It was “a meet for mentors” organised by The Hindu NIE at Hotel The Lalit Ashok here on Friday.

The meet, well attended by principals and heads of institutions of over 180 schools from Bangalore, Mysore, Tumkur, Mandya, Vijayapura, Doddaballapur in Karnataka, Hosur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Shoolagiri in Tamil Nadu and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, deliberated on “Holistic and value-integrated education”.

The speakers, Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, and B.K. Chandrashekar, former Minister, revisited the business of education. While Ms. Murty emphasised its purpose, Mr. Chandrashekar spoke on its broad-based implementation, with particular reference to the RTE Act.

The well meaning RTE Act has received mixed responses. The participants felt that while the underlying principle — education for all — is noble and unquestionable, its implementation to bring about a structured “social engineering”, certainly needs more clarity and streamlining.

They also agreed that emphasis just on academics is obsolete in the field of education as children should be well equipped with leadership quality, human ingenuity and a high level of self-confidence, which is possible only through a holistic approach to education.

In the end, the meet left many participants excited and exhilarated. Some young participants also remarked that it reinforced their belief that they were in the right profession and on the right track as mentors.

Indira Williams, Baldwin Girls' High School: We academics and managements of private schools, the stakeholders in this RTE project, in all fairness should have a say in drawing up guidelines. For example, our views should be taken in the identification/admission of the underprivileged children in our neighbourhoods/practicality of providing mid-day meals/other modalities concerning cost to institution.

Deepa Sridhar, Sri Kumaran Public School: Schools need to understand that a child being educated today needs to go beyond academic achievement or excellence. Holistic education in school simply is to stimulate the child in art, sports, environment, people and music and learn their lessons of life through this too apart from their academic subjects.

Princess Franklyn, St. John's High School: The effort to spread universal education is well appreciated. Views expressed by both the speakers were balanced.

Fr. Gilbert Saldanha, St. Joseph's Indian High School: Long before the RTE Act was framed, schools like ours were providing quality education to children from poor families.

Manila Carvalho, Delhi Public School (East): Values are best learnt through experience. In other words, values are imbibed. Values are passed on from one generation to the next. To maintain the qualitative fabric of society, it is imperative that children are exposed to a good and acceptable value system from the young age itself.

Maya Devi, Jain International Residential School: In the present scenario it is only through cross disciplinary area of interaction that children can be helped to conquer the horizon with more confidence.

P.T. Joseph, Nandini Vidyaniketan, Vijayapura: There are many reasons why parents shy away from government schools and admit their children to private schools. The discipline and ambience for teaching-learning process in private schools are attractive to parents. We have reservation on clauses and rules in the draft prepared by the State Government on RTE.

P. Ponram, Arignar Anna College, Krishnagiri: Due to modernisation, our moral education has eroded. The modern education focuses on mental development (like a machine). Certainly, we are in need of permanent and continuous change of an individual. This will be brought about only by imparting moral education.

Sr. Emilia, Cluny Convent High School: We, at our school, believe that value education and moral science interwoven into the syllabus will develop the future citizens into caring and holistic person by which the world and our country in particular would be a better place to live.

Robina Farooq, Prasiddhi School: RTE is implemented with noble intention. However, blending cultures would be a challenge for educators.

Syama Saggere, Acharya Pathasala Public School: It was an excellent meet. It taught us many things. Why values are important, how a teacher can motivate the present generation, what makes one to be a cherished teacher, why the consensus of teachers, educationists is a must for any reforms in education, I think, it provided answers for all of these.

Bro. K.J. Varghese and Bro. Sebastian, Lake Montfort School: Yoga and music is essential for the all-round growth of children. RTE is good without any preconditions. The rich also need to know how the poor children live, and be part of social change.

Ponmalar, Shanthi Nikethana High School: Today's interaction was really very educative.

Suman Sudhindra, Mirambika School For New Age: Excellent programme. Prof. Chandrashekar enlightened us on right to education.

Uma Nagesh, St. Martins High School: The meet was informative and the topics discussed were thought-provoking.

Madhu, Shastry Memorial School: This was an effective initiation towards introducing holistic and value-based education in schools.

S.S. Padmanabhan and M.N. Shylaja, Mother's Public School: We look forward to more such programmes and topics may be given in advance for in-depth discussion.

M.S. Sathyanarayana, Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Kendra: Excellent arrangement. The Hindu has made efforts to ensure that principals attend this meet. The guests made the topics interesting.

Geetha B.R., Jain Public School: Wonderful session. More of this kind is necessary.

Mariamma S. Mathew, The Oxford Senior Secondary School (CBSE): An interesting and informative session.

M.C. Ravindranath, Nagarabhavi Oxford English High School: We will adopt the suggestions provided by the two great minds and I am sure, it will make our school a model one.

Sapani Subbaiah, Cauvery High School: It surely was a wonderful event.

Minu Thomas, D. Anuradha, and N. Kalapoorna, The Titan School, Hosur: The talk by the guests were thought-provoking. More such meets would help better education in our country.

M. Vivekananda Reddy, Pushpagiri Group, Kadapa: Inculcating values in children has become a humongous task and teachers as well as parents have a role moulding the character of students.

R. Revathi, Dawn Matriculation High School, Dharmapuri: I spent time in a wonderful and useful manner. I got inspired through this session.

V. Kamalesan, Vailankanni Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Shoolagiri: It was excellent opportunity to listen to the speeches of Ms. Murty and Prof. Chandrashekar. It gave motivation and encouragement to principals.

Radha Srinivisan, The Ashok Leyland School, Hosur: It was an excellent interactive session. The Hindu is really doing a great service to the education sector.

S. Pattu Priya, K. Chandrika Sishya School, Hosur: We learnt many things and are carrying with us many beautiful memories.

Vasundara Sen, and Kaushal, Vishwamanava Vidyanikethana, Mysore: Encouraging students to participate in art, music, and literature fields is important for the overall development of children.

Syed Rafiq and Nikhath Salma Ruby English High School, Vijayapura: The speech by Ms. Murthy was beneficial and we love to attend more such programmes in future.