India’s beloved president, APJ Abdul Kalam, had spoken of PURA - Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas. At village Golap in Ratnagiri district, the Mukul Madhav Vidyalaya, with a completely English medium curriculum, has achieved precisely that.
With 586 students from nursery to standard 8th, a class gets added every year and it caters to students from at least 15-20 villages in the interiors.
“We started this school in June 2010 with only 153 students,” said Moonika Ratanparj, the school principal. It was set up by Finolex Industries Limited which donated 10 acres. The idea of the founders was simple: to provide quality English education at an affordable cost to the local community.
“We want our students to emerge as skilled, confident and responsible individuals with strong values. This is a dream project come true. A school should be a place where a child loves to be; hence, we have paid thorough attention to infrastructure and facilities to suit student requirements,” said managing trustee, Ritu Prakash Chhabria.
The reason the students love to spend their vacations and even Sundays, here, is that they get to learn new things. Karate, yoga, music and dance are part of their regular curriculum.
This school has all the modern amenities, but still retains a sense of belonging to the village. A well equipped science laboratory, two computer labs, libraries for junior and senior classes; a dedicated multi-purpose hall and a music room.
Rather unusually, the students have their own lockers and follow the ‘zero bag’ and no homework policy. “We try to get the students to finish their homework right here in the school and we have good teachers who take extra care while teaching those with a learning disability,” said Moonika.
To participate in the national spirit, students send rakhis to soldiers on the border; tie rakhi to the coastguard personnel nearby and also collect a handful of rice for the inmates of Ashadeep, a home for the mentally disabled.