The recently concluded AFRC BackBenchers conference which was co-organized by Leadership Village YLP and Peace Gong Kerala once again strongly called for a village university in Wayanad, one of the state’s least developed districts. Loaded as one of the cheapest, but possessing the best standard lodging and dining facilities in the world. The place also boasts of an internationally competent cricket stadium. Money is pumped into the district by investors and real estate business. Economic growth is quite visible. However, as far as education is concerned, the district, which is predominantly tribal centered, still has to cross many hurdles.
Role of AFRC in Wayanad education
AFRC (Academic Forum for Research and Communication) is an organization founded by Anil Emage in 1999 at Kalpetta. The organization is all set to break the Kerala academic world as the state`s first institution dedicated to Leadership training and research under the guidance of AFRC director and principal of AFRC Leadership College in S. Bathery, Laila Saein. The organization with a commendable track record has supported more then 2,00,000 students in the state and country with globally competent training, which encompasses language, communication and leadership training. The alumni of AFRC are now spread across the world, and the saga continues.
At a very early stage AFRC has realized the need to get globally connected, so as to introduce internationally accepted training methodologies for the rural student population of Wayanad. AFRC entered into leadership training by partnering with LeadCap, founded by Sangeeth Varghese, who did his research in leadership from London School of Economics and Harvard University. LeadCap and AFRC joined forces to found the world`s first Leadership Village in Wayanad. The leaders trained by AFRC are now the driving force of the organization. The recently concleded International Conference on Education “BackBenchers” conference stands tall as a manifestation for the leadership potential of LV leaders. Peace Gong International Chileren`s Newspaper founded by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore Foundation, New Delhi is another partner of AFRC which connects Wayanad to the Indian States ranging from Kashmir to Kerala.
AFRC campaigns for a “Village University of Connectivity” in Wayanad. As such, the organization realizes the need to be globally connected with the support of internet and tele-communication. In RADIJOJO Global Radio Network for Children the organization found an able partner to bridge Wayanad to the outer world. The offshoot of Radijojo, Global Green Kids and its driving force Nicole Weldon AFRC succeeded in conducting various training programs for children in countries including Germany and Czech Republic.
United Nations Volunteers India has also partnered AFRC to reach out to the rural world with its millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals. The founder directors of AFRC Anil and Laila were invited more than once to UNV India.
AFRC has also partnerd for the World Economic Forum Event “Global Dignity” in India twice. Anil and Laila were invited to Microsoft and SAP labs to join the team of LeadCap in Bangalore as resource persons for Leadership training.
Why Wayanad needs a village university?
Wayanad needs a village university because by swinging a cricket ball or waiting for the tourists to empty their pockets, the district won`t reach anywhere. Education is the fundamental right of each child born in this country. Students like Thansila and Pooja Raj from AFRC has crossed oceans and made their mark in international venues from Taiwan to Saudi Arabia. But, this is not enough. Wayanad needs more academic leaders to register their names in the international academic map. As there are no good advanced educational facilities in Wayanad, the best brains from the district leaves the district, state or or even country to pasture on greener lands. And they do not comeback, as the district failed to offer better job prospects for its children. The only solution is to develop a village univesty supported by research organization and other universities in Wayanad. Wayand is now known for tourism, but the students of AFRC is determined to make ti known one day as the land of the world`s first village university where children at the age of 10 years could take admission. Where farmers and members of the tribal population will also find a space as resource persons.