Ten unique schools in India

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From a residential institute where quality education is provided free of cost to the poorest of the poor to a school which admit only senior citizens; from schools located on railway platforms to the ones on lakes – India is indeed an incredible country. We bring you 10 such unique schools which exist in India – all working with an aim to provide quality education to fellow citizens:

1. Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Odisha

Started in 1993 with just 125 tribal students, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) is today considered to be the largest free residential institute for tribal children providing holistic education from Kindergarten to Postgraduation (KG to PG), vocational training, food, accommodation, health care and all other basic necessities of life to 25,000 children who come from the poor background. Students, most of them are enrolled from 62 indigenous communities (tribes) of Odisha, of which 13 are classified as primitive. KISS has won numerous accolades for this unique experiment of eradicating poverty through free education.

2. Loktak floating elementary school

Loktak floating elementary school was recently inaugurated in Manipur. Situated in the Loktak lake, the largest freshwater lake in the country, the school is meant for drop outs who were rendered homeless due to the evacuation of phumdis. It has been opened with the help of All Loktak Lake Fisherman’s Union and an NGO – People Resources Development Association (PRDA).

3. Kalkeri Sangeet Vidyalaya

Spread over 3.5 acres and surrounded by three beautiful lakes in Karnataka, this music gurukul is home to nearly 250 students. Music is the life of this vidyalaya so much so that even cottages here are named after ragas like Asavari, Bhairavi, Khamaj, Thodi and so on.  The only qualification that a child needs to join this residential school is to be from a rural background. Food and education here are free.

A typical day here begins at 5am with yoga and exercises. Post breakfast, there are music classes. Thereafter, children disperse to the cottages for their academic classes. The school follows the Karnataka state syllabus, and at present, has classes up to SSLC.

4. The Train Platform Schools

Inderjit Khurana was moved to see the plight of children at railway platforms. The children were at great risk of being pushed into prostitution by the time they would be in their teens. She wanted to help them. This led to the birth of the Train Platform School in 1985. Today, there are 10 Platform Schools operating at the major railway stations of Odisha. The children are taught for four hours every day (teaching is being made joyful by inclusion of music, dance, etc) with supplementary nutrition and health care services. The bright students are ‘mainstreamed’ in formal schools.

Ruchika Social Service Organization which runs the schools has also started vocational training programmes for students who cannot go to formal schools. The schools have, so far, reached out to over 4,000 underprivileged children and their families.

5.  Druk Padma Karpo School

Remember Rancho’s school in the film 3 Idiots. Well, this is that school. Located in the Ladakh region of J&K state, Druk Padma Karpo School was built to help sustain the Buddhist way of life of the local students. The school has won numerous awards for its architecture and environment protection. A solar powered and passively heated building of the school has been built using traditional methods and materials. The building is also earthquake resistant. The school prides itself as “a structure that celebrates and enhances local values, while at the same time making the most of cutting-edge technology and construction methods from the West.”

6. Acharya Vinoba Bhave Secondary School, Pune

This school teaches students of class 8 to 10. Acharya Vinoba Bhave Secondary School was started in 2013 for students studying in Pune Municipal Corporation schools who didn’t have access to education beyond 7th grade. At present, there are 113 students studying here. A completely new experiment for the Akanksha Foundation (which runs and manages the school) and its partner PMC, the institute was started with crucial support of Teach for India and the Poonawalla Foundation.

7. Airport School, Ahmedabad

This CBSE-affiliated school was started in 1977 to cater to the educational needs of the wards of the employees of Airports Authority of India (AAI), Ahmedabad. What makes it unique is that the school is not owned by an individual, group of people, a trust or a society. It is a non-profit making self financed institution, managed by the executives of AAI stationed at Ahmedabad. These members are elected for a period of two years and make way for the next team on the expiry of their tenure. The Airport Director, AAI, Ahmedabad, is the ex officio chairman of the school. All the members offer honorary services to the institution, that is, no member takes any pecuniary benefits from the institution.

8. Prem Lakshmi Mandir, Surat

Here, admission is restricted to senior most citizens only. The students (senior citizens) are picked up from their homes, taught, fed and then dropped back home. The school, which provides its premises and services free of cost, has over 275 students (45 of them are women). An initiative of P P Savani Group, Prem Lakshmi Mandir has been built on 5,000 square metre of space on the banks of river Tapi.

9. Aajibaichi Shala 

Located in Maharashtra’s Thane district, this school has been set up for grandmothers who did not get a chance to get education. There are 27 grannies in the age group of 60 and 90 years who come to study here. They all sit together in a single classroom and learn to read and write. The medium of instruction is Marathi language. Started by Yogendra Bangar and the Motiram Dalal Charitable Trust, the school was inaugurated last year on March 8.

10. Yellow Train School, Coimbatore

Located in an organic farm, amidst green fields, orchards, amla groves, cows, peacocks, Yellow Train School is inspired by the Waldorf principles wherein children are encouraged to cultivate individual thinking. The school is gaining popularity for providing alternate, inclusive and holistic education rooted in the Indian context. Santhya Vikram, the school’s founder, describes it as “a space where children will belong, will create a future for themselves and learn to give to the world.”

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