun bhai's entire life has been rooted in the practice of generosity, trust, compassion and service. Arunbhai's parents Atmaram and Durga Bhatt were both freedom fighters, during the same time he had a chance to be in the company of many great thinkers of that time. Their work and practices impacted him greatly as a child. He completed his school under educationist such as Gijubhai Badheka and at Gandhi Sevagram Nayi Talim Sangh and has been a life long student of Vinoba Bhave. In 1953 when he was about 19 years of age he left college and joined Vinoba's Bhoodan Movement. He has traveled across the country on foot as a shanti sainik (peace worker). He has been called to a wide variety of audiences in India and abroad to share and contemporize his experiences.

Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. At the age of 24, Nipun quit his job to become a "full time volunteer". What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Wavy Gravy's Humanitarian award, and Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and inequality. Nipun is routinely invited to share his message of "giftivism" to wide ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations; his speech at UPenn commencement in May 2012 was read by millions. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center.

Vijayam Kartha is a life-long educator. Her journey started as a librarian in 1974, then kept getting promoted till she became principal of a 3200 children school, and then director of a network of schools in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand and Orissa. She's received many national awards, including "Most Outstanding Social Worker" and more. And most recently, while based in Pune, she's been working on re-imagining schools and education.

Meghna Banker is a full-time mother home schooling her daughter Reva, a full time artist and a full time volunteer. These are some of the hats she wears amongst many others. She is a graduate from the Academy of Arts, San Francisco, and is the co-founder of MAM Movies, Ahmedabad. She is also the chief visionary for WisdomCrafts, which creates hand-made, value-based products which are offered on a gift economy basis, where there are no prices on the products. Meghna has worked towards crafting an ecosystem wherein she connects the journey of the artist creating an art piece with the people receiving the art work.

This panel is hosted by the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, UGC Center of Advanced Study (CAS), and HDFS - Human Rights Education Program.     
WHERE:Vadodara, Gujarat
HOST:Rachana Bhangaokar

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