Brief of what we learnt of Shikshayatan – During their visit to Dubai 2009
the school run by Aruna and Raghavan and Arasavankaddu- Thiruvarur district
Aruna and Raghavan left Bombay in 1992 to pursue this dream of providing education to the underprivileged. They set up a school in the above place and started in 1994. They started by taking children from age 5. But due to malnutrition it was becoming difficult to start education at that age and they kept reducing the age for entrance to the school which now is at 2 years. From 2 to 4 years they first take care of the child’s nutritional needs and light teaching. The school follows the Tamil Nadu syllabus however the method of teaching is one derived from Glenn Doman’s method of teaching. They also encourage the child in various other activities including Art and sports. They have a mobile science van for physics and chemistry labs which they even take to nearby schools for demonstration of concepts.
They provide free education and only take 15 children per class. Their preference for admission is first the challenged children either physically or mentally challenged, next to girls and finally boys. They have children who are autistic or with downs syndrome also. And all these children study in the same class. Of course the challenged children may not be completely cured or may not reach levels of normal children but they do show improvement.
They do not conduct any exams. They also allow the child to take decisions on various social and family issues which they face in their day to day life. Children can also opt to study for any particular area of interest even beyond the class that they are currently in based on their aptitude and intellect.
One of the children who passed out from the school printed in his wedding card that all gifts to be given by way of donation to this school only and with that they could build another portion of the school also.