9 Mar 2012

Gap Year India

Author: hashcookies | Filed under: Multiversity

The Year On campaign basically seeks to encourage youth to consider taking a gap year for self-reflection, travel, practical experience and community engagement. The reason we have called it a year on is to challenge the common misperception that children waste a year if they take a gap year. So rather than take a year off, we suggest taking a year on.

This campaign is timely and relevant at this time for 3 reasons:

1) It is currently exam season and there is a lot of pressure on students. A year on is a great anti-dote to this pressure.

2) Major universities from around the world, such as Harvard University, have started encouraging students to take a gap year before admissions. They feel that students who have taken a year on are more mature and can better avail of opportunities at the university level.

3) As part of this campaign in india, several school principals and guidance counselors from well-known educational institutions such as Mirambika, the Valley School, Riverside School, have started voicing their expert opinions that it is very beneficial on both pedagogical and social levels if the student takes gap year. They feel that the gap year after 8th or 10th or 12th or during college should be an essential part of the students’ educational program for the 21st century. It promotes the students’ capacities for self-designed learning. Also these principals are willing to allow students re-admission to their schools after the gap year.

Currently the biggest barrier to the year on concept is the parents. They are afraid to let the children have any space to think for themselves. They also feel that the children will waste time in a gap year if they are not supervised/controlled by a full-time teacher. We are hoping to change this perception of the parents through the year on campaign.

We have recently developed the following blog to support students in their year on explorations.


This blog has lots of testimonials, resources, posters which can be used in terms of a press pack for developing an article on this campaign for your publication.

There is also a very beautiful book, Free from School, written by Rahul Alvares and published by Other India Press, which highlights the learning adventures of a student when he takes a year on after 10th. Foreign produced Teenage Liberation Handbook is also an excellent resource.

Unlike many international gap year programs, there are no fees to join the Year On campaign. We believe that there is an abundance of learning resources in India just waiting to be tapped into. Some of these are shared on the blog. There also are several volunteers listed who are willing to counsel youth/parents on their gap year options.

We sincerely hope that you can help us spread this option to interested youth and parents as we believe that it will create a significant ripples in the education system.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any further information or would like to have some interviews from students, principals or educationists on the year on campaign.

Best wishes,

Manish Jain

Shikshantar and Swapathgami Network

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