Personal and Social Development at School

The best way to deliver quality education and bring about the personal and social development of an individual is by empowering young people to follow their passion. 

The education process today is built on the 4S approach - Study, Skill, Sport and Service. The CBSE, CISCE and most of the national boards, are now adding skills and activity beyond the class room to their curriculum. Each of these four dimensions of learning are equally essential for helping young people find themselves and be the leaders  they aspire to be.

Study is applying the mind to learning and understanding a subject (especially by reading).  The dictionary definition of study ~ noun, plural studies 'application of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge, as by reading, investigation, or reflection'. This really is one aspect of growth for a young person at school.

A good school must work to help provide the best ecosystem for the personal and social development of an individual. This will only happen when we focus beyond studies, we need to lay equal emphasis on Study, Skill, Service and Sport.

Skill aims to encourage the development of personal interests and practical skills. Music, Crafts, Arts, Nature, Communication, Hobbies, Indoor Games, Vocational skills and Performance skills are some such examples. These interests are typically of a non-physically demanding nature and may be hobbies, vocational or job-related.

"Skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. In other words the abilities that one possesses. Skills can often be divided into domain-general and domain-specific skills. For example, in the domain of work, some general skills would include time management, teamwork and leadership, self motivation and others, whereas domain-specific skills would be useful only for a certain job. Skill usually requires certain environmental stimuli and situations to assess the level of skill being shown and used". ~ Wikipedia 

There are various forms of skills that the schools should help deliver Labor skills, Life skills, People skills, Social skills, Soft skills, Hard skills are some such examples.

Service or Community Service or Social Service as we may call it, has been an integral part of The Doon School since its inception. The first Headmaster, Mr. Arthur Foot believed that “the boys should leave The Doon School as members of an aristocracy, but it must be an aristocracy of service inspired by ideas of unselfishness, not one of privilege, wealth or position.” For decades since then, this has been one of the foundation principles of the school. Over the years The Doon School has accumulated an enviable record of service. The school boys have always lent their helping hand, across India, to people affected by the worst hit earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and floods. For instance, during the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake, when all communication lines were down, the school’s HAM radio club joined hands with the state administration and aid-providers to set up channels of communication with the base station.

All boys of The Doon School have to complete mandatory hours of social service. The school runs a Panchayat Ghar where the students teach the underprivileged children. The School has, over the years, adopted villages and worked with the villagers in the construction of houses, community centres and school buildings; sanitation systems; energy efficiency systems; self-employment and small scale irrigation systems. Apart from village development, the school is actively involved with the Raphael Ryder Cheshire International Centre and the Cheshire Home.

Sport is not only important for children's health. It also enhances learning achievement, resilience and psychosocial and motor development. Children who do sports from a young age are more likely to go on doing so when they are older. School-based sports programs can bring out noticeable positive reactions and behaviour in teens. School-based sport can be an important part of your child’s overall educational experience. When students participate in sport, they can benefit not only physically, but also socially and mentally!

Sport should encourage young people  to improve their personal physical performance through training and perseverance in what they much like to play. Involvement in physical recreation should be an enjoyable experience, regardless of physical ability. Physical activity is vital to the holistic development of young people, fostering their physical, social and emotional health. The benefits of sport reach beyond the impact on physical well-being and the value of the educational benefits of sport should not be under-estimated.

Round Square is a world-wide association of schools on five continents sharing unique and ambitious goals. Students attending Round Square schools make a strong commitment, beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility. The Round Square approach promotes six ideals of learning: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service. These are incorporated into the curriculum throughout all member schools. Access to the Round Square network affords member schools the opportunity to arrange local and international student and teacher exchanges on a regular basis between their schools. Pupils get an opportunity to participate in local and international community service projects and conferences. Tasks tackled through the community projects include building schools, classrooms and community centres; building clean water systems for remote hill-tribes or creating and maintaining trails in National Parks. Local materials are used, and teams always work with local people ensuring that they take ownership of the work once it has been completed.

The International Baccalaureate (IB), offers four programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalising world. The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. To this end the organisation works with schools, governments and international organisations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment. These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

Socially Useful Productive Work (SUPW) is a subject in Indian schools where students can choose from a number of vocational education activities - embroidery and knitting, gardening, cooking, painting, carpentry and other crafts and hobbies, and clubbed community service for senior students (class IX onwards). Students learn to work as a team and to work with skill and deftness. It was introduced in 1978, by the Ministry of Education to promote Gandhian values and educational ideas of Mahatma Gandhi. While most private schools barring a few have dispensed with the subject, it remains an ancillary, but mandatory part of course curriculum in schools affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts two examinations in India: the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Indian School Certificate (ISC). It is also taught in some Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools, which includes all Kendriya Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya schools. 

The Fabindia School's mission is to provide access to high quality education for boys and girls at the rural level using English as the medium of instruction. The school views primary education as a major stepping stone towards social mobility, equality and employment opportunities. At this school there is equal emphasis on study, skill, service and sport: the school has instituted four Trophies for Excellence in Study, Skill, Service and Sport (the 4S approach). Saturday at school is the Activity Day,  on this day regular study / academic pursuit is dispensed with in favour of service, sport and skill. To make up for the loss of the mandated study hours, the school has added one hour to the timetable from Monday to Saturday. 
Public Schools subscribe to the philosophy that children should be exposed to a general all-round education and emerge as good secular citizens of India. Schools must develop the minds of the children and also their physique, their skills, their personality and leadership traits and create a sense of fellow feeling with their less fortunate brethren, if they are to be good citizens. Many such schools lay equal emphasis on Study, Skill, Service and Sport as this alone helps young people find their true potential.

Marks do not leave marks, but 'karma' (deeds) will leave footprints on the sand. Build you school curriculum in such a way so as to empower the students and help them make a mark in life. 

The author of the article Sandeep Dutt takes the onus of the content and the opinions expressed are his alone. You may please email the author on for comments if any. Sandeep is the former National Director of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award ( IAYP in India).
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1. Wikipedia:
2. Slideshow developed for the Bhadrajun Artisans Trust by
3. The Free Dictionary online.
4. Images Courtesy: (Sports), (Service), (Study), (Skills)
5. The Doon School website (
6. Round Square International website (
7. Bhadrajun Artisans Trust website (
8. Learning for Life - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award 
9. - International Award for Young People
Disclaimer: Images have been sourced with the help of Google User Content online and this blog claims no design or copyright please.

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