Published: 24th March 2017
Your child shares your DNA but they’re not born to fulfill your dreams: Gautami speaks about her game-changing education system
Veteran actor, Gautami Tadimalla talks about her aim to alter the education system in rural areas, her letter to the Prime Minister, her NGO Life Again Foundation
At seventeen, while pursuing her engineering degree, Gautami Tadimalla was introduced to the film industry. She's someone who surprises you at every turn. She battled cancer whilst raising a child by herself and she's quite open about her personal life. Also, few months back she was in the news for writing a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a probe into the alleged mystery behind the former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s health. Even when the political party questioned her intentions, Gautami stood her ground, maintaining that she had only expressed what was in the common man’s mind. “The whole thing was so secretive. If this is state for the chief minister of the state, what will all of us do? I just did it for my own peace of mind," explains Gautami.
Being raised by two doctors, she was born a voracious reader. The former avid Physics lover says, "My teacher in college killed it for me. It's always in the hands of the teacher whether you like a subject or not." She believes that the building blocks for any empowered society is healthcare and education. "These are fundamental rights for any person, but with the population in our country and divided demography, there's a huge imbalance in both education and healthcare practices. And there's a distinct split between the rural and urban areas," Gautami says, explaining the current scenario of the education system in our country. "The environment the child is exposed to is very critical to shape his/her life. And the kids from a rural background don't even learn things that will effectively help them. My area of focus is that. We are working on a module of education that will impart preparedness," she adds.
I used to love Physics but my teacher in college killed it for me. It's always in the hands of the teacher whether you like a subject or not
She finds that even the highly reputed schools in cities don't include experiential learning in their curriculum, but rather focus on competing with each other for marks. Hence, she plans to create a module for children along with other educationalists, business graduates, psychologists and sociologists. Her module is a form of functional education that will educate the child on fundamental core subjects in a way that they will understand and not just memorise facts. "Education is integrated into all the subjects and it's something we use every day. For example, geometry and algebra come into play every time you eat a pizza. The tragedy is that none of us look at it that way. It's all a part of the world around you and it's every child's right to understand the relevance of information," explains the 48-year-old adding,"There's no need to be intimidated by any subject. It's only because the dry facts used now in the curriculum is though valid and relevant, the richness of it is lost because of the way it's put across. So we need to make it practical and engage the child in those lines."
Gender Bender: Gautami Tadimalla with Kiran Bedi at the TNIE's ThinkEdu Conclave
Gautami also believes that her new venture, which is in the nascent stages, will help a child build essential skills and gather knowledge by the time they leave school. She says "Education needs to empower them to control the environment in their lives. It shouldn't be that a child from a rural background is any less entitled to a similar goal than a child from the city. And for that equal opportunity, you need to give them an even platform, and the idea behind this venture is to bridge that gap. I understand the number of challenges that can arise, but to work for a purpose like this has been my focus for a long time right from the time of my daughter's early education and I want to give it my best shot," says the versatile actor.
She says it angers her every time she hears someone say 'I will decide what's best for my child'. "The child's welfare is of utmost importance. As a parent, your duty is to make sure your child gets what they need, but you have no business to impose your will on them. I agree that they share your DNA, but they are not born to fulfill your dreams," says Gautami. Her NGO, Life Again Foundation was started in 2016 with a circle of close friends to create awareness on cancer. "You need someone to tell you 'Hey, take care of yourself. Be around longer, there's life again for all of us' and that's exactly what the foundation works for," says Gautami with a smile.
You can reach out to her NGO at www.lifeagain.in/