SAIIER 2016:SAIIER office
The Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) coordinates educational activities in Auroville and undertakes educational research toward giving practical shape to the vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Mother explained that there are five kinds of education: physical, vital, mental, psychic and spiritual. The team working in SAIIER understands that education includes all of these aspects, and recognizes the educational value of diverse programs. SAIIER was started in 1984 and has since been growing along with the growth of Auroville.
Activities of the year
Regular activities of the SAIIER administration include managing accounts and assets, coordinating construction projects, publishing books and other resources, and helping manifest various educational projects.
Three executives (Ashoke, Chali, and Sanjeev A.) manage SAIIER's operations. The SAIIER Board (Ashoke, Chali, Jean-Yves, Jyoti K., Lucas, Michael H., Sanjeev A., Sanjeev R., Sauro) is the advisory body and approves major financial expenditures; it meets once a month. Administrative staff and support (Arun, Bhuvaneswari, Iyyanar, Lijun, Kristen, Michael G., and Ramu) work in the SAIIER office.
SAIIER undertook the construction of many building projects this year:
- Martial Arts building: This project was started in 2013-14 and completed in 2015-16. (Total: Rs. 82.22 lakhs.)
- The Learning Community (TLC) - Base Camp: This project was started in 2013-14 and completed 2015-16. (Total: Rs. 26.21 lakhs.)
- Water infrastructure - Transition School, Future School and TLC Base Camp: This project was completed in 2015-16. (Total: Rs. 15.20 lakhs.)
- Aikiyam School - Harmony building: This project is expected to be completed in 2016-17. (Estimated total: Rs. 60.32 lakhs.)
- Kindergarten - Office building: This project was started in 2015-16 and is expected to be completed in 2016-17. (Estimated total: Rs. 21.26 lakhs.)
- Staff Quarters for SAIIER researchers: This project was started in 2015-16, and the first block of 4 is expected to be completed at the end of 2016-17.
- Deepanam School - Classroom block: This project was started in 2015-16 and is expected to be completed in the early part of 2016-17. (Estimated total: Rs. 48.86 lakhs.)
- Deepanam School - Awareness Through the Body (ATB) Hall: This project was started in 2015-16 and is expected to be completed in 2016-17. (Estimated total: Rs. 38.85 lakhs.)
- Auroville Botanical Gardens - Kitchen building: This project was started in 2015-16 and is expected to be completed in the early part of 2016-17. (Estimated total: Rs. 21.26 lakhs.)
One highlight of the year was the experimental process taken to choose a design for the new SAIIER Staff Quarters project. A call was made for Auroville architects to submit designs; 7 designs were received and evaluated by a jury in a multi-step selection process. Those involved learned a lot from the experience, and will be improving the process for use with future projects.
This year SAIIER directly published two brochure-style books and a compilation:
- What is special about the Kindergarten in Auroville?: A comparative study of childhood education in Montessori, Waldorf, Progressive schools and Auroville (3rd edition), by Heidi Watts
- Taking Care of Preschool Children: The Mother’s Vision and the Auroville experience, by Auroville teachers
- Reflections on Teaching in Auroville Schools, by Auroville teachers
SAIIER also supported several publications projects:
- The English of Savitri: Book Three, The Book of The Divine Mother, by Shraddhavan
- Invocation (journal), No. 42 and No. 43, edited by Shraddhavan for Savitri Bhavan
- Prarthana (journal), No. 24 and No. 25, edited by Dhanalakshmi for Savitri Bhavan
- Auroville Seythi Madal (periodical), 12 issues, edited by Meenakshi for Ilaignarkal Education Centre
- The Voyage of the Caterpillar, a children’s book, written and illustrated by Jyoti Khare
- Matrimandir - The Treasure of the Flame Island, an illustrated story with no words, by Emanuele
- Sustainable Palate: From Local Farms to Auroville Plate – A Collection of Traditional Recipes, edited by Devi for Life Education Centre
- Snakes of Auroville and Pondicherry, by Rajeev Bhatt
This year SAIIER allocated funds to 60 projects proposed by members of the Auroville community. (Reports from most of them are included in this Annual Report.) SAIIER also supported the functioning of its 51 sub-units including Auroville schools, Outreach schools, and others. Through its construction projects SAIIER contributed to the physical development of Auroville, in anticipation of the needs of the future.