A few years ago I had the privilege of living and working at a quite extraordinary school in Devon in England. Called Osho Ko Hsuan School - after a chinese zen master. The school is inspired by the teachings of the indian sage Osho and has an innovative approach to education. It is a real community for kids who take responsibility along with the adults for its day to day running and upkeep. This is a review of the school from Pavi who at sixteen years old looks back at his six years at Ko Hsuan.
I've been at Osho Ko Hsuan for the last six years -- this is my last 2 weeks here. And, like everything but the colors of Ferrari cars, things change. Ko Hsuan has changed over the years and so have I. The fact that I have changed makes for a very unscientific evaluation seeing as I came here at the age of ten. It is not possible for me to say if things have changed for the better or the worse. Some aspects of commune life changed in neither direction, some in both ways. So this is my biased, subjective view on Osho Ko Hsuan School.
As a kid, everything seems so exciting. Some very ordinary happenings in life are incredibly spectacular. The small things in life were the most important. Boredom never lasted as long as it does now, I could just play with a branch or make a paper aeroplane. The older you get, in your first quarter of life, the more serious, dull, and normal everything becomes. What I'm saying is that Ko Hsuan has, for me, lost its novelty. That's because I live here.
Ko Hsuan has gone through many stages. I remember when one used to buy house shoes that one had to wear, otherwise a charge of 10p had to be paid towards new carpets. The word "punishment" is not known to the inhabitants. It makes this school really unique. And living with 10 other kids in the same room. Now I live on my own. The easy going classes. Zilch.
Thinking back swiftly, all I remember is laughter. Normally bad memories are so much more dominant in the remembrance stakes, but not at Ko Hsuan. I don't know why. Then the exams came. Classes became boring as the watchful eye of the national curriculum syllabuses oversaw them.
There were, of course, exceptions. Anu's English classes about aliens and the Levy 9 comet. We became flowering children that were growing up in a caring environment fighting against the suits who wanted to turn us into learning robots. We -- well, I -- invented my own way: the way of the
enthusiastic but dead-lazy Buddhas.
It worked. I expect top grades in my exams and so do many other older kids, although we constantly listen to Hip Hop music and revise for the first time, a day or an hour before an exam. Of course there are those nights where one doesn't get into bed but sits down with 5 pints of coffee and a friend to finish a science write-up.
That's when it gets really enjoyable. The thing about Ko Hsuan is that the kids, including myself, for a long time didn't realize just how lucky we are to be here and not at a state school. If everyone knew what it is like to be made into a small politician many problems which occur in the world could be
avoided. Every adult who ever came here said something along the lines of "I wish this place would have been around in my childhood."
They must be right. I am very grateful for the education I received here. Ko Hsuan's kids achieve exam grades well above the national average but I didn't only learn maths and science, but also sociology, housekeeping and communication studies out of class - the list is endless.
Now I'm off to college in Oxford.
For more information about Ko Hsuan School e-mail Nishok c/o Yoni or check out this link to more information
You might also like take a look at the work of Priya and Mallika two other OKH students.
yOni now blogging at cliterallyspeaking.blogspot.com
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