Free Education: My Indian Experience

Free Education: My Indian Experience

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Not everyone knows the real value of what they have when it is in abundance until they do not have it. A young girl was asked to draw a picture of the future she sees and what she drew was a window where she stood in front feeling the fresh air blowing her hair and commented that someday when she grows up, she would build a house with a window.

This is just one of the many moving stories you would hear from bright minds at the Anubhuti school (2), where 330 children with a yearly addition of 60 students are given almost 100% free education. Anubhuti means profound experience and assimilation, leading to self-realization.  The school’s mission is to create a learning environment conducive to nurturing the learners and the educators to be creative, capable, companionate and equanimous citizens. The plan to achieve this mission is based on the Indian culture, the spirit of mutual independence, enlightened entrepreneurship and global outlook leading the children to be socially aligned, environmentally conscious and sensitive human being.      

Words can’t describe the feeling and emotions with these kids for over 4 hours of my visit.  I had been in India for two months at this point. I regularly visited  Anubhuti school (1), a paid residential school but did not go to Anubhuti 2 until my last week in India. It was painful as I could not spend as much time as I would wish for these lovely kids. 

Anubhuti 2 is a school for children in families below the poverty line (BPL). They fall within the age range of 5 – 11 years from 1st standard to 5th standard. It is a non – residential school built on 35,000Sq ft of land that was given on lease by the government with ten classrooms, a computer lab, and a science lab on the 2nd and 3rd floor. The ground floor houses the admin block, dining hall, staff room and two other classrooms. It is completely funded by the Jain Foundation, which gets its funds from the 5% of profit allocated for CSR by Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. One might be tempted to think that since this is free education, the standards would not be equal to a paid school, but you would be shocked when you visit that the same curriculum offered in paid schools is what they use here. The children are given two meals every day with a banana break in the morning and a snacks break in the afternoon.

They have sports, dance and arts full-time teachers and all of the teachers well paid, with the lowest qualification of teachers being a BA, you have teachers with master’s degree, and all their teachers are certified to teach with a ratio of 1:15 students. From time to time, volunteers come around from other nations to teach. Students are guided through an activity-based model that shows and not just tell.  They are taken on excursions 5 to 6 times every year, and an average amount of 25,000 rupees (67,500 naira, 1,095,535 Ugandan shillings) is spent on a child each year.

The school is growing with the children with the highest class now being 5th standard, and some are sent on scholarship to Anubhuti 1 to continue till 12th standard. The basic requirement is the 10th standard. The late chairman’s vision is to sponsor them all through university until they find footings in their career with no strings attached. The Company does not expect anything from them as it is a social responsibility that brings Joy.  Today’s experience added more fuel to my dreams and aspirations and gave me a picture of future projects.

I will end with the in-charge words (Mrs Rashmee)  as no formal organizational structure is followed. ‘We think we know what poverty means, but we don’t. When I was taking this role, my family asked if I was prepared from it, but I must confess this school is giving meaning to my life and helping me to appreciate even the minutest of all I have”. It is not a day I can forget, and I am grateful for my time there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.