Anand Niketan

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Anand Niketan

Based firmly on Gandhian principles of education, Anand Niketan is a “Nai Talim” or “new education” school active since 2005 at Sevagram in Wardha district. Although it is affiliated to the Maharashtra State board, the school has chosen to step away from the rote learning system that permeates mainstream education.

Instead, its focus is on learning by application, or learning by doing, in order to raise children to be responsible citizens in the real world – people who combine intellect with compassion, justice, humility and respect for all life forms. This way, it also hopes to bridge the vast socio-economic gap between the intellectual world and the world of everyday physical labour.

For example, students are taught chemistry by learning how to prepare liquid manure; they are taught concepts of ratio and proportion through tending land or making beds; during the COVID-19 pandemic, household tasks were used to explain a variety of concepts.

There are 280 students studying in the school, and Anand Niketan ensures that the teacher-student ratio remains an average of 1:28. It seeks to remain affordable for the local population – the annual fee is Rs 2,400 per child – even though the cost per child to the school is Rs 18,000 a year.

The project supported by MFE:

Anand Niketan School

This three-year programme that began in August 2021 aims to enhance the attendance and engagement of children with diverse learning needs at the school, support the achievement of age-appropriate learning levels, improve community participation and ownership of children’s education and continue to develop as a resource organisation while raising 45% of its funds from new donors.

At the end of three years, therefore, Anand Niketan wants to ensure that 80% of its students have an attendance of above 80%, and that 65% of parents visit the school at least twice a year to be involved in decision-making processes and school activities. It also wants to see 70% of its students reach age-appropriate learning levels through individualised support.

To achieve these goals, Anand Niketan’s plans for the first year include re-starting balsabhas (children’s councils), providing special support in maths and languages to students who need it, providing career guidance and admission support as per students’ needs, and providing scholarships for IT and coding-based skill development courses. In the second year, some of the many planned activities include creating alternative learning spaces for academically-challenged students, developing a resource centre for competitive exams, and creating spaces for self-directed and peer-based learning.

Finally, in the third year, Anand Niketan plans to continue progress on all the above-mentioned activities while also making the school more inclusive for different learners, exploring livelihood-based skills for those with different abilities, increasing scholarship support for skill-based courses and building a